It was with much trepidation that Lady K first listened to “Gospel Blue.” Seriously? Gospel? Blues? So many potential pitfalls! If Lady K hated the music (or the lyrics, or the liner notes, or the pictures), would there be repercussions? It’s freakin’ God music – one should not hate God music!!!! And then more problems came to mind: What if Lady K liked the music (lyrics, etc., etc.), because Lady K loves the blues, and “Gospel Blue” meant it was the blues AND God music. Among other cool things, the blues is sexy; well, but this is God music – it can’t be sexy, can it? At this point, Lady K hadn’t looked at the names of the tunes, or the liner notes, or the promo-sheet that came with the CD, and yet already she was expecting a lightning-bolt from the sky. So much stress . . . .
As it happens, no bolt of lightning appeared. Gospel Blue is ‘like-able’ – very much so. Brick Fields is a cool adaptation of two band-member names: Rachel Fields (vocalist, rhythm guitar, flute) and Larry Brick (guitarist and songwriter) combined their professional and personal lives, based on a bond of music and Christian faith. The duo added Casey Terry (alto and tenor sax), Randy Fairbanks (keys), Johnny Ray (bass) and Caleb Bomar (drums), and Brick Fields, the band was born. And, oh yes, they are from Arkansas; Brick Fields represented the Ozark Blues Society in Memphis earlier this year – and, to Lady K’s relief, there is nary a twang to be heard on “Gospel Blue”; more like good, old-fashioned, but modern, homespun gospel music, combined with the blues. Confusing, huh?
Gospel Blue contains nine original tunes, plus Rachel’s kick-ass version of “Amazing Grace” (which would probably be worth the cost of the CD, in itself). Oh hell, can you say kick-ass about “Amazing Grace?” And did Lady K just say “hell?” Sorry. Listen closely, and you’ll hear the original “Amazing Grace” lyrics, but with completely different emphasis; almost as though you are hearing the tune for the first time. It’s a slow-ish rock-blues beat, with some sexy sax going on – very interesting.
“Cryin” is slow and conveys many emotions, featuring not only Rachel Fields’ powerful voice, but also her flute. The vocals, combined with Casey Terry’s sax and some serious guitar, make the pain and fear expressed in this tune even more poignant; as she begs to be saved from the fire of her sins, amid fears that she’s losing her mind. The slow, sexy (yes, sexy again) “How Long” (“until you come to take me home, how many days must I roam – my love, I dream of you each day”) – could be a tune sung for the Lord or for a love more of this earth.
“In the Light of Love” is an up-beat, up-lifting, rocking, jazzy blues tune with more amazing flute, which proclaims “when I’m walking with my Lord, all the sickness, all the misery, all the pain just seem to fade away” – walking “In the Light of Love”. “Talk About the Weather” is a funky, moral lesson on an old moral stand-by: if you can’t say something nice about whatever is going on, then talk about the weather.
“Hopelessly Addicted” brings more slow, sexy, sax-y blues, celebrating a higher love: “You bring me comfort when I’m lonely, joy when I’m blue, I’ll always be yours, because I know you’ll see me through – I’m hopelessly addicted to you”. Brick Fields is a complete package – great songwriting, with meaningful lyrics, Rachel’s vocals and the music. The band really did put together a blues-gospel album that can be enjoyed by people who, in the past, maybe thought they didn’t like gospel music, because now there’s Gospel Blue. Enjoy – it’ll make you feel good; because it’s good music – good blues, and because, just maybe, it’s meant to make you feel good.