Intermingling nearly every musical genre from below the Mexi-American border up to the Mason-Dixon Line, Oxford, Mississippi’s The Holy Ghost Electric Show are not of this time. Having created a patchwork map, eras past and places far and wide dot their debut album, The Great American Holy Ghost Electric Show.
Look out the yonder window
There’s a long arm over Chicago
Maybe it’s God laughing hard
at his Son bleeding the Mississippi from his arms
Evoking Martin Luther King, Jr. on “Glory Days”, frontman Cody Rogers laments youthful ambitions long gone over down-tempo twang provided by brother Jake (guitar/banjo), Will Shirley (guitar), Conner Wroten (bass), Austin Wheeler (drums) and Jesse James (trombone/keys). James’ horn work features prominently on album opener, “Highway Towns,” a bluegrass rag.
A shroud of remembrance envelopes The Great American Holy Ghost Electric Show: loss on the waltzing “Fireworks Over Fairview,” dashed dreams of “Another Land” with its accordion moan and disillusionment on the post-war march of “Tin Man” and its acoustic postscript, “Elizabeth.”
Lord knows that I wanna go
Back to that open land
Where my father and mother raised me
To be the man I am
A southern institution and elemental issue in the upbringing of the brothers Rogers, religion is vivisected on the technicolor hymn “Let the Waters Rise,” the Hell-bound “Phantom Engineer” with Elijah as Charon and the existential questioning of “Kerosene Heater Blues.”
Given the sextet’s average years of existence is barely above that of legal drinking age, touching upon such questionable themes and topics could easily prove trite, yet their studied handling proves honest and informed. A sprawling composite of American hopes and history, The Holy Ghost Electric Show burns bright on the ambitious The Great American Holy Ghost Electric Show.
Available via This Is American Music, you can stream/purchase The Great American Holy Ghost Electric Show below.