by Shane Handler
Judging from the Paleolithic typography on the cover of Reid Genauer's new
disc, you would think his first album outside the Strangefolk realm would sound
prehistoric. Think again. With a new band and a bag full of new songs, The
Assembly of Dust converges where Reid left off with Strangefolk's A Great Long
While and continues to push the boundaries of folky groove rock built over
Backed by a top notch band, that includes members from
Percy Hill and Moon Boot Lover, The Assembly of Dust is further powered by the
addition of soulful female backup singers that point the album into a realm of
gospel. Genauer has always provided a vigorous emotional quality to his singing
in the live setting that pours forth his heart, soul and sweat into each song.
The addition of the Stone Choir carries these new tunes a level that
reciprocates righteous foot stomping and carefree bootie shaking. The addition
of Nate Wilson's stylish organ fills provides a perfect complement to the
soulful voices dominating the record.
Two funky shuffle openers, "Burned
Down" and "Filter" propel an upbeat opening aura to the record. "Filter"
features Adam Terrell's funk guitar scratches thrown in with a soaring solo.
Mixed in with Wilson's spacey keyboard effects, this song is a crowd
"Tavern Walker" sums the entire gospel theme with the Stone Choir
playing cat and mouse with Reid's vocals of "So it shall be - it will be
written". "Songs We Sing" once featured in the Strangefolk catalog is an earth
moving version accentuated by the vocals of choir, pouring their voices into the
climatic chorus. "Sideways Train" drips in gospel harmonies with lyrics that
preach, "ashes to ashes dust to dust, may soul encounter soul on the cross-town
"Drawn" is a dreamy pace song that echoes of late 70's Eagles or
Fleetwood Mac, built around Wilson's organ groundwork, and keeps the entire song
at an even cool mellow tempo. The feel good porch swilling rock and roll is in
full force with "Forty Five Degrees" which can brighten up a dark alley with the
chorus, "smiling to myself, waving with my free hand." Not suprisingly, it
echoes in the same vibe of the Strangefolk classic, "Speculator". Another feel
good melody is "Etta James", a country sounding tune that has a fabulous chorus,
that invites Reid to just go for it and sing the line, "I like the way that she
sings" near the end at his most fervent that will bring any congregation to
"Shame", an antiwar tune, shows Genauer at his best in a more
coffee house intimate setting. Just the man and his voice singing a song that
couldn't be more poignant in today's hostile world events. Like his old folk
tunes, "Alaska" or "Poland" it's a powerful tune that has the markings to open
eyes and ears. "Love Junkie" follows and is dominated by the bouncy bass lines
of John Leccese, in a song that has a polished Steely Dan sound; a perfect way
to kick the end of the album into smooth sailing, further floating back into
"Bow" which sounds like a groovy version of the Beatles, "Oh! Darling."
Assembly of Dust is a spectacular album that perfectly showcases one of the most
vital voices, singers, storytellers and song-writers in today's live music
scene. Backed by accomplished musicians and backup singers, this recording is
nothing but ear candy.