REVIEW: Marley’s Ghost’s “Travelin’ Shoes” is Honest, Pure Classic Gospel

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Travelin’ Shoes, the new gospel release from Marley’s Ghost, is the group’s third’s collaboration with producer Larry Campbell, former guitarist for Bob Dylan and bandleader for Levon Helm. Larry writes, “This a group whose artistic life blood springs from the deep well of American traditional music. They love it, they’ve lived it, they respect it, and they’ve found a way to interpret this tradition in their own unique way without diverting from the stream of honesty that flows through all it genres.”

Marley’s Ghost–the sextet of Dan Wheetman (bass, fiddler, guitar, vocals), Jon Wilcox (mandolin, guitar, bouzouki, vocals), Mike Phelan (guitars, dobro, bass, fiddle, vocals), Ed Littlefield Jr. (pedal steel, guitars, bass, fiddle, bagpipes, vocals), Jerry Fletcher (keyboards, accordion, vocals) and Bob Nichols (drums, percussion)–models itself on The Band, and has been making music together for 30 years.

Recently, Americana Highways debuted the song “Shadrack” from Travelin Shoes,here:  Song Premiere: Marley’s Ghost Announces New Album, “Travelin’ Shoes,” Premiering Song “Shadrack” in Hooba Hooba Style The track highlights the modern-day interpretations of classic gospel songs from as long ago as the Thirties. The songs on Travelin’ Shoes preserve the vital nature of these songs, while instilling them with a contemporary vigor and vitality, breathing new life and new energy into these timeless songs.

Travelin’ Shoes will appeal most strongly to lovers of classic gospel. But by any measure, the musicianship is first rate, and is enjoyable for anyone with a love for roots music. Even if you are not a religious person, the honesty and spirituality teamed with the musicianship on Travelin’ Shoes will strike your heart. The devotional aspects aside, one can appreciate the passion it expresses; it is, as Larry Campbell says, honest, and that sort of honesty is easy to appreciate.

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