Lee Whitaker - Alabaster Jar

Published Saturday 10th November 2018
Lee Whitaker - Alabaster Jar
Lee Whitaker - Alabaster Jar

STYLE: Country
RATING 5 5 5 5 5
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 146070-26979
LABEL: Independent

Reviewed by Lins Honeyman

I'm told that New Jersey-based Lee recorded a gem of a song, "Hourglass", back in 2004 so I approached this project released by the singer/songwriter in 2013 with considerable interest. 'Alabaster Jar' delivers a number of country-tinged songs that take Scripture as their basis. For instance, Whitaker challenges us to give everything we've got to the Lord in the title track by referencing the Mark 14 story of the woman who poured expensive perfume on Jesus' feet, whilst the cod rock 'n' roll of "40 Days And Nights" tells of Jesus' wilderness temptation in cheesy but effective fashion. Elsewhere, Whitaker charts the birth of a church in his hometown of Pitman, NJ in "The Saints" whilst the "The Star Of David" is a Christmas song packed to the gunnels with sentimentality and meaning. Attempting to communicate his worthwhile message, Whitaker tends to lyrically overload his songs resulting in his delivery sounding clunky and cumbersome whilst lines like "the followers were filled with the Holy Spirit/and they spread the word for all the world to hear it" in "Lord Of Everything" gives an idea of the kind of tenuous rhyming that's found on this well-meaning but somewhat clichéd release. Whilst these songs work in a homespun kind of way, Whitaker's very wide and dominant vibrato is somewhat distracting and will certainly not be to everyone's taste. Thankfully, Whitaker has assembled a fine band of bluegrass musicians - most notably Bruce Uchitel and Tom Hampton who between them provide some star turns on banjos, mandolins, acoustic guitars and dobros - to add some panache to an otherwise so-so collection of songs.

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