Sackcloth Fashion
Lone Flower

Several strides ahead of their time, and throwing musical caution to the wind, Sackcloth Fashion has always been about musical and lyrical freedom, defying stylisting boundaries while remaing true to their love of hip hop, of scripture and of the personal one-on-one relationship that Jesus offers.

CDLone Flower is their best project yet, and that’s saying alot. Production is stepped up several notches and the entire project is invigorating, injecting doses of fun, hilarity and Truth.

The Sackcloth Fashion fivesome (Byron Musser, Steve Trudeau, Brandon Musser, Tim Trudeau, Kaitlyn Cassels) open with the title cut, a composition that puts the focus squarely on new life, on rebirth from stench, setting the lyrical scene for what is to come.

From there, they go on to explain their modus operandi on “Strange Chemistry”, addressing their unique sound, their unusual fusion of hard head-nod hip hop, edgy folk, harmonious pop (and a touch of everything else under the sun), and acknowleding that not everyone ‘gets them’, either musically or spiritually.

Like they say, ‘this mix is deadly like ammonia and bleach”. But in a good way.

The project expands to include another Tonex collaboration with Tim Trudeau (the duo worked wonders on the smash “Dancing In The Son” from the Nureau innovator’s O2 album). They make it work again on with “Take My Sin”, a bright and sunny piece with deep organic track that drops it into
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sprightly funk territory. Featuring Steve Trudeau's rap flows, and with organ and guitar, hip hop and soul, Tim Trudeau and Tonex, this neo-psalm that cries out to God for forgiveness, knowing that He always honors a broken and a contrite spirit, is unforgettable, and an album highlight.

“Brain Freeze” is one of those straight-up fun joints, a fast-paced recollection of childhood playground anecdotes so accessible and so wide in appeal that it’s like they actually become your own. Cassels’ joyous and wordless vocal play sparkles in the background as she adds her flava to the hip hop.

On the opposite side of the musical spectrum is “Leaning”, very acoustic, awash in guitar and flowing with several solo voices weaving in and out, plus some good harmonies before subtly switching to focus on some superb guitar work from guest Marcos Curiel of POD. The song is based on the hymn “Leaning On The Everlasting Arms” and demonstrates just how versatile Sackcloth Fashion can be.

There’s more too. Toss in the accessible “Summit of Angels” with guitar and scratches, the high octane rap flows on the atmospheric “I Sigh” and the ode to grace with Cassels prominent in vocals on “Something Else” and you see just how rich is the soil of Lone Flower.

Blasting your stereotypes and sidestepping pigeon holes is only some of what Sackcloth Fashion is all about. Their Lone Flower project is above all mastery in righteous hip hop.

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Producers: Sackcloth Fashion
album release date: June 3, 2003
Syntax Records

— review by Stan North

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