Put Together [Release date 17.04.20]

Americana tinged with a little bit of everything – electronica, reggae, ambience, psychedelia, the blues.  And that’s the just gently flowing opener ‘Stranger Than Toda’y.

Shawn Amos is a New York songwriter and record producer better known as blues singer and harmonica player The Reverend Shawn Amos.  And while he’s had multiple studio and live releases in that guise, Blue Sky is his debut with The Brotherhood – Brady Blade (drums), Doctor Roberts (bass), and Christopher ‘GT’ Thomas (guitars).

The album also features The Sisterhood (four backing vocalists) and Friends of The Brotherhood – assorted guests lending everything from trumpet, sax and keys, to pedal steel to proceedings.

A bit like New York, Blue Sky is a real melting pot of ideas, styles, and genres.  And therein lies its possible downfall – something for everyone, but perhaps unlikely to be of mass appeal.

There’s everything goin’ on from gospel (‘Troubled Man’), to mild tones of blues / rock (‘Counting Down The Days’), Elvis Costello style ‘punk’ (‘Hold Back’ and ‘The Job Is Never Done’), Prince style balladry (‘The Pity And The Pain’), piano led boogie you might expect of Jools Holland’s Big Band Orchestra (’27 Dollars’), and even jazz (‘Keep The Faith’, ‘Have Some Fun’).

But it has to be said, the musicianship throughout is outstanding, and The Sisterhood add some particularly sweet icing to proceedings.  I’ll be honest, I’m still unsure who this bewilderingly, cosmopolitan smorgasbord of a set is going to appeal to.  Probably not the casual listener, although I have to admit, Blue Sky is a strangely alluring brew.  ***1/2

Review by Pete Whalley

David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 30 August 2020.

UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 8 September 2020.

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