by Kevin Belmonte
The better part of 30 years is long time to wait for new music from a storied band. And when it comes to a group like Sweet Comfort Band, it is only the truth to say they’ve been sorely missed. Fans throughout America, and beyond, have been eagerly awaiting their reunion album: The Waiting Is Over.
This album is everything fans might have hoped for—and then some. Rock, funk, blues, jazz, soaring ballads—it’s all here—the many facets of SCB’s signature sound. Two things to say here: Sweet Comfort Band gave us great music in the 70s and 80s – and man, have they ever delivered with The Waiting Is Over.
To listen to this album is to be reminded of so many things that make us love music in the first place—things that make us want us want to roll down the windows for a cruise in the car, bury the volume dial, and get lost in great music. Here, SCB gives us lyrics that run the gamut from stirring, reflective lines to the unfettered joy of a faith journey given by God.
* * *
To single out a favorite track from the eleven we’re treated to on The Waiting Is Over is a tall order. But if I had to pick one, that track might well be “All in God’s Hands”—a soulful, blues burner that stirs the soul more deeply, more richly with each listen. Such things are subjective, I know, but my fondness for this song is quickly coming to rival my fondness for Dobie Gray’s 70s classic, “Drift Away.” It has that kind of timeless vibe, and the talents of Bryan Duncan, Randy Thomas, and Rick Thomson come together so seamlessly here. Awesome vocals, keys, guitar and percussion—all in a healing rain of sound.
One only wishes bassist extraordinaire Kevin Thomson were here to be a part of it all. All who’ve followed “Sweet C” over the years mourn his passing in 2010. The track in tribute to him, “In the Light of Heaven,” is a beautiful close to the album. It conjures the springtime of faith, treasured memories, and points very movingly to the hope of heaven. It’s special.
* * *
The two opening tracks, “Lay It All On The Line,” and “Something Else Is Going On Here,” are as potent a one-two punch as you’ll find anywhere. Kick start rock, fantastic horns, great guitar hooks to spare, and drop-your-jaw vocals. For those not in the know, Bryan Duncan (lead vocals, keys), Randy Thomas (vocals, guitar) and Rick Thomson (vocals, drums) have few peers as musicians. When they pool their talents, there’s a magic that’s unmistakable.
For me, a track that rivals “All in God’s Hands” as a favorite is “Nothing Can Separate Us.” It’s an instantly singable, bluesy song, laden with hope. Hard times come. God can carry us, and runs to meet us when we cry out. Need to hear the good news? Give a listen here.
“Do You Love Me?” is a gorgeous acoustic ballad, with stellar guitar, Hornsby-like keys and flourishes of percussion. And when Duncan, Thomas and Thomson bring stacked harmonies to the table, as they do here, the song shimmers.
“Then I Remember,” track six, is simply beautiful. Stunning strings and piano. Lyrics that verge on poetry, bringing the listener to the place of reverence and worship. The same can be said of the album’s title track, “The Waiting Is Over.” You listen, and think: “tracks like this too seldom come our way.”
Changing pace, SCB gives us “Rock Steady” laying down a funk groove that really brings it. Killer horns, long a SCB trademark, take center stage. It’s a shout-out revival—cast in song.
“All Stand Together” fills the “Can I get a witness?” bill to a T. It’s some kind of wonderful, and get-you-to-your-feet-rock.
Like jazz? “Where Do We Go From Here” is a standout—as fine and as soulful a track as SCB ever set down in the 70s.
This album ought to make anyone’s top five list for 2013—it’s that good. Can anyone say classic?
An award-winning author, Kevin Belmonte was the lead script and historical consultant for the widely-acclaimed film, “Amazing Grace.” A lifelong musician as well, he welcomes opportunities for a change of pace to write album reviews. Best of all, by far, he is husband to Kelly, and father to Sam.