The Reverend Shawn Amos
Breaks It Down
Put Together Music
Blues music has never strayed too far from the personal. The majority of its history can be summed up as “bad times” and “lost love”. Sure, in the late ’60s you had some major names giving vent to their frustrations on the Vietnam war, for example, but it was rare. Put another way, you didn’t hear many 12 bar blues songs about Watergate. But one thinks our current political climate might change that.
From the opening menace of “Moved” to the triumphant closing of “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love, And Understanding”, the Reverend Shawn Amos uses the blues as protest. And like Fantastic Negrito on 2017’s The Last Days of Oakland, Amos expands the genre in timely fashion, showing how ephemeral our rights can be, particularly on “2017” or the “Freedom Suite”, which opens with the traditional song “Uncle Tom’s Prayer”, which is sadly, still relevant.
Amos is joined again by Chris “Doctor” Roberts, whose sizzling guitar work made last year’s Loves You a smash, and his playing, along with Amos harp work transform David Bowie’s “The Jean Genie” into a blues stomper, for example. In a genre that seems to be moribund, with its stars either dead or retiring, or content to rehash Stevie Ray Vaughn endlessly, The Reverend Shawn Amos stands out as a vital teller of truth in an age that sorely needs it. Testify, Reverend, testify.