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Reviews: Jeanne T. Arrigo & Friends ~ Favorite Hymns Live!|
Posted on Sunday, May 03, 2009 @ 11:43:21 UTC
Artist: Jeanne T. Arrigo & Friends
CD: Favorite Hymns Live!
Home: Chicago, Illinois
Quote: "For an informal get together, this two-CD set is pretty darn good."
By Dan MacIntosh
Jeanne T. Arrigo & Friends recorded this collection live at the First Congregational Church of Wilmette in Illinois, and it consists of two CDs mostly filled with hymns. The overall sound is an easygoing mix of country, bluegrass and a little bit of gospel.
Jeanne T. Arrigo leads this eight-person group of friends through a 22-song set. The first CD begins with a few words from Rev. Stephanie J. Perdew of the First Congregational Church before the group jumps into playing "I Sing the Mighty Power of God." This first CD goes on to include a wide variety of spiritual songs, from the old church tune, "What a Fellowship," to the Celtic "Be Now My Vision." There’s also the old gospel tune, "God’s Eye is on the Sparrow." This first half ends with a few new ones, however. "Psalms 61" is a Kathy Malone song from around 1980, whereas Brian Wren and Carlton R. Young’s "Bring Many Names" was penned in 1989. Arrigo introduces this last one by saying it was the song that initially inspired the album.
The second CD begins with a favorite country song, "I’ll Fly Away," which especially shines because of Billy Oh’s fiddle. This disc also includes a little old gospel with "Precious Lord, Take my Hand," and more familiar church hymns, such as "How Great Thou Art." This latter portion also includes a few newer tunes, too. David Haas’ "You Are Mine" is from 1991, but the most contemporary song of all is "I Am Thankful," which is not only from 2008, but was also written by Arrigo – the only selection she is credited with on the collection. The tune is slow, thoughtful folk, and it finds Arrigo expressing thankfulness for everything she’s been given.
Country/bluegrass is the common denominator musical style of this project, although Roxana Imam adds clarinet, recorder, and tin whistle, which are not normally associated with either of those two genres. Tin whistle is especially effective on the old hymn, "I Was There to Hear Your Borning Cry."
Arrigo is a fine singer, although she sometimes loses a little control when emotions get the best of her. She’s at her best during the slower material, such as "I Am Thankful," but when the tempos speed up a bit, her breath support gets a tad lost in the process. But it’s hard to argue with a well-played album containing so many fine songs. It is by no means a professional-sounding recording, but for an informal get together, this two-CD set is pretty darn good.
Artist Website: http://www.jeannetarrigo.com/
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