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Americana, country gospel music warmed in the California sunshine have Tom Kell, a veteran of the music business and precocious talent Emiko Woods perform a remarkable recording. I can’t get over the way their voices dovetail seamlessly. It is like this record was meant, there is rarely a time (if there is one to be found, which I seriously doubt) where one voice isn’t intertwined with the other or an edge where one is isolated from the other. Incredibly fluid and warm but strong. To give you an idea of highly I assess their work on ‘Down To The River’ it sounds like it could be Chris Hillman and Herb Pedersen partnered, back in the days of the Desert Rose Band when both were not only in great form but supported by a band containing the talents of Jon Jorgenson, Bill Bryson, Jay Dee Maness and Steve Duncan.


As for the musicians on Glory Bound apart from Kell’s acoustic guitar there are major contributions from TJ Hill (drums, percussion, electric, acoustic guitar and mandolin) and Carlos Rivera (electric, upright bass) with guest slots from Bob Glaub (electric bass), Cecil Smith (drums), Johnny Gomez (electric guitar) and Chris Middaugh (pedal steel). 


Discovered singing, together at the First Baptist Church Of Lakewood (1BL) Long Beach, California the unlikely duo; only because of age difference, and not talent wise were invited by the church and producer Jeff Zabel (Pastor of Worship and Arts) to record and album. Boy, what a wonderful that was. Like me you will also be thrilled the event took place. For choice songs Glory Bound offers a pedal steel, harmony vocals drenched ‘This Time’ and ‘Someday Soon’ (heaped in beautiful gospel tones, bounding melody and California acoustic country it’s an outright winner; Emiko’s work of answer and harmony vocals are just the bees knees! It doesn’t stop there either, because the keener in a hurry ‘Glory Bound’ possesses a fabulous contemporary edge. While for tender, stripped down beauty Woods’ lead on ‘My Hallelujah’ coupled with the measured ‘You’ll See His Face In Me’ and ‘Are You Calling Me’ see a continuance in an illustrious standard of work (singing and songwriting), ‘Just A Journey Home’ is an a cappella piece that fits like all others, perfectly. A Woods’ opened  ‘I'll Fly Away’ which fittingly closes the album stands proud among them! Be sure to take time to check out this duo. 


                                                            Maurice Hope 

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May 2018

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