I can honestly say that what little bit of high-brow culture I might have ever received when it came music came under the tutelage of my high school Concert Choir teacher, Mrs. Caldwell. In those years, my warped little mind was exposed to the classics by Bach, Handel and Wagner. To this day, I can remember Mrs. C instructing us on the exact pronunciation of words like “excelsis” or how to punch out the notes in much of Handel’s Messiah.
So, when I come across some new music that bridges the gap between my highfalutin edumication and rock and roll, I’m a happy camper. Nothing blends the two together better in recent days than Gregorian Rock Gregorian Rock by San Antonio citizen, Roland Dale Benedict.
The album is an adventurous, innovative work blending Gregorian chants with rock and even reggae.
For instance, regarding Gregorian meets Reggae, the song, Hands Up, incorporates some great Jamaican rhythms that would’ve made Keith Richards stand up and take notice. Oh, and it wasn’t lost on me that the song closes with an cool instrumental line from I Surrender All. This tune ranks as one of the three randomly selected Boomerocity favorites from this album.
Another favorite is Saeculum. The tune puts me in mind of Mr. Mister’s Kyrie Eleison . . . ‘cept on steroids. Driving, steady, and hard, the song will hook into your cranium and stay there until it’s good and ready to let go of you. Pat Neil’s guitar work is flat out wicked . . . in a sanctified way, of course. The fusion heard in this song reflects some of the University of North Texas education that is foundational to Benedict’s style.
The uber smooth, New Agey sounding Soli Deo Gloria is both soothing and disturbing in its sound. What I’d give to hear this one performed live at a gig! Yeah, it’s that good!
All ten songs on Gregorian Rock are keepers, each one being worth the price of the CD. I’d encourage you to purchase this project if you’re appreciative of blended styles of music and love hearing something new and eclectic. This CD will not disappoint!