The Eagle Rock Gospel Singers: No Glory


Praise the Lord: On their sophomore album, the Eagle Rock Gospel Singers dive deep into their bag of tricks for an eclectic mix of soul, gospel and Americana.

The Eagle Rock Gospel Singers

No Glory

Label: The Eagle Rock Gospel Singers
US Release Date: 2017-07-14

Music that reflects a deep religious faith, particularly if it falls within “indie” parameters, can be troubling from a marketing standpoint. Most indie music is either devoid of any kind of religious statement, or questions the concept of religion altogether. As a result, most of what constitutes popular contemporary Christian music seems banal and predictable and not really in keeping with what makes independent music fresh and unique.

If you’re the Eagle Rock Gospel Singers, however, you’ve got this figured out. Eschewing the contemporary sounds of popular Christian music, they’ve taken a natural and admirable step back in time by embracing Americana arrangements -- through the use of acoustic guitar, pedal steel, and harmonica, among other refreshing instrumentation choices -- and reveling in good old-fashioned campfire settings, complete with roof-raising shouts and Southern, bluesy tinges. Their official bio refers to the musical style as “an eclectic mix of alt-country gospel", and I’m inclined to agree.

Beginning as a collective of friends in the summer of 2010, the Eagle Rock Gospel Singers eventually pared down their lineup from 15 members to six and eventually five, releasing the album Heavenly Fire in 2015. Their follow-up, No Glory, shows the band honing its skills even further, thanks to a more open-ended, comprehensive style that ties together a variety of genres without ever sounding unfocused or needlessly meandering.

The title track is a fitting album opener, as drummer/vocalist William Wadsworth introduces a foot-stomping shuffle beat to accompany his distorted, almost Black Keys-inspired bluesy croon. When the rest of the band joins in the chorus -- “There ain’t no glory / None that I see / None to compare / Your love for me” -- it’s full-on revival time, with an upbeat mood bound to get the most morose music lovers out of their seats.

The Southern blues rock vibe continues through the next several tracks, whether it’s the strutting, four-on-the-floor twang of “Momma Told Me” (led by the gospel shout of vocalist Kim Garcia), or the simmering gospel funk of “Haunted", which is highlighted by the rich, soulful organ playing of guest keyboardist Dave Maust.

The Eagle Rock Gospel Singers’ calling card is more than just an organic, back-to-basics approach to Southern-tinged gospel rock -- the arrangements on No Glory have an eclecticism that offers plenty of surprises and a variety that’s refreshing. “Church Fire” is a stunningly arranged, movingly performed original song that sounds like a classic old hymn complete with vocals that echo through the walls of church where it was recorded. This song and “Lay Down Low,” another acoustic-based number of gospel simplicity, are the only two tracks recorded at Church of the Epiphany in Los Angeles (the remaining tracks were recorded in a studio), and the haunting atmosphere ratchets up the songs’ emotional heft immeasurably. Again, it’s hard to believe that all the songs on No Glory are original compositions as many of them could be mistaken for old spirituals.

There are even moments on No Glory when classic pop song structure creeps in, the most obvious example being “Something to Hold", which has an upbeat ‘60s soul sheen mixed in with the testifying, thanks to a lively horn section and some soothing Motown piano riffs. “Over Me” takes on the qualities of a jazzy torch ballad, thanks to its lazy, seductive tempo and Jeremy Long’s plaintive pedal steel.

No Glory is the perfect antidote to the dry, predictable nature of much of today’s contemporary Christian music. It allows the Eagle Rock Gospel Singers to profess their faith through music, but in a style that’s more open-minded , more engaging, and generally more fun. Regardless of your beliefs, a roof-raising good time is guaranteed.


The year in song reflected the state of the world around us. Here are the 70 songs that spoke to us this year.

70. The Horrors - "Machine"

On their fifth album V, the Horrors expand on the bright, psychedelic territory they explored with Luminous, anchoring the ten new tracks with retro synths and guitar fuzz freakouts. "Machine" is the delicious outlier and the most vitriolic cut on the record, with Faris Badwan belting out accusations to the song's subject, who may even be us. The concept of alienation is nothing new, but here the Brits incorporate a beautiful metaphor of an insect trapped in amber as an illustration of the human caught within modernity. Whether our trappings are technological, psychological, or something else entirely makes the statement all the more chilling. - Tristan Kneschke

Keep reading... Show less

This has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it.

It hardly needs to be said that the last 12 months haven't been everyone's favorite, but it does deserve to be noted that 2017 has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it. Other longtime dreamers either reappeared or kept up their recent hot streaks, and a number of relative newcomers established their place in what has become one of the more robust rock subgenre subcultures out there.

Keep reading... Show less

​'The Ferryman': Ephemeral Ideas, Eternal Tragedies

The current cast of The Ferryman in London's West End. Photo by Johan Persson. (Courtesy of The Corner Shop)

Staggeringly multi-layered, dangerously fast-paced and rich in characterizations, dialogue and context, Jez Butterworth's new hit about a family during the time of Ireland's the Troubles leaves the audience breathless, sweaty and tearful, in a nightmarish, dry-heaving haze.

"Vanishing. It's a powerful word, that"

Northern Ireland, Rural Derry, 1981, nighttime. The local ringleader of the Irish Republican Army gun-toting comrades ambushes a priest and tells him that the body of one Seamus Carney has been recovered. It is said that the man had spent a full ten years rotting in a bog. The IRA gunslinger, Muldoon, orders the priest to arrange for the Carney family not to utter a word of what had happened to the wretched man.

Keep reading... Show less

In 'Downsizing' Shrinking Means Big Money and Bigger Problems

Matt Damon and Jason Sudeikis in Downsizing (2017) (Photo by Photo credit: Paramount Pictures - © 2017 Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved.) (IMDB)

Being the size of a dog's chew toy might not be to everybody's taste, but it's certainly a shortcut to a kind of upper middle-class luxury unobtainable for most of humanity.

Just imagine you're a character in Alexander Payne's circuitous and occasionally perceptive new comedy Downsizing: You were pre-med, but you dropped out of school to take care of your mother. Now you're an occupational therapist at Omaha Steaks. You and your wife are treading water both economically and in your relationship. But still, you face every day with just enough gee-whiz optimism that life never quite turns into a grind. But then, something happens. Some Swedish researchers figured out a way to shrink the average human down to a mere five inches tall without any adverse side effects. There are risks to avoid, like not leaving metal fillings in during the shrinking process (exploding heads, you know).

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.