The Reverend Shawn Amos and The Brotherhood
Put Together Music
Miles Davis once said “It’s not about standing still and becoming safe. If anybody wants to keep creating they have to be about change”. Shawn Amos seems to hold that sentiment in high regard because each consecutive album is a new direction, while still being the reason you listen to his music. It’s not a sound you can put into any one style or genre and that, is what makes Blue Sky and the work with The Brotherhood so exciting.
I spoke with Shawn in late 2019 to talk about the album and who he brought with him for this one. Shawn says the album was a very collaborative effort and he told the guys “if were doing an album were going on the road together…there’s a subtext to it. You can pay a player to read a chart and learn a tune and it will be amazing but, if someone has skin in the game and there’s a personal relationship and not just a paycheck, it’s a different thing.” That collaborative effort, and oneness, comes through in not only how tight the album sounds, but also in the wide range of musical styles presented.
The album opens with the airy, laid back, “Stranger Than Today” that’s filled with interesting imagery and infectious vocal lines. “Troubled Man” adds Ruthie Foster to the vocals and has a tasty mix of simple, yet edgy guitar leading it through the paces. Shawn and the Brotherhood created an album full of interesting songs that ebb and flow and “Troubled Man”, probably my favorite of the album, captured the essence of all those moving pieces in one song.
“Counting Down the Days” is another catchy tune that showcases some of the Texas boogie that subtly permeates the entire album, but, as I said before, you cannot back this album into a proverbial genre corner. Each track slides around a corner onto the next unique piece of music like “Albion Blues” with sultry, slow blues groove while “Keep the Faith, Have some Fun” leans on some New Orleans flavored roots. It’s a great way of ending the album and lets you walk away on a high note and feeling like you did “have some fun”.
The main brotherhood, outside of Shawn on vocals and harmonica, is drummer Bradley Blade, Christopher Thomas on bass, and Chris “Doctor” Roberts playing guitar. The Sisterhood is Piper Amos, Ruthie Foster, Sharlotte Gibson, and Kenya Hathaway. This album has a ton of friends of the brotherhood as well including Jamelle Adisa, Marc Bolin, Mike Cottone, Matthew DeMerritt, Tim Ganard, Matt Hubbard, Hammond John Montgomery, Ben Peeler, James Saez, Johann Stein, and Dan Weinstein. The album was produced and mixed by James Saez at Blue Rock Studios in Texas with additional recording and mixing at The Audio Labs in Las Angeles.
The 10 tracks on Blue Sky come off with an amazing energy while maintaining the singer songwriter roots that you expect from Shawn Amos. It’s a beautiful piece of work that will excite fans who have been with him for a while and also grab new fans through these songs. Blue Sky is available at all online retailers as well as www.shawnamos.com, which has both vinyl and CD options available.