"The eight tracks here are protracted and whisper-quiet yet engaging, with a constant tug of sorrow that satisfies..Rogai exhales poignant lyrics and juggles elegant instrumentation with a revolving cast that includes members of Man Man and Rachel's..Fans of Iron & Wine and ilk would be wise to prick up their ears." - Harp Magazine
"Eight tracks of delicate beauty" - Pitchforkmedia.com
"The melodies are exquisite, as delivered by an impressive array of strings, percussion, and Rogai’s own direct, unforced vocals...This is a band that more than deserves its growing acclaim." - Pop Matters
"Rogai has a gift for speaking plainly while tonguing poetry, and his meditations on life cycles and pastoral philosophy blossom and collapse with organic grace...Contributions from Man Man, Rachel's and Hella might draw people in to Holy Birth, but Rogai's cloudless crystalline vision will keep them." - A.V. Club (The Onion)
The songs of Lewis & Clarke are medicinal, meditative, and trance-inducing. They wind along lengthy lines of chamber folk, full of bows and bells, aphorisms and dreamy dreams. Both literally and figuratively, Blasts of Holy Birth is about being born and re-born.
Eve Miller and Russell Higbee join the folds of nylon-string guitar, harp, keyboard, horns, strings, and drums, with Lou Rogai, the voice and vision, with arms of friends draped in the name Lewis & Clarke.
Rogai is a pastoralist, a rat-race expatriate, an old-soul musician who chose to live more deliberately with his family under the eaves of mountain trees in Pennsylvania's Delaware Water Gap. It is a community distant to the big city's pace, but close enough for gigs and recording sessions with his city-folk colleagues. Among them are Russell Higbee (harp, keys) of Man Man and Eve Miller of Rachel's (cello) who, too, embrace the exploration of sinewy eastern melody and unaffected compassion called Lewis & Clarke.
"A profound work of earthy, orchestrated new-folk, Blasts Of Holy Birth raises the bar for both listeners and players in search of evolution in roots-oriented music. Meshing gorgeously hushed melodies and plucked guitars with baroque string arrangements and ethereal pulses and surges, Lewis & Clarke ( a.k.a. Del. Water Gap's Lou Rogai) has crafted a transcendent work of epic proportions. Themed around the birthing experience, the album moves in tidal breaths through meditative and hazy soundscapes, delicate minimalism, and goose bump inducing chamber sections. An expose of grace, beauty, peril, triumph, and the interconnectivity of all things - musically and lyrically, it's really that good." - Impose Magazine
In Delaware Water Gap, one can tune in to vibrations that only exist in certain areas. It is here that Rogai, with his family, took to nest in an antiquated dwelling within earshot of an historic jazz landmark: tuned in, turned on, and just far enough away from the rattle of the rest of the world.
Blasts of Holy Birth was written not with the usual pen-in-hand love-lost scribbles that song scribes commonly sing; here are celebrations, hand-in-hand, of life's travails and joys!
Lewis & Clarke songs are long and unhurried life lessons, believed and still unveiling truths, to himself and his son, who was months away from LIFE: Day One while this album was being composed. The only piece here not written by Rogai, "Comfort Inn", is by his friend, Aaron Ross, the CA mountain dweller and singer of Hella. Ross was awaiting the birth of his daughter during same time that Rogai expected his son, and so it only fit that they share in each other's song.
Over the last few years, Lewis & Clarke have toured and performed with Isobel Campbell (Belle & Sebastian), Blur, Robyn Hitchcock, Joan of Arc, Okkervil River, Mi & L'au, The Black Swans and other contemporaries.
And as is the case with good artists and smart adults, it is through big change and artistic redemption that we re-learn who we really are. And as the meat of life is inseparable from the weight of song, Lewis & Clarke's heavy-duty beauty, Blasts of Holy Birth, is born.
"Lewis & Clarke has carved out its own niche thanks to the lush arrangements of its debut, 2005's "Bare Bones and Branches." - Billboard Magazine
"A whisper of an album, lovely without being precious, moody without being beleaguering." - No Depression
"Lou Rogai, who records under the name Lewis & Clarke, artfully mixes his multi-layered vocal tracks with finger-picked acoustic guitar, Hammond organ, Rhodes piano, and lap steel." - Acoustic Guitar World
"A gifted newcomer" - Magnet
"The mystical side of (Lewis and Clarke) is heightening...thoughtful, lightly philosophical, exploratory folk with a rustic, natural-world mood." - Erasing Clouds
"Elements of eastern instrumentation blend with acoustic plucking, sounding at once exotic and accessible, ala Macha on morphine" - Stereogum
"A set of melodies that achieve a haunting beauty, perhaps most defined by its cohesiveness; it is more than a collection of songs, each listen unearths a new layer." - Lost At Sea
"This is an album you simply must own." - Smother.net
"A pure music experience that whispers half-remembered truths to the soul, as Rogai easily soars above so-called "acid folk"/"freak folk" conventions by exhibiting amazing clarity and a sense of spaciousness in his songs... striking in its authenticity and ability to convey empathy and even inspiration. It is gentle and wild, an abundant feast of simple fare that nourishes the heart." - The Morning Call
"Full of gentle drones of bowed cello(courtesy of former Rachels member Eve Miller), ripples of plucked harp strings (by Russell Higbee of Man Man), slow-motion cascades of horns and synths, and existential rhythms of tabla and trap-kit snare, all tied together in patient, sophisticated arrangements that highlight Rogai's spiritually inquisitive lyrics and quietly demonstrative vocals." - Athens Flagpole
"Kaleidoscopic layering over sophisticated lines, the rosy folk songs within are tasteful, only bordering on sentimental, and graciously free of pretense...reverent, almost hymnal in quality." - The Aquarian Weekly
"An intelligent revelatory light into the heart of life and love" - Detroit Metro Times
Lewis & Clarke Live!
Oct 24 2007 Mercury Lounge, New York, NY w/ Tunng
Nov 16 2007 First Unitarian Church Philadelphia, PA w/ The Black Swans
"Blasts of Holy Birth" Tracklist:
1. Secret Of The Golden Flower
2. Blasts Of Holy Birth
3. Comfort Inn
4. Before It Breaks You
5. Black Doves
6. Crimson Carpets
7. We Think We Have Eyes
8. Be The Air We Breathe
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