Gary Lucas and Dean Bowman

Gary Lucas and Dean Bowman

Gary Lucas and Dean Bowman

Chase the Devil

Knitting Factory

What happens when you combine the fiery guitar of Gary Lucas (Jeff Buckley, Captain Beefheart), with the vocals of Dean Bowman (Screaming Headless Torsos, Elliot Sharp, Lester Bowie) on gospel and blues tunes? You get a lively take on traditional American music forms that works in spots, and fails annoyingly in others.

The record has a live and spontaneous feel to it, most cuts featuring just Lucas on electric guitar and the voice of Bowman. For numbers such as the Rev. Gary Davis standard “Twelve Gates to the City” the combination works well; but on “God is a Good God” for example, you wonder if either of the performers have ever heard the original song or were even in the same studio when the other was performing. Lucas shreds in the background while Bowman sings the title over and over, the end result being a distracting mishmash. Lucas redeems himself with a Ry Cooder-ish take on Joseph Spence’s “Out on the Rolling Sea”, and Bowman adds reverential vocals to “In Christ There is No East or West”, while Lucas sticks close to the John Fahey arrangement on his Strat.

While not groundbreaking, this is an interesting combination of talents tackling some of our most revered and well known musical expressions of faith that for the most part works. Is it wrong to pray they do another record?

Gary Lucas: www.garylucas.com

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