Sometimes when you read the story of an album, it almost comes across as fiction. You can say that about Thoughts and Prayers by Idiot Grins. Yes, the title sounds like something by a pop-punk band. However, the inspiration for this album not only predates punk. but also comes from the completely opposite direction. Just for fun, the band decided to cover the album Satan Is Real by The Louvin Brothers. Three years later, the band has finally released this passion project that is a tribute to one of the great country-gospel bands.
Here’s the thing. This is an album of gospel songs. But you don’t have to be the churchgoing kind to appreciate these songs. “There’s a Higher Power” is an upbeat song that feels a lot like something you’d hear in church – complete with a choir providing the backing vocals. Religious or not, it’s hard to ignore the spirit of this song.
You have to give credit to Idiot Grins for a couple of reasons. First, it’s never an easy thing to cover a classic album. Beyond that, trying to emulate the harmonies of The Louvin Brothers is probably a fool’s errand because few can harmonize like The Louvin Brothers. Still, the band nails the harmonies of these gospel songs in their own way. On top of that, the band also brings some soul to these songs with the keyboards.
“Dying from Home, and Lost” is an interesting song. First off, it is a waltz, which is something you don’t always get from gospel music. The other interesting thing is that the beat brings just enough rock and roll to the mix – kind of like some Johnny Cash gospel songs. The same can be said for “The Drunkard’s Doom”, which combines honky-tonk piano with a beat made to get you moving.
It’s clear that Idiot Grins meant to put their own spin on this album, and they succeeded. These songs were never meant to be duplicates of the songs by The Louvin Brothers. No, these song were meant to be a tribute to an admired album and an admired music group. The band did a tremendous job of bringing these songs into the 21st century and adding a fair amount of soul. Thoughts and Prayers (Snug Harbor Records) will be available everywhere on November 6. Order your copy here.
Mike Conner – piano, organ
Evan Eustis – bass, mandolin, vocals
John Hansen – vocals
Michael Melgoza – drums
Randy Strauss – guitars
Produced by Randy Strauss and Andrew Smars