Review: The Sojourners – Hold On

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Label: Black Hen Music

Released: September 24, 2007

When gospel music is on, there’s almost nothing that can touch it, but when it’s off, it’s an awfully tough listen. When I first read about the Sojourners’ Hold On, I was intrigued. Here was a trio singing traditional gospel in a traditional style rather than the R&B for Jesus that typically passes for gospel these days. In a sense, the album was all it claimed to be and that made it all the more disappointing when it didn’t live up to my expectations.

There is no doubt that Martcus Mosely, Will Sanders and Ron Small can sing. They can harmonize well, but what they fail to do is to truly sing together. They lack the synergy that puts the punch in gospel music. To make matters worse, the backing band, although they do the right thing by sticking to acoustic instruments, have all the energy of a studio band, not a church band. The result is gospel music as it might come out of a barbershop quartet or a vaudeville show.

They do rise to the occasion on “Run On” and “Walking Up the King’s Highway,” but on “Jesus Hits Like the Atom Bomb,” a song that should certainly have a bang, they exhibit the same lack of explosiveness that pervades the album. All the pieces are in place, traditional gospel, traditional instrumentation, traditional arrangements, good singers, but Hold On still feels like a lackluster sermon.

Rating: 4/10

About bobvinyl

bobvinyl, writer and co-editor of No Song is an Island, founded its predecessor, Rock and Roll and Meandering Nonsense (whose archives are found here), in 2005 and served as editor and principal contributor until it went on hiatus in 2010. He has also been published in AMP and Loud Fast Rules! (in print) as well as Glide and FensePost on the web. He has been an avid record collector since he was seven years old and enjoys sharing his love of music from the common to the esoteric.

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