If the Telecaster is the engine, the V8 that drives rock music, the harmonica shapes the blues then the defining instrument that shapes country is the banjo - all three are present by the shovel full (guitar if not Telecaster) here, along with a plethora of the great and the good; Emmylou Harris, Tim O'Brien, Jerry Douglas, Darrell Scott and Duane Eddy - this truly is Americana!
The record is an aural reflection of this hotch-potch of what Americana is; everyone struggles to describe it, but you know it when you hear it. Definitions vary, opinions are debated, it's a many varied but potent stew and 'Redemption & Rain' with its gospel, bluegrass, desert songs, swampy blues, twangy country, New Orleans jazz mix is as complete catalogue as I've encountered.
That variety is the spice of this record, the switching of musicality, the blends they create and the sublime playing - it should be, look who is on it, and whose songs they're covering; Van Zant, Nelson, Kristofferson, Waits, Williams etc.
It's a brilliant record, the breath of its music the perfect intro for anyone setting out to find their own definition of Americana or an old hand in need of sharpening their focus.
|Various Artists: Imaginational Anthem Volume 8: The Private Press||Niamh Parsons and Graham Dunne: Kind Providence|
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