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TRACEY EVISON: 'I Know a Ghost’ offers much to enjoy

This is a detail of Crowder’s new album, “I Know a Ghost”.
This is a detail of Crowder’s new album, “I Know a Ghost”. - Contributed

It’s funny. Most people, as they get older, get more stuck in their tastes and habits.

For me, in some ways, that’s true. When it comes to music, however, I get to listen to different artists, and I’m finding I am able to find something I like in all of them.

The latest release by Crowder, “I Know a Ghost”, has many things about it to enjoy.

Released by Sixstep Records/Capitol Music, “I Know a Ghost” was produced by quite a collection of talent, including Hank Bentley, Ed Cash, Brendon Coe, David Crowder, Solomon Olde and Tommee Profitt, along with executive producers Louie and Shelley Giglio and Brad O’Donnell.

The 16 tracks fall primarily in what Crowder calls his own “infraredneck” style, a truly eclectic vibe which morphs techno-pop with hillbilly banjo and country music.

The album opens with the title track, “I Know a Ghost”. Crowder sings of his salvation and says, “Now I know a ghost.”

“Wildfire” opens with a soulful harmonica and continues with a true bluegrass sound. Crowder’s imagery uses a wildfire to picture the way God’s spirit burns within believers. “Golgatha Hill (King of Love)” is a mournful, acoustic tune that depicts the sorrow of the crucifixion and, then, the victory of the resurrection.

“Crushing Snakes” has very intense rhythmic undertones as Crowder sings of the freedom the Christian can have from fear:

“Our battle has been won/ we have been liberated/ Back from the dead, we’ve come.”

“Red Letters” is much more contemporary in its style, and its triumphant refrain speaks to the power the words of Jesus have on the listener: “Then I read the red letters/ And the ground began to shake/ The prison walls started falling/ And I became a free man that day.” Mandisa is the guest vocalist on “Let it Rain (Is There Anybody)”, a more upbeat pop number that speaks of our need of God. “Let it rain, let it pour/Lord, I need You more and more.”

One of my favourite tracks on this project is the joyful country/bluegrass tune, “Everyday I’m Blessed.” The joy that fills this song is entirely contagious, and Crowder is more than willing to share his exuberance: “Yea, though I walk through the shadow of death/ He is there and I ain’t scared/ I’m blessed…. Everyday I’m blessed.”

“I’m Leaning on You” (featuring Riley Clemmons) is a simple tune of faith. The heartfelt lyric is supported by a sweet melody and simple acoustic accompaniment.

This album’s tracks are all well-written and performed. Crowder has the ability to blend several genres in a way that makes it seem as if pop/bluegrass and digital have always been together. The result is a master of mood and instrumentation.

I have truly found much to love in Crowder’s “I Know a Ghost.” I would recommend it to anyone.

Tracey Evison, a musician and educator on P.E.I., writes this column for The Guardian every second Saturday. She can be contacted by email at trevorandtracey@pei.sympatico.ca.

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