Wednesday, June 23, 2010

ROW: Sonny Treadway - "Jesus Will Fix It!" (Arhoolie)

Sonny Treadway was my gateway into the renewing wonders of Sacred Steel. His opening selections on a late-Nineties Arhoolie compilation immediately piqued my interest for more of the idiom that applies lap steel virtuosity to the context of gospel hymns. Treadway stands apart from some of the more spirited and raucous of his peers like the Campbell Brothers with a fretting style that is frequently more laidback and jazz-inflected. This collection of a dozen studio instrumentals comes on like sweet iced tea spiked with the sporadic lime zing compared to the tangy lemonade of other live sets on the label. Treadway’s twangy lines and carefully inserted effects bob and float atop a rhythm supplied by just Ronnie Mozee’s crunchy guitar and the steady chugging clip-clop of Derrick Glen’s drums. It’s like Honky Tonk played from a Pentacostal pulpit with no lyrics to get in the way of strictly secular appreciation either and a reliable aural tonic when the stresses of the day cause the faculties to fray.

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