Style: Folk-pop with world music; compare to Paul Simon, Mumford and Sons, Gipsy Kings
Top tracks: "Love Reclaims the Atmosphere," "Build a Wall," "Closer to the Edge"
Burlap to Cashmere burst onto the scene in the late nineties with gusto, gobs of promise, and a sound that was fresh not only in CCM, but the mainstream too. Singer/guitarist Steven Delopoulos and his cousin, lead guitarist/vocalist Johnny Philippidis, drew on their Greek heritage to blend Mediterranean touchstones with harmony-rich American folk and pop.
The New York band gained a devoted following with its rip-roaring live shows, and when Anybody Out There? released in 1998, Burlap seemed poised to become a household name. Well, the touring continued, but no new album came. Years went by. Members went their separate ways. Delopoulos recorded a couple of solo albums and played some acoustic shows with Philippidis, but over time, it seemed that Burlap was a one-and-done memory.
Now, almost 13 years since its debut album, Burlap is back, including original drummer Theodore Pagano. And guess what? This self-titled album is even better than the first.
Delopoulos quoted John 3:16 verbatim on Anybody Out There?, and he's again given Christian radio plenty of fodder, though this time the Scripture references sound less clunky. He name-drops Nehemiah on the foot-stompin' "Build a Wall," quotes Psalm 23 on "Other Country," and uses "Selah" as an interjection on "Tonight."
While the '98 album was stylistically fresh, it suffered from the heavy-handed production typical of the day—including cheesy synthesizer and arena-rock drums. The new album's natural production allows acoustic guitars to sound like acoustic guitars—an important detail since the band's world-music ...1
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