Americana mavens and THE BAND associates delve into tradition – rootsy and their own.
Aaron Hurwitz, or Professor Louie, and his ensemble have been plowing the soil of tunes for two decades now, yet somehow staying out of the spotlight – although not exactly hiding in the shadow of erstwhile Big Pink inhabitants they used to work with as producer, MD and backing players. This album – a crème de la crème of the quintet’s repertoire, whipped anew – might change their disposition, thanks to invigorated spirituality with which the veterans imbue both classic tracks and fresher cuts.
That’s why, perhaps, there’s a sly smile behind the piano-led opener “I Shall Not Be Moved” – only it’s impossible not to be moved by the gospel swell of “Motherless Child”; and even the perennial “You’ll Never Walk Alone” gets turned into a Hammond-helped hymn here, yet Louie’s “Open Hand, Open Heart” stands its own holy ground – given the most crunchy, catchy instrumental treatment. If the gleeful “Up Above My Head” is propelled by Miss Marie’s mighty voice and former Dylan drummer Gary Burke’s simple groove, it’s Professor’s Big Easy-styled ivories and the “Moondance”-lit twang of John Platania’s guitar that drive “I’m On My Way” to celestial heights. Accordion may take “Glory Now” for a hoedown, but the voices blend on “Melody Of Peace” to bend what felt like an ordinary song into an anthem – unlike another original, “Daughters & Sons”: an epitome of the group’s rocking abilities.
Quite a time for all the world to join their circle and keep it unbroken.