LABEL: TREATED AND RELEASED RECORDS
Supramundane (suדּדּprə mʌ nשׂשׂdeận) adj (Alternative Belief Systems) – being or situated above the mundane world; transcending our system; celestial.
For over 20 years Reverend Freakchild has been directing his musical ministry to the legions of fans, who have followed the Grateful Dead and all its offspring with music that is inspired by the jam band forefathers and its members. Upon finding the world in our present crisis, the Reverend decided to cast his net wider and minister to a larger flock of blues and roots seekers. His latest release, Supramundane Blues, is a collection of 13 gospel favorites and songs inspired by faith and the quest for divine enlightenment that runs the gamut of styles from Delta Blues to funk, soul, modern jam band, rock, and Americana, plus a bonus disc, Psychedelic Trip Hop Mass.
The Reverend once again invited several like-minded souls to join him on his mission of spreading the word of peace, love and redemption, including guitarists Kevin Griffin (The Rev’ s meditation teacher) and Mark Karan (Rat dog), keyboardist Steve Sirockin, Malcolm “The Minister of Bass” Oliver, drummer Chris Parker (Aretha Franklin, Donald Fagen, Quincy Jones, Brecker Brothers), percussionist Jason Hann (String Cheese Incident), producer and multi-instrumentalist Hugh Pool, and Grammy-nominated vocalist and harmonicist, The Reverend Shawn Amos.
The opening solo acoustic number, “ Preaching The Blues,” harkens back to the years Reverend Freakchild spent singing blues and spirituals on Sundays at NYC hippie hang out, Tobacco Road. He sends out a call to worship with “Crying Holy,” giving the Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys’ staple an electric update. The gutbucket blues reinvention of MTV dance hit “ Personal Jesus,” is brilliant in its greasy simplicity and will no doubt be a radio favorite, gathering new members to the Reverend’ s congregation. The creativity continues with a rousing jam-band version of Blind Lemon Jefferson’ s 1928 Texas Blues classic, “ See That My Grave Is Kept Clean,“ that includes lap steel playing from the late Drew Glackin. The transformation of the Albert King slow blues standard, ” Everybody Wants To Go To Heaven,“ from 1971 into a pastoral acoustic driven folk ballad is visionary.
Blind Willie Johnson was a bluesman and a preacher whose lyrics were spiritual and his recordings from the 1930s influenced generations of songwriters, including The Rev, who delivers a swinging version of ” Soul Of A Man?” adding a few new irreverent verses. Kevin Griffin joins him on the spoken word piece in “ Factors Of Awakening.” The Rev then presents “Jesus Just Left Chicago!“ as an offertory prayer, rearranging the 12-bar blues penned by Billy Gibbons into a spacious and contemplative acoustic devotional. Mark Karan takes over lead guitar duties on a traditional hymn “Good Shepherd,” staying faithful to the 1969 Jefferson Airplane psychedelic folk-rock version. The Southern gospel standard “ Working On A Building,“ has been recorded many times by a diverse array of artists from The Carter Family to Elvis, B.B. King and John Fogerty, hear The Rev and his crew give the song a full Jam Band Funk treatment surely drawing on inspiration from the late great Colonel Bruce Hampton while featuring tasty piano from Sirockin.
The Soul Rock groover, “ Keep On Praying,” proves to be a fine vehicle for a collaboration with fellow brother of faith The Reverend Shawn Amos, who lends his vocals and gritty harmonica to a witty and sardonic track that could’ ve come from the Lou Reed catalogue. Reverend Freakchild calls upon the words of his hero the late Reverend Gary Davis and his song “It’ s Gonna Be Alright!” gathering the faithful together for the joyous benediction. “Seven Billion Light Years” melds statements and music into a universal spiritual potpourri.
When asked, what do you mean by preaching the blues, Reverend Freakchild responded “ there were many early blues musicians, like Reverend Gary Davis and Son House, who were either preachers, who became bluesmen or bluesman, who became preachers. For them there wasn’ t much of a line between Saturday night and Sunday morning. That’ s what my music draws on.” This expansive collection, Supramundane Blues, gives testimony to that influence to be a balm for the soul. – Rick J Bowen
01 Preachin’ The Blues
02 Crying Holy
03 Personal Jesus
04 See That His Grave Is Kept Clean
05 Everybody Wants To Go To Heaven
06 Soul Of A Man
07 Factors Of Awakening (With Kevin Griffin)
08 Jesus Just Left Chicago!
09 Good Shepherd (With Mark Karan)
10 Working On A Building
11 Keep On Praying (With The Reverend Shawn Amos)
12 It’s Gonna Be Alright!
13 Seven Billion Light Years Old
Website Reverend Freakchild