The Word

Updated February 11, 2017 | Infoplease Staff

The Word

  • Ropeadope

It'd be tough to come up with another gospel album that consists of all instrumentals, but The Word proves that you don't always need lyrics to sing a song of praise.

John Medeski, the esteemed keyboardist of Medeski Martin and Wood is the best-known name heard on this side project collaboration with pedal steel guitar master Robert Randolph and three members of the North Mississippi Allstars. The band's music is steeped in sounds of the South, a wild, roof-raising blend of deep blues, Pentecostal fire, and hymn-like spiritual splendor.

There's also an undeniable Allman Brothers' influence running throughout the recording, from the way The Word lays out the jams in “Without God” to the Dickie Betts-style guitar wizardry heard in the upbeat “Joyful Sounds.” Randolph and guitarist Luther Dickinson form a potent tandem, playing perfectly off Medeski, especially during the graceful and later raucous reading of “I'll Fly Away.”

Kevin O'Hare

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