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Is Anybody Out There?
     

Is Anybody Out There?

by Garnet Mimms
 
At 75, Garnet Mimms is singing better than ever. The proof is all over Is Anybody Out There?, produced and arranged by Nashville's Jon Tiven. Tiven wrote or co-wrote 13 of the album's 15 tunes. He recorded the set in his home studio with wife Sally Tiven on bass, pianist Mark Jordan, and a host of

Overview

At 75, Garnet Mimms is singing better than ever. The proof is all over Is Anybody Out There?, produced and arranged by Nashville's Jon Tiven. Tiven wrote or co-wrote 13 of the album's 15 tunes. He recorded the set in his home studio with wife Sally Tiven on bass, pianist Mark Jordan, and a host of drummers, including Chester Thompson. For his part, Tiven played guitar, saxophones, sitar, and harmonica. Jonell Mosser, Wayne Jackson, choirmaster Shake Anderson, Greg Morrow, Billy Block, Patti Russo, Felix Cavaliere, Buddy Miller, Little Milton Campbell, and P.F. Sloan all guest. But the real story is Mimms. The material is all retro soul-gospel and leaves his previous solo gospel outing in the dust. His calling these days is one of a preacher who counsels prisoners, and in the grain of his beautiful voice is the world-weariness of a man who has traveled many of life's roads but whose hope is unvanquished; in fact, it's firmly intact. Tiven is clearly not interested in having Mimms sound like a museum piece. He goes to great lengths to place his voice in songs that are deeply rooted in Southern soul, blues, and gospel. That said, sometimes it feels like his production goes to extremes. While there are no samplers or drum loops, playing near baroque sitar on some of the album's best songs -- like "Let Your Love Rain" -- can initially be a jarring experience, where it feels as if an alien presence has invaded the recording. Thankfully, Mimms' voice brings the listener right back and shows that everything is basically where it should be. This doesn't feel like a retro record because Tiven's ideas about how to make soul records have changed substantially since he worked with the late Wilson Pickett. There are times when he feels as if he's channeling T Bone Burnett and Jeff Lynne simultaneously, but there is enough grit in his studio sound to shake any perceived excesses. Mimms responds, and that's all that matters. Listen to his voice on "Sweet Silence," where he hits every note, accentuating the drama in its narrative, and reflects on what is essential in gospel music: the sense of joy and gratitude, of worship that is rooted in the soil and dust but aspires to the glory of heaven. Check the scorching funky blues riffing in the title track and the way Mimms scales the wall of noise to express the tension in the narrative. This is a modern psalm in a time of trouble, and Mimms is the modern day David whose heart is heavy but holding close to the rock of his faith. In "On Top of This Mountain," Mimms gets into a wildly expressive upper register atop a veritable wall of backing voices and reverbed guitars and percussion. It's a hymn but it's also a proclamation of strength, grace, and devotion that knows the very heart of what he's singing about. The funky horns in "Love Is the Reason," which follows it, portrays Mimms effortlessly reaching deep into his belly to let that aforementioned joy become a question, one that only each individual listener can answer. With Is Anybody Out There?, Reverend Mimms, aided by Tiven and his coconspirators, has offered up one of the great surprises of 2008, an album so skillfully wrought and deeply expressive that it cannot help to inspire nearly otherworldly emotions in the listener.

Product Details

Release Date:
07/01/2008
Label:
Evidence
UPC:
0730182613629
catalogNumber:
26136

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Garnet Mimms   Primary Artist
P.F. Sloan   Acoustic Guitar,Background Vocals,Guest Appearance
Chester Thompson   Drums
Karen Anderson   Choir, Chorus
Billy Block   Drums
Milton Campbell   Guitar,Guest Appearance
Felix Cavaliere   Organ,Guest Appearance
Wayne Jackson   Trombone,Trumpet
Mark T. Jordan   Piano
Craig Krampf   Drums
Buddy Miller   Guitar,Vocal Harmony,Guest Appearance
Greg Morrow   Drums
Jonell Mosser   Background Vocals
Jon Tiven   Organ,Guitar,Harmonica,Percussion,Alto Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone,Sitar
Sally Tiven   Bass
Sam "Shake" Anderson   Bass,Choir, Chorus,Choir Master,Guest Appearance
Patti Russo   Background Vocals
Percy Metcalf   Choir, Chorus
Kenneth "Scat" Springs   Background Vocals
Willa Young   Choir, Chorus
Rachael Roberts   Choir, Chorus

Technical Credits

Marty Brown   Composer
P.F. Sloan   Composer
Gregg Wright   Vocal Engineer
Dan Penn   Composer
Milton Campbell   Composer
Felix Cavaliere   Composer
Spooner Oldham   Composer
Jon Tiven   Composer,Producer,Engineer
Jack Pearson   Composer
Charlie Feldman   Composer
Sally Tiven   Composer
Kenneth "Scat" Springs   Composer

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