The Fort Cafe seems a strange choice of venue for the launch of an album so subversive as The Black Valley Gospel’s inaugural, self-titled offering. But on Saturday night, David Chenery’s latest project is set to release their extended musical meditation on the devil himself within the narrow confines of a cafe more accustomed to belching the sweet aroma of saffron and other aromatic spices than a scent so sulfurous and sweaty as that to which Black Valley Gospel has claimed as their most reliable muse; ironically, the pairing is destined for Heaven, not Hell.
Chenery’s no Satanist, and he’s certainly no agnostic. Instead of adhering to such outdated dualism, Chenery’s vantage-point is decidedly pre-romantic. Like Milton before him, Chenery casts Satan as a multifaceted character, an updated and more sophisticated rendering of a cartoon sketch so prominent in contemporary Evangelical culture. Chenery’s devil is evil, but he is also kind; Satan inspires a thousand songs, a portion of which made it onto Black Valley Gospel’s first LP. In the context of Black Valley Gospel, Satan plays a dual role of demon and saint.
A complex, and confusing musical swirl ensues: Black Valley Gospel, plays a dual role of white-light sister to The Black Keys’ ongoing juvenilia while engaging the part of dark brother to the White Stripes’ syrupy sound. Fans of Chenery’s past work as well as the uninitiated will both writhe a bliss-laden squirm. Come see for yourselves, they’ll probably sign a CD or two.