I've written previously of my love, though I'm a confirmed atheist through and through, for Jesus songs and religious music. There's more than one reason for that. To me, the Bible is science-fiction and fantasy combined (without even mentioning its stilted philosophy and bizarre "logics"), a phantasmagoria to stand with Tolkein's Lord of the Rings, though not nearly so well crafted and actually pretty maudlin and hideously melodramatic. Ah, but then there's the Jesus myth, one of the world's great anarchic traditions, a complete metaphor, which I dearly love. Christians don't understand it at all, and that's how they get their completely uninspected and too often sadistically abused apocalyptic undercurrent, that and the horrific Old Testament (a Jewish device, please remember, and the wellspring of what is actually Constantinian Christianity, the Xian system we see now; true Christianity barely exists any more, seen only in the examples of Martin Luther King Jr., the Berrigan brothers, John Shelby Spong, Welton Gaddy, etc.). Thus, I've looked forward to hearing this CD...and it's far better than I could possibly have hoped.
Will Callery is a sometime associate of Danny Brooks, and Danny issued the killer No Easy Way Out last year (here), making it onto my 10 Best for 2008 FAME list. If you haven't heard that gospel / blues / country disc, you really need to. Callery's Rider Comin' In is something of a companion, but darker, grittier. The singer / player / composer is an excellent writer, dramatic vocalist, and moody instrumentalist, and this is, believe it or not, progressive country. Callery's delivery is strikingly similar to Ian Tyson's new vocal style, rough and commanding but also fascinating for its evocation of End Times storytelling, not to mention a non-stop fire and brimstone revivalist atmosphere.
Joe Forlini plays an immaculate slide alongside sparkling electric leads, Callery is a hell of a fingerpicker during the too few times he chooses to cut loose in solos, and Eddie Cantu mans a set of drums perfectly attuned to the role, crafting the section in a way that will greatly benefit young skinthumpers studying the art, an exercise in discretion and creative timekeeping. There are others involved, and Jerry Jeff Walker puts in a duet appearance, but those three are the powerhouses.
Atmosphere is everything here, and Callery dips neatly into the blues more than once, Dust being a great example, while never losing the preachifying, adumbrating, and near-snakehandling nature of this modern throwback to old time religion, heightening the drama measure to measure. You don't have to believe what's being peddled, but I dare you to deny its emotional content and draw. Callery is undeniably creating art through the intensity of his belief and dogma, and art careth not what informs it but merely that what results be genuine and impeccably crafted. Well Rider Comin' In is a powerful document, and I invite even progrockers to inspect its many virtues.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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