The Grahams

Glory Bound – 2015 (Creative Entertainment Network)

Reviewed by Brian Baker

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Commitment isn't merely a word to Alyssa and Doug Graham; the pair were friends as children, sweethearts as teenagers and married band mates as adults. As The Grahams, the duo's musical expression is the combination of their contemporary perspectives and their deeply rooted foundational influences - including Gram Parsons, Emmylou Harris, Johnny Cash, the Carter Family and Mississippi John Hurt - all of which informed their rich and powerful 2013 debut, "Riverman's Daughter."

For the sophomore album, the pair returned to their love of Bob Dylan and his legendary roots crew - Woody Guthrie and Lead Belly - by journeying to Guthrie's Oklahoma stomping grounds for the recording of the appropriately christened "Glory Bound."

As with their first album, the Grahams aren't interested in aping their historical forbearers on "Glory Bound," they're filtering and translating them through their own creative sensibilities. So the galloping title track and the full throttle bluegrass of "Kansas City" aren't old bygone era chestnuts, but vibrant new compositions that crackle with the Grahams' passionate creativity and experiential joy.

The bluesy swagger of "Gambling Girl," the folk lament of "Blow Wind Blow," the rootsy gospel of "The Wild One" and the desert cantina swirl of "Borderland" reinforce the Grahams' astonishing range and their proficiency in framing it with their exquisite songcraft. Of equal value is the Grahams' simultaneously released live recording, "Rattle the Hocks," and the accompanying documentary film, directed by North Mississippi All Star Cody Dickinson, definitive evidence of the duo's absolute mastery in bringing their estimable skills to any audience, any time.