Meshach Abednego – Psalms For Mother – EP Review
It seems appropriate to release this review in time for Mother’s Day.
Meshach Abednego, one of the prodigal-sons/songwriters out there in the independent music-scene returns to our pages with an EP full of songs played in tribute to the amazing woman that raised him. You can see it written as fact, right there on the cover of this record – Psalms For Mother – a collection of recordings in honour of my mother – how sweet is that? All you other people out there with your last-minute gifts of chocolates & flowers sure need to step your game up, that much is clear!
I was interested to hear what might make the difference here between the past music of Abednego and what he’d record specifically for this EP dedicated to his mom. Undeniably sweeter but still possessing the qualities that make his sound signature, unique and apart from the rest out there – Meshach’s done a great job of focusing on creating a cohesive record of songs that reflect the tender feelings, emotion and dedication of this tributary effort. Does he dial-back the quantifiable wildness you generally find in the heated passion of Meshach’s music? Of course! At least a bit. I’m not claiming he’s given that part of his music/sound up entirely, nor would I recommend that he does…no matter what the subject is.
That being said, he starts Psalms For Mother out tenderly, sweetly and gently with the beautiful sounds of acoustic chords in behind the powerful words of Pastor Deborah Powe on “Always Loving You.” I’m not even remotely kidding when I say that I could honestly listen to this combination all day long, every day – I absolutely love these kind of ideas and how the two layers intertwine between each other. Spoken word & music is so entirely underrated in my opinion…I love it in almost every form I’ve ever experienced it in when it’s done right like this opening track is. The ingredients you need specifically, which this song certainly has, are music that’s complementary & compelling alongside a speaker that is truly engaging, truly captivating. You get those two items sewn-up and you’ve always got my attention. “Always Loving You” ends up becoming seriously powerful & moving…Meshach has wisely chosen perfect clips that add strength to the words & emotion and come out with a winning combination. The guitar-work fits this idea beautifully with just enough contrasting sweetness to allow the intentions of the song to shine through brightly and put the themes of the record right on display front & center.
“Black Roses” dives further into the sweetness with a gorgeous opening acoustic melody that takes the ninety-seconds of the song for a dreamy instrumental stroll. Meshach’s lyrics keep the imagery in the words loaded with what sounds like memories, nostalgia and fondness for times past. Vocally he’s still keeping his cool here…you can still hear the familiar rasp & passionate approach, but he’s keeping it focused on the sweetness here to complement the beauty in the guitar melody. As always, I think he’s doing a great job and representing himself strongly & confidently; he has an unmistakable signature sound that will always be different from the rest. When you think of artists like Bob Dylan or Tom Waits – well…you gotta recognize that things really didn’t work out so bad for them did they? Having that polarizing sound to a vocal-style can always potentially be a great thing…sometimes it just takes a while for the people to catch on, which is why Meshach should always stay the course & true to himself like he has been. Besides…the whole world doesn’t need to get “Black Roses” – it’s for his wife! I think she’d certainly be plenty proud of her man Meshach and what he’s written, sung, played and recorded here.
“Live Forever/People Get Ready” features one of my favorite things about Meshach’s music, which is atmosphere. I’d have to assume it’s intentional at least to a degree…but sometimes a lot of these songs which sound recorded live have the perfect squeak of a chair or sounds in the background, children playing, people bustling…he includes an insightful amount of joy on this tune within the layers. AND he starts to let a bit more of that signature Meshach wildness burst out of him as the song progresses…which, while I might have been somewhat unsure of in my first reviews of his music written years ago, I’ve certainly grown to appreciate, respect and look forward to more. It’s definitely no accident that you hear the inclusion of his family into the mix on “Live Forever/People Get Ready” – I believe if I’m correct, you can hear young son Thaddeus take the spotlight at the end of this tune. Everyone comes to a point where they have to hand over the spotlight to someone else Meshach, you’re playing this one right by keeping the talent in-house and training the next superstar early. Loved the ending of this tune though…it’s really like two separate tunes of course but I appreciate both halves; the beginning keeps it real but the ending keeps it realer and reveals a real part of the heart & soul that drives Meshach & his music, inspiring him each and every day.
Left to his own devices and alone for a final run through the Curtis Mayfield cover of “People Get Ready” – you get the most signature Meshach moments within this last tune. Dude lets the spirit get right into him while he’s singing & playing this song and gets progressively intense as it goes. I knew it, you knew it, his mom and his wife knew it, Thaddeus too – he couldn’t hold back forever! A little something for the longstanding fans at the end of Psalms For Mother while still finding an appropriate cover to support the sentiment & emotion of the EP overall. Excellent intricate guitar work within this one too…the corners aren’t completely rounded but they almost never are in Meshach’s music and that’s okay…it’s all been part of the magic & charm of his music since day one. Bottom line is that his passion for music has always stood out with enormous enthusiasm and heart – and it continues to do so here, absolutely.
Find out more about Meshach Abednego’s music from his official page at: http://meshachabednego.com
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