The Phantom Tollbooth July 2004
by Aaron Anderson
With no frills, no special effects and a small recording budget, the Lost Dogs
have made an album that is genuinely good, not because of some big marketing
push, not because of some high paid publicist, not because of big name musical
guests--but because of top notch song writing. The music on this project can
be best described as a mixture of acoustic rock, country, and blues. This record
is a collection of songs from the other bands with which the Lost Dogs have
been involved: The Choir, The 77s, and Daniel Amos plus one brand new song
"I'm Setting You (But Not Letting You Go)." The Dogs have brought along Steve
Hindalong to handle the percussion to help them remake these musical gems.
Matt Slocum of Sixpence None the Richer fame joins the gang to play cello.
These songs cover topics from martial love, friendships, joy of family, God's
grace, and His ultimate sacrifice on the cross. The album begins with the
beautiful "If You Want To," a very wistful rendition of this Daniel Amos
classic. The lead vocals are shared by all three of the Dogs--Mike Roe, Terry
Taylor and Derri Daughtery. The different pitches of their voices blend
wonderfully, making an intoxicating delight to the ears. The central lyric of
the song where God speaks to man and says, "We can change the world, if you
want to." The impassioned vocals of Terry Taylor during that line is the
essence of worship, very heartfelt.
Next is "The Lust, The Flesh, The Eyes and The Pride of Life," a song about
all the things that drag us away from God and sucks the life out of us, and
it touches on the consequence of this, namely an incorrect view of God being
the servant and us the master--"I see something I want and I want it now, I
don't care how much it cost me now or later." The understated percussion of
Steve Hindalong adds an exquisite touch to the harmonizing lead vocals; all
you can do is sit back, close your eyes and let the music soak into you as
you thank God for such honest music. "Like A Cloud" is a sexy song meant for
a man and his wife. The lyrics which Steve penned are prose at its best;
they convey the spiritual yearning between man and woman and do not come off
as dirty or raunchy. It is very poetic, and the stripped-down version of
this song make it even more lovely than the original version. "I want to
float you like a cloud, I drink you like a flower drinks rain" is an example
of the fine songwriting mentioned earlier.
"It's So Sad" is the lone rocker on the album. Mike Roe treats us to his world
famous "boogie woogie" music. The message of the song is that life without God
is pointless, some will die not believing this truth, and it's so sad. This
song has a nice rockabilly, bluesy feel to it; it sounds best played loud in
a car with the windows down. It's easy to tell that the "old dawgs" enjoyed
jamming to this song, and it sounds so tight and full of so much energy that
listeners will be hard pressed to not get out of their seats and dance around
like a chicken that's being electrocuted. "Ain't Gonna Fight It," originally
released in 1976, is turned into a serene musical excursion through God's love
and His eternal promises to us. Some songs are timeless, and this is certainly
one of them. Listening to this composition, one can be sure this tune came to
us directly from the throne room of God.
Without a doubt the highlight of this album is "Beautiful Scandalous Night,"
arguably one of the best prayers ever written. Mike Roe takes over on lead
vocals and delivers a mesmerizing performance. "You carried the sin of the
world on Your back, and the sky turned black" strips away the romanticism of
Christ's death and reduces it to the nitty gritty truth that it was an horrific
event that forever redeemed us, so we no longer have to be mutts, we can be now
be called children of the Most High. This is the message of this album from start
to finish. Do yourself a favor and go buy this album, put it in your CD player
and prepare to be blown away by the perfect marriage of art and faith.
Crosswalk.com October 29, 2004
by Aaron Anderson
The Lost Dogs are dedicated explorers of American roots music; but on its new "Mutt" album, these three united artists (Terry Taylor, Derri Daugherty and Mike Roe) have reconnected with the roots closest to the tree, so to speak.
Instead of creating an album of all new tracks, these established singer/songwriters have chosen to re-record a set of their other bands' familiar and unfamiliar songs.
For instance, Mike Roe (77s) sings lead on The Choir's "To Cover You," Derri Daugherty (The Choir) revisits Daniel Amos' "Ain't Gonna Fight It" (which he once sang in his dad's church as a high schooler!), and Terry Taylor (Daniel Amos) adds his voice of experience to Roe's "The Lust, the Flesh, the Eyes and the Pride of Life."
Steve Hindalong (The Choir, "City on a Hill" series) helped produce this album along with the trio itself and created a recording that retains a mostly quiet and acoustic aural quality. One exception to this rule, however, is a new take on the old 77s' song, "It's So Sad," which has been revved up with unbridled rockabilly power for this unique release. And speaking of new things, there's also one fresh Taylor/Hindalong composition, "I'm Setting You Free (But I'm Not Letting You Go)," which addresses the heartache associated with watching children grow up and leave the nest.
Don't be misled by this CD's title because it's the mixed breeding that makes this release so special.