Started over 25 years ago, and named after Graham Guest’s fifth-generation grandfather, Moses Guest is a Texas-based band that has shared the stage with several high-profile acts including Moe., Steve Miller Band, JGB, Willie Nelson, Los Lobos, Leftover Salmon, String Cheese Incident, Robert Bradley’s Blackwater Surprise, Jayhawks, Lisa Loeb, Colonel Bruce Hampton & the Fiji Mariners to name a few. Frontman Graham Guest states of the new single “I wrote ‘Light’ in Summer/Fall 2015. It came to me right along with ‘Black Road’. My daughter, Edie (9 years old) helped me with it a lot, telling me to keep certain parts and get rid of others. It’s about the all-too-common (at least for me) experience of being really excited about something or someone, then thinking that thing or person is maybe not cool at all, and finally thinking there just no way to be sure.”
The single “Light”, is followed by an album of the same name. The record marks the line-up’s twentieth anniversary and is their first album release since 2007’s “Best Laid Plans”. Moses Guest sounds like the type of band that makes its best music in a live setting, no small feat when you consider the impressive run of studio recordings the group has under its formidable belt. All the hallmarks of the band’s groove-inflected vibes, the extended instrumental passages during which everyone lays back and lets things happen, the sense that anything can happen, and as the old adage goes, is lurking in every note the “Light” album. And Moses Guest has never sounded better nor more relaxed.
The band shines especially bright on “Dawn”, a number that also features some especially lyrical guitar work. There, as on the slow burners “Free”, “California” and the swinging “Empty Hall”, that demands our attention. The whole band also tilts our world on rhythmically grooving tracks such “Light out of Me”, “Silverton” and “Black Road”, providing us with a welcome reprieve from the morose musical meanderings that too often populate the world these days.
There are times when Moses Guest calls to mind Traffic at the peak of its powers and at other times Phish, yet this collective is never less than its own band, capable of remarkable and transcendent moments that, in this case, span the whole stretch of an album. That’s especially true on the searing “Silverton”, where the band scorches everything in its wake in the space of just over five minutes.
Rick Thompson (keys, vocals), Jeremy Horton (bass), James Edwards (drums, vocals) and Graham Guest (guitar, vocals), better known as Moses Guest, has a heartwarming and earthy foundation to them, which dispenses an atmosphere of familiar welcoming.
This is a fine lineup for a band that has delivered yet another fine album, and one that we can only hope we don’t have to wait another ten years to see the likes of. In the meantime, however, we’ll take the all the recordings on “Light”, because surely a group playing as great as this one is right now, will leave us with plenty to remember for a while.