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The Sacred Shakers


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For The Sacred Shakers, there’s nothing finer than old-time, country and blues-influenced gospel music. Think Hank Williams, The Carter Family, The Stanley Brothers, Son House, and Mississippi Fred McDowell. Beginning in 2005, that music drew a small but ever-widening circle of some of Boston’s finest musicians and vocalists together at the Country Gospel Brunch concert series. In short order, The Boston Globe described the group as “a local Who’s Who of all-star roots musicians. ” And last summer, after hearing a single live performance by The Sacred Shakers, indie Signature Sounds label owner Jim Olsen encouraged the group to record their repertoire. On their eponymous debut, The Sacred Shakers offer new life to the gospel genre by revisiting the stripped down country and bluesy gospel material that inspires them.

On The Sacred Shakers, respect is paid to the old tunes but don’t look for a strict interpretation on this 14-track disc of mostly traditional gems plus a few gospel classics from Hank Williams and George Jones. Forget about the R&B grooves and slick sounds of modern gospel. Unlike many modern artists’ versions of heavy spiritual tunes, the Shakers don’t clean things up or over-produce and make it sound pretty. The Shakers simply play the songs and transition effortlessly from slower acoustic country/bluegrass like “Ready To Go Home,” to their rollicking rockabilly version of the traditional “I’m Gonna Do My Best,” and on to the droning blues of “Travelin’ Shoes.

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