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Music Review: The Sojourners – The Sojourners

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When one reads the story of the founding of The Sojourners one might be tempted to call the formation of their gospel trio luck, serendipity, or a happy coincidence. For the three men who make up the group, their coming together to record back-up vocals for Jim Byrnes and the subsequent forming of the trio could only be seen as providential.

Their sophomore, self-titled album The Sojourners comes three-years after the release of their debut Hold On. This freshly recorded collection of gospel standards and lesser known contemporary covers blends traditional gospel sounds with blues, R & B influences.

Will Sanders, Ron Small, and Marcus Mosely – these three men have paid their dues, cutting their musical teeth in church choirs, and moving on to large-scale stage performances. These experiences shine through in the ease these men perform together with. They truly sound like they’re enjoying the experience of coming together to lift their voices in celebration of the great things the Lord has done (an will do)

Backed by a talented group of musicians, some tracks seem to transport listeners directly into the heyday of gospel music. The backbone of the Hammond B-3 organ and slide guitar on “Great Day”, “Nobody Can Turn Me Around” result in bang-on upbeat numbers that are impossible not to move to.

Subdued numbers such as “Another Soldier Gone” and “lead Me Guide ME” are also great classic representations of the more reflective, slower gospel style with laid-back accompaniment by the Hammond and electric guitar. On the other hand, The Sojourners are at their funkiest with their cover of David Hidalgo’s “The Neighborhood” (1990) with a rolling R & B beat while they sketch a thoroughly modern word picture of a troubled and needy neighborhood.

The Sojourners present a balanced CD of songs celebrating hope in Jesus and aching with the struggles of life in a fallen world. When they rejoice I cut loose and dance, when they mourn I longingly look forward to a day when everything will be made new. This well-produced walk down the gospel lane is truly moving, both literally and figuratively.

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