The Reverend Shawn Amos and the Brotherhood – Blue Sky

Album Review | Put Together Music | Review by Allan Wilkinson | Stars: 4/5

Subtly paying homage to the legendary blues harp master Little Walter, both visually – a thoroughly relaxed fan sits beside an airstream trailer listening to one of Walter’s records with the gatefold sleeve resting upon her lap, features in the picture on the back of the lyric sheet – as well as audibly, the musician’s formal address mentioned in a line from the album opener “Stranger Than Today”, Mister Marion Walter Jacobs seems to be a dominant force behind Sky Blue.  Amos’s harmonica playing comes very much to the fore whenever the mood takes him, notably midway through “Troubled Man”, which also features a duet with Ruthie Foster, who brings to the table a sprinkling of her own soulful blues.

The Rev is quick to point out that the Brotherhood is indeed a band of brothers with each member, Brady Blade, Doctor Roberts and Christopher ‘CT’ Thomas, being a vital part of the sound.  Like a cross between Elvis Costello and Randy Newman, Amos delivers an unexpectedly short burst of energy on “Hold Back”, a blistering rocker that demonstrates that this particular brotherhood means business, a sound repeated in the pumped up “27 Dollars”.  Gutsy, bluesy and soulful in places, notably on “The Pity and the Pain”, which comes with some convincing Muscle Shoals-like piano and guitar sparring, Blue Sky is a blues album with a difference.

Choice Track: Troubled Man (NSV 500)