The Austin Chronicle

Texas Platters

Record review

Reviewed by Robert Gabriel, July 21, 2006, Music

The Gospel According to Austin Vol. 5


As the Bells of Joy exemplify on "In the Morning," gospel has the ability to transform the most basic concepts into epic adventures of spiritual cleansing. Spirited by local acts of country, blues, folk, and bluegrass backgrounds, this fifth volume of KGSR's The Gospel According to Austin stretches the word into the goodwill of neighborly interaction. While Billy Joe Shaver's original "My Mother's Name Is Victory" comes to terms with the solemn side of Christianity, Ruthie Foster triumphantly rejoices that "there's joy on the other side." Resurrecting Blind Willie Johnson's "It's Nobody's Fault But Mine," Papa Mali utilizes the Iguanas' rhythm section to elicit feelings deep down in the gut of introspection. A historic 1999 pairing of Don Walser and the Kronos Quartet epitomizes just how far Texans are willing to go in order to reconcile their faith with the cowboy imagery of their home state. Even Native American singer Marla Nauni resonates the project's unifying theme with a striking rendition of "On the Cross." In addition to a 17-track compilation, the Rev. Dan Smith supplies an entire bonus disc of gospel purity that will run anyone's emotions through a ringer of spiritual awakening.


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