The Assembly of Dust
Reid Genauer
Lionheart/Relix Records 2003
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 introspective lyrics.

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 mover.

"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 bus".

"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 their feet.

"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."
The 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.

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