Monday, February 17, 2014

Amasa Hines debut "All The World There Is"

Amasa Hines' debut record, All The World There Is, has a lot of expectations it has to live up to. In the four years the group has been playing, Amasa Hines has established a reputation as one of the best live bands in the region. The band's performances, often augmented by a full horn section, are incredibly tight. Lead singer, Joshua Asante, has a soulful magnetism that commands attention even in the tenderest moments. Ryan Hitt's bass guitar anchors each song, providing the perfect melodic counterpoint without over playing. Judson Spillyard's guitar playing is liquid, with currents you can float on like a river.

Wonderfully, all the best qualities of the band's live performances translated to its recorded work. Shades of vintage funk and soul, 60's jazz, and afrobeat add color and dimension to the music, projecting a sound that is modern, but with a sense of its history. But, the band does much more than simply recreate its live performances on the record. All The World There Is sports lavish production values. The time and attention the band took to make this record is evident in every song. Layered vocal harmonies, full horn sections, and strings gild the edges of each meticulously crafted song.

The record is as emotionally resonant as it is musically. Betrayal, anger, loss, renewal, longing, the pull between the physical and the spiritual, the past and the future, all of these feelings play against each other over the course of the record. One can almost tease out a story, each song comprising its own chapter of the narrative. Taken as a whole, All The World There Is is an ambitious, original, and complex collection of songs that belies the limited resources used to make it.

All The World There Is is available on CD at the band's shows and at Arkansas CD and Record Exchange, and digitally on iTunes and CDBaby. Vinyl copies will be available soon. Contact or follow Amasa Hines on Facebook.