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Spotlight on: Momentary prophets

by Sarah Hall
shall@salisburypost.com
“Everyone has moments of epiphany” says Jake Hull of the band Momentary Prophets. “We all have that capacity.”
“But few of us have the ability to retain brilliance. It’s fleeting,” adds bandmate Ted Packard. “Even naming ourselves involved insight. It became a tool for realizing ourselves more, and for making our shows revelatory for audiences.”
These prophets seem unconcerned about fame and fortune, or packing a venue. Their goal of communing with each audience member and interacting with their listeners makes their performance well-suited to intimate groups in smaller rooms. Although, the crowds have been growing along with their popularity as more and more are drawn in and latching on to the good karma.
If they play in front of a large festival crowd, that’s a good thing. But if only a few show up at a venue for their show, they see that as an opportunity to get to know each listener and get them involved in the performance.
A jam session during their freshman year at Virginia’s Christopher Newport University initiated the collaboration between Jake and Ted as they instantly hit it off musically and philosophically.
They also became known as the “tie-dyed kids” around campus because their shared interest in geometric design and color combination as a means of expression led to complementary wardrobes.
The Momentary Prophets are bringing their scintillating sound, colorful creations and positive vibe to Salisbury this Saturday for a show and exhibition starting 8:30 p.m. at Looking Glass Artist Collective.
This is a stop on their tour to promote their first full-length CD, “Sunflower,” named for the plant that serves as an ecowarrior, sucking up heavy metals in the soil through the process of bioremediation. The Momentary Prophets like to think of their music as “audioremediation,” “advancing what music can be” says Ted.
Logan Byrd joined their circle recently, further grounding them with his upright bass, and taking turns on guitar, hand drum and vocals.
The list of instruments Ted and Jake perform sound like a musical journey around the world: guitar, ukulele, banjo, kalimba, sitar, singing drum. But the trip they take you on is a journey into our soul, not far away.
“Sunflower” is organically inspired by the plant world along with the Prophets’ fascination with geometry and color, revealed in titles like “Dogwood Blossom,” “Baobab,” “Grass and Moss,” and “Point Your Lotus to the Sky.”
A philosophy of “make art, not war” comes to the fore in the hypnotic “Fools Beneath the Sun” and the song “It’s Better Than Killing People.”
A standout on the album is “Little Bird,” where a simply beautiful folk guitar accompaniment upholds vocals that swoop and glide like the song’s feathered inspiration.
The hand drum-driven “Last Dance” provides some agitated moments amid the album’s predominantly mellow mood, and is another pinnacle among high points on the CD.
The Momentary Prophets’ unplugged sound is a musical oasis in an over-amplified music scene. If you think hype and flash are to music what pollutants are to soil, then give Momentary Prophets a chance to perform a little audioremediatin’ on your ears.
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The Lightning Bugs, playing acoustic world and folk music, will open for Momentary Prophets this Saturday. The show starts at 8:30 p.m. at Looking Glass Artist Collective, 405 N. Lee St.
There will also be an exhibit of tie-dye creations by Momentary Prophets, and the Looking Glass shop will be open.
Admission is $5 at the door. This is an all ages show.
For more information, contact salisburyartists@gmail.com or call 704-633-ARTS (2787).

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