The New York band Burlap To Cashmere took the Christian music scene by storm in 1998 with an award-winning album hailed as the best of the year. Then they disappeared, only to resurface now with a self-titled project that is garnering rave reviews in the mainstream press. The group has been featured on NPR, and American Songwriter magazine called leader Steven Delopoulos "the first truly great songwriter of this century."
The group's mostly acoustic sound is eclectic, drawing on global influences that include Greek folk music. The closest equivalent on the modern scene may be the band Mumford and Sons, but listeners with good musical memories will find even more resonance with artists like Harry Chapin and Cat Stevens.
Delopoulos' songs wed multicultural melodies to postmodern poetry: lines and images from the songs weave their way into one's consciousness like snippets from a dream. Those bits and pieces aren't only compelling but, often, contain biblical allusions and other hints of cryptic spirituality.
Moving from song to song, we hear about transcending glory, the salt of the earth, walking on water, a prophet in the land, "Selah, Selah," and Nehemiah building a wall.
It is at least an interesting trip, and the music is excellent. For those who make it to the end, the album concludes with a fairly straightforward gospel song about "The Other Country": a "shining city" beyond this earthly one where the bride and groom are joined and pharaohs no longer threaten. The images here are pretty clear (if not, ask your pastor).
See also Burlap to Cashmere's website.
© 2014 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers