[13 April 2011]
When you think of Christian music in the present tense, the common imagery might include an arena-sized congregation of mega-church denizens singing in unison with their hands high in the air to the painfully cheesy music of a band of Tragically Hip wanna-bes who wouldn’t be able to fill an old man bar if they weren’t singing about Hosanna in the Highest. However, listening to this long lost 1977 album from folkie Michael Kelly Blanchard, who makes no airs about his religious devotion in his songs, you don’t get that uneasy sense of theoretical coercion that you might experience from your current wave of born again rockers. In fact, many of the songs featured on Quail, a beautiful fusion of acid folk and modal jazz co-produced by Noel Paul Stookey of Peter, Paul and Mary, seem to utilize scripture more as a means to extrapolate on the human condition than as a way of blindly spewing out “Godspeak”. This Riverman reissue of Quail features cool vinyl-style packaging and a pair of rare bonus tracks, making this hidden treasure of mid-70s folk all the more of a quality find.