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Carry the Word (2000)

by Spencer Bohren

After decades of mining the roots of American music, it was inevitable that Spencer Bohren would someday dig into the fertile soil of his own gospel-singing childhood. His explorations led to a musical place filled with imagery from a distant America. Here there were lonesome train whistles, big rivers, chariots of fire, epic battles, long journeys and heavy burdens, as well as strong men and beautiful women. Here the enemy was doubtlessly in league with the Devil and all paths led to Gloryland.

The theme that emerges is not really salvation, however, but rather the quest for freedom. These songs sing of crossing those rivers, escaping bondage, flying away, and generally slipping the chains of this mortal plane.

Carry the Word is a loving collection of Gospel-related Folk Music in which Spencer Bohren takes the listener from the sweet Southern Quartet sound of the Carolinas to a charismatic sanctified country church meeting in the Delta, with stops along the way for a Kentucky banjo piece, a heavenly instrumental version of Amazing Grace, and a couple of gorgeous originals. Inspiring!

Best CD by a Louisiana Artist 2001, Keith Spera/Times Picayune, New Orleans.