Drunken Prayer (from The Name of the Ghost Is Home on Fluff & Gravy Records) (by Lee Zimmerman)
With a name like Drunken Prayer, this cockeyed combo doesn’t exactly foster high anticipation in terms of what they might lead one to expect. Happily then, some six albums on, this Asheville-based band shows both its mettle and musicality, thanks to the ragged, devil-may-care attitude of the band’s leader and multi-instrumentalist, Morgan Geer, and his fellow travelers; percussionist Greg Williams, synth and pedal steel player Alex McMahon, piano player Aaron Price, fiddler J.J. Tourville, keyboardist Eric Slick on keys and backing vocalist Christa de Mayo.
Indeed, there’s a certain cockeyed sway and saunter inherent on The Name of the Ghost Is Home, the latest entry in the band’s ongoing trajectory. That’s evidenced in the off-kilter swagger found in songs such as “She’s a Heart” and “Oasis in the Yard” as well as the wistful melancholia of “Myna Birds” and “Sweetheart of the Picket Line”, the latter of which bears the telling description tag line ‘you don’t have the weapon or the will’.
Hmm, so much for their support for organized labor…
Still, one has to admire both the attitude and aptitude of this otherwise unlikely bunch of Americana anti-heroes. When they take a decidedly earnest attempt at playing to their listeners’ sympathies, ala the emotional outpour of “Landmines and Rabbit Ears” they manage to state their case expressively and emphatically. The same could be said of the schizophrenic ballad “Crazy Alone”, a poignant and personal reflection on the effect distance often has on depression. While the latter was apparently conceived during the covid crisis, isolation isn’t unique to the pandemic alone. In that regard, the soothing “God of the Sea” also finds common cause.
Notably then, as the album progresses, Drunken Prayer tone down the edgier aspects of their approach, resulting in a genuinely conciliatory sound that proves a welcome respite from the rowdy and rambunctious approach that characterized the proceedings early on. “The Judas Table,” “Country Music Ball of Fame”, “Sunderland”, and “I Wouldn’t Change a Thing” may, in fact, find tongue planted firmly in cheek, but regardless, these sweet serenades share tender charms all their own. (By Lee Zimmerman)
Listen and buy the music of Drunken Prayer from AMAZON
For more information and purchase options, please visit the Drunken Prayer website