Back Door Preacher Man
First Appeared in The Music Box, April 1999, Volume 6, #4
Written by John Metzger
Fans of the hard-edged, fan-favorite, alternative-rock group Sister Double Happiness might be somewhat surprised by the direction that front man Gary Floyd took on his latest endeavor Back Door Preacher Man. After the San Francisco-based group disbanded in 1995, he departed for Europe where he learned to play harmonica and focused on a low-key solo career, and this collection from Innerstate Records compiles selections from Floyd’s four acoustic-oriented European efforts, making at least portions of these outings available in the United States for the first time.
Without a doubt, the biggest drawback to Back Door Preacher Man is its enormous 72-minute length. Trimmed down to something more manageable, this might have been a flawless release from Floyd. However, in an effort to cram as much music as possible onto the disc, the result is a somewhat bloated affair. Throughout the album, Floyd mixes a variety of original material with traditional folk and blues standards, all of which are designed to showcase his exquisite vocal prowess. His backing band features Sister Double Happiness guitarist Danny Roman and incorporates a wide range of sounds from violin and mandolin to slide guitar and a horn section.
Floyd and his band are at their best in a more country-oriented format like on the self-penned More than a Lifetime or their superb rendition of Willie Nelson’s Angel Flying too Close to the Ground. The passion and conviction conveyed in Floyd’s articulation is truly remarkable as his voice glides effortlessly over the organic musings of his ensemble. His fans can only hope that with Back Door Preacher Man, Floyd will once again resume touring in the United States.
1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 1999 The Music Box