musicians of disparate backgrounds, exploit their common love of traditional
music, and put them in the studio sans accompaniment save their guitar and
vocals. The end result is manifest in Chase
the Devil, an inspired pairing featuring guitarist Gary Lucas and vocalist Dean
Bowman. The two men find a special bond in gospel and blues, transforming age-old
spirituals and archival originals by the likes of the Rev. Gary Davis, the
Staple Singers, and Sister Rosetta Tharpe into rugged and reverent interpretations.
Tapping into a
solemnity that befits the music’s hallowed origins, the duo manages to infuse contemporary
influences into the tangled trappings of “Nobody’s House” and the propulsive
tempo of “Time and the Place.” The dusty bottleneck blues of “This May Be The
Last Time,” a precursor to the Stones standard with a similar name, manages to
circumvent the divide between Rock and religion. Lucas, a one-time member of
Captain Beefheart’s backing band, is a proficient musician, one whose varied
influences, subtle nuances and vibrant technique offer all the ambiance that’s needed.
For his part, Bowman commands a remarkable vocal range, finding resonance in
the darker melodies and elation in more spirited celebration.
cautionary note is needed. Chase The Devil may be too scholarly for
some, particularly those who aren’t as attuned to tradition. Nevertheless, the triumph of this Devil lies in the details, and virtuosity
assures its saving grace.
Standout Tracks: “”Nobody’s House,” “Time and the Place”