Sam Butler: Raise Your Hands!

Album review
Sam Butler: Raise Your Hands!

Sam Butler

Raise Your Hands!

Label: Severn
Media: CD
Genre: Rock/pop

After 40 years as guitarist for the Blind Boys of Alabama, Sam Butler steps out with his solo debut, a stripped-down set of 12 songs by spiritually-bent secular artists. There are no vocal harmonies, horns, or keyboards; it’s all Butler’s voice and guitar, backed by sacred steel guitarist Roosevelt Collier, upright bassist Viktor Krauss, and drummer Marco Giovino. It’s an eclectic collection, from the righteous bombast of Bruce Springsteen’s “Heaven’s Wall” to Johnny Cash’s “Lead Me Father” to Tom Waits’ “Gospel Train” and the Bee Gees’ “The Lord.” Butler is a versatile singer, adding some gravel for the Waits song, while showing his smoother side on the sanctified, sensual soul of Curtis Mayfield’s “Wherever You Leadeth.” Butler’s guitar is also front and center, but not as you might expect. He can shred, as he shows on Eric Clapton’s Blind Faith classic “Presence of the Lord.” But in the soul and gospel tradition, Butler is a virtuoso of rhythm and groove. Check the slow burn he and Collier’s steel give Van Morrison’s “Full Force Gale.” Raise Your Hands is as much a master class in devastatingly understated guitar as a showcase of fine songs and heartfelt singing. 

More Info

  • primary artist, Sam Butler
  • CD

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