After “retiring” from posting articles online (i.e. blogging) in January, I felt the pull to return earlier this month with Alex Lifeson’s new band, then for his old band and now with planned releases from a few old school favorites coming, why not dial it back a bit for the year and stick around.
Perhaps for good reason.
Word trickled out about the forthcoming live album release from my new favorite local band. Indeed, Athey Music dropped Goodness & Mercy (Live) today which encapsulates the band’s three-night album release concerts in December. Athey Music is a collective of musicians led by brother and sister Brooke and Joey Meador along with Peter Elliott. Born from Athey Creek Christian Fellowship, the same church Kutless emerged from more than 20 years ago, the band released their debut album Goodness & Mercy last year to critical acclaim.
Some say, Drew why do you like Athey Music so much?
Though my love for music expands decades, few bands have managed to stir my soul in the manner I get from Athey Music and for an entire album. But I digress. Now remember. I try to feature reviews of bands you’ll probably never read about in your local newspaper. So then you might say…
Perhaps because they are local? Maybe. Portland has produced a number of popular bands over the years but few I listen to. Ah! You champion emerging artists with a fantastic debut album. Could be. Wait a second. You know them. Nope, never met. OK, here’s the deal. I think – now listen – it’s more about seeing (make that listening to) a group of individuals answering the call and fully rising to the potential of their God-given talent.
Goodness & Mercy (Live) begins with the first two cuts off the studio album before switching things up a bit from the original track list then closing with two previously released singles “The King Is Here” and “Come All Ye Broken.” The 14-song, hour long Goodness & Mercy (Live) completely captures the essence of the studio version proving, whether live or (is it) Memorex, Athey Music might help usher in a new genre of Christian rock and pop that resonates with the lost and emboldens the saved.
The Meadors and Elliott sound no different than their studio selves (each sing the songs they themselves penned), and the recording – like a good live album should – captures some rawness even if losing some of the subtle musical tones evident on the studio version, a little bit of edge and an obvious joy of performing from the three along with their backing band. Be that as it may, the song structures don’t stray from the original album, apart from a couple of breakout guitar solos here and there along with a pleasingly executed harmonica at the end of “He Is Good,” thus keeping the fundamental nature the three intended.
Though not overly complicated (the band includes video tutorials of their songs on their website), the melodies and vocal strengths displayed on Goodness & Mercy which fully cross over to the live album, display a mastery of arranging songs into delectable ear candy. Truly, truly I say to you, the original album remains on seemingly continual autoplay in the car but Goodness & Mercy (Live) is only available via streaming or download purchase. So, I’ll have to figure something out to take this album on the go.
My only complaint? The crowd fade out at the end of each song should have flowed into the next to let the album play out as a concert. And, why oh why! did you not include the stunning “The King Is Here,” sung by Brooke Meador, on the studio version? Goodness & Mercy just might have broken into the Top 3 Best Albums of 2021.
Well. All that to say…
Athey Music Goodness & Mercy (Live) Songs:
- Gimme a Hallelujah
- Our Great Hope
- All I Need
- He Is Good
- So Very Good
- Closer Than a Brother
- Not Alone
- Never Far Away
- Fill My Cup
- The King Is Here
- Come All Ye Broken