In the last seventeen years, singer and songwriter Davis Coen has had a prolific career, at least based on the fact that he now has ten recordings on his resume. Typically his music is a mix of blues and country. However, he has long harbored a desire to record an album that features his spiritual influences. Enlisting a number of friends to help out, Coen delivers a primer on spiritual salvation with eight original hymns, two co-written, and four covers.
Drummer Ryan Rogers establishes a solid foundation on the opener, “Working For Jesus,” written by the legendary Willie Mitchell and originally done by Willie Banks and the Messengers. Coen expounds on the difficulties of maintaining the faith as Eric Carlton on organ creates the appropriate atmosphere.
The title track, written by Stuart Hamblen, adds the singer’s country influences, thanks to the pedal steel guitar of Kell Kellum. “Lesser Man” is built around Carlton on piano and an earnest vocal from Coen. Guitarist Patrick McClary joins the leader for several duets, “Saint Christopher” being a gently rollicking blues-country-gospel highlight while “Jesus’ Hand,” which the two singers wrote, dials up the gospel fever over the Nathan Robbins thumping bass work.
Standout tracks include “Diamonds In Your Back Yard,” a song reminding listeners that joy is all around us, waiting to be discovered. Coen is equally compelling on “Shifting The Tide,” sharing his passion with a vocal chorus to create a Sunday experience. The stripped-down arrangement for “You Are the Onliest (God I Know)” leaves plenty of space for the singer’s personal testament on faith. Kellum’s returns on “Stand By You,” setting up an stimulating musical interplay between his pedal steel and Carlton on piano. Coen’s measured approach fails to inspire on two stalwart hymns, “What A Friend We Have In Jesus” and “Old Rugger Cross,” the later getting a boost from Jonny Ciaramitaro on mandolin. Several other artists, singer Damein Wash and bass player Stuart Cole, also make contributions to the project.
Davis Coen can cross this one off his bucket list. While this project is centered on faith and religion, the singer refrains from trying to recreate the passionate performances of the best gospel groups. He utilizes a laid-back style that suits his abilities, and allows him to deliver his message utilizing a range of styles. It is a solid effort from this well-traveled musician, aimed at those who feel a need for redemption.