CD Review – William Pilgrim & The All Grows Up “The Great Recession”
The debut album from William Pilgrim & The All Grows Up is a testament to the power of music and to the resiliency of the human spirit. The Great Recession blends blues, roots, and a touch of gospel with a wide-open rock beat and a finger-snapping swing. Frontman Ish Herring has a bluesy voice that sounds much older, more worldly than his less than 30 years. And there’s a good reason for that.
The genesis of William Pilgrim & The All Grows Up is a story that is at least as compelling as the music itself. You just know that any band that names itself after a Kurt Vonnegut character has got to have something interesting to say.
William Pilgrim & The All Grows Up was born in Los Angeles when singer-songwriter/producer PM Romero answered an ad for musical collaboration from a homeless musician, Ish Herring. As the child of a drug-addicted mother and a broken home, Herring had been shuffled around from foster home to foster home until finally finding himself living on the streets of New Orleans and then LA. Having always found comfort and meaning in music, and having taught himself guitar, piano and drums, he placed an ad offering vocal services for hire. That ad led to the collaboration with PM Romero, from which the band was born.
The Great Recession addresses questions that stem from Herring’s life, questions of social alienation, disenfranchisement, and free will. But there’s hope in the big swinging vibe, and in the gloriously hopeful touches like the hand-clapping gospel choir that takes things home on songs like Farewell and Beautiful. This is an impressive debut album, filled with songs that have you bopping your head and singing along, while reaching for your battered old copy of Slaughterhouse Five.