David Smith reviews...

David Smith reviews...

Our first LibraryThing review has arrived and it is terrific. Read the whole thing on the LT website, but here are a few snippets:

"Cards on the table: This is a great book. No point burying the lede. Metzger dives right in in medias res, and throughout the book his descriptions of Sacred Harp gatherings (in which participants, sitting in a square, sing simple, vigorous four-part songs roughly halfway between hymns and folk music) are vivid and direct. The unsentimental, warts-and-all, salt-of-the-earth approach he takes is a perfect match for the untrained, unrefined nature of the Sacred Harp tradition itself. I was vaguely aware that this kind of music existed, and this is a really good book through which to explore it in more detail..."

"While well-researched and knowledgeable, it's not scholarly, and it doesn't pretend to be. It's a series of vignettes, pithy chapter-ettes in roughly chronological order, charting the author's own quarter-century relationship with Sacred Harp..."

"My favourite element of all is the way Metzger's commitment to the subject material matches the participants' approach to their singing. Early on he recounts a long-standing Sacred Harp singer's advice that singing hard – 'unstinting, not holding anything back' – is the key element, rather than singing well or correctly. And the book reflects that. Metzger tells his tale hard and doesn't hold back."

"There's so much good in this book. Underneath it's really a love-letter to a tradition that many might call quirky or quaint or even cultish, but whose appeal short-circuits the thinking parts of the brain and grabs you by the primitive monkey cortex...."

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