Thursday, January 3, 2013

StompTown Revival




A rugged faith that embraces whisper and thunder

StompTown Revival
Artist: StompTown Revival (www.stomptownrevival.com)
Label: Save the City Records
Length: 6 tracks/25:50 minutes

StompTown Revival’s six song debut EP is filled with grace and grit. At turns acoustic with limited percussion, their style of blues and roots rock also has a soulful, southern swagger. The opening “Guide Me Home” starts with simple acoustic-picking that grows in complexity until amplified power chords and bass drum add weight. This is not your father’s folk. Here, the sublime meets with distortion. The lamb and lion lay down together.

The harmonica and slide guitar are right at home. The former adds to the wistfulness of “The Sun Will Find a Way.” The wailing, echoing sound would fit in some Sergio Leone western. It’s like a lonely voice in the desert. And yet, we are treated to the comforting thought, “You roll the clouds away/And Your love is like a glorious day/Though there is pain/Oh the sun, the sun will find away.”

StompTown looks to God for justice; they shout his praises. Whether one considers the greatest judgment or bliss in this life, it is nothing compared to what will be in “Waiting for the Man.” They add exclamation by singing at the top of their lungs. Even so, there is a restful, dreamlike instrumental interlude in the middle. It’s a reprieve before the music comes back with ferocious intensity.

This closes with a remake of the beloved hymn, “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms.” The group’s treatment lends new vigor to something so familiar that it could easily sound tired.  

In an age that caters to the lowest common denominator and where words and sounds become homogenized, it’s remarkable to find such a rugged expression of faith that embraces both whisper and thunder.

It reflects the band’s desire to reach non-Christians. This duo, consisting of Seattle native Brandon Bee and Texas native Gabe Martinez, just recently returned from a seven-day mission’s trip to Thailand. The response, which included an invitation to return, and 20 people becoming Christians, was overwhelming.

Some may remember Martinez as the frontman for Circleside, a Christian rock group. Bee was a solo artist credited with producing over 80 projects. The pair met at a 2004 music retreat in Seattle and bonded over their mutual interest in American Blues.

That fondness gives them a unique sound among Christian artists. If you like new expressions of Americana and God-haunted lyrics, check this out! 
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