Nashville pedal steel player Luke Schneider categorizes his music as “new age” far more comfortably than this reviewer might. The genre (think ambient, with incense sticks rather than glow sticks) is justly derided as flavourless froth with pretensions to profundity. Perhaps the new age Schneider’s thinking of is the recent chapter in his own life, which culminates in the majestic and spiritually medicinal Altar of Harmony.
A former garage rocker and an in-demand session player, Schneider’s battle with the bottle came to a frightening crescendo in 2014, while on a tour alongside The Black Lips. Coming to in an emergency room tends to be taken as a hint from the universe. Schneider has lived the struggles of a recovering addict since then, keeping sober and committing to creative activities that will keep his demons at bay, and make room for the incoming light. Musician, heal thyself.
This is surely why Altar of Harmony is more than evocative, even meditative. The timbers of Schneider’s aural sanctuary are the treated tones of his lap steel guitar, stretched and layered into graciously immersive drones that resonate with potent therapeutic properties, sure to be of benefit to many a mind, body, and soul.