Excellent discovery from the Mississippi Records Blues / Gospel archive. Isaiah Owens plays guitar and hollers vocals with a grit and a dissonance that gives a real edge to his performances. The slightly grainy nature of recordings present on You Without Sin Cast The First Stone only adds to his power.
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- You Without Sin Cast The First Stone by Isaiah Owens
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Sounding disarmingly older than it actually is, You Without Sin… is one man’s rough-hewn ode to the Lord with nought but an electric guitar, some old Alabama radio recording equipment and his devoted, soulful cry. Hailing from Alabama, Owens is not the guy from The Mars Volta but the one from gospel group the Flying Clouds of Montgomery who were going from the ‘50s to about 45 more years on with Owens as guitar/vocal dude. That’s a ridiculous amount of time to be in one band. Apparently this was all captured during the turn of the millennium, but the crackle and distortion doesn’t say so, amplifying the soul of the record.
The guitar jangles its imperfect, gravelly tones at a rocksteady rhythm while Owens’ voice soars over the top displaying clear-cut emotions from mourning to jubilation. It’s sort of gospel heard through the dust of delta blues, some of the songs taking a dirgey pace, all the while stripped back and raw. This is the kind of music people like Tom Waits listen to when looking around for gritty style, this and the entire recorded works of Alan Lomax.
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