Fistful of Mercy, "As I Call You Down"

78 Billboard Rating

This new Los Angeles-based supergroup unites jam-folk veterans Joseph Arthur and Ben Harper with George Harrison's son, Dhani, who in 2008 released the debut by his band thenewno2. Slightly psychedelic, mostly acoustic and uniformly tuneful, Fistful of Mercy's sound shouldn't surprise fans of any of those acts; nor, for that matter, should the appealingly casual quality of the nine songs on "As I Call You Down," which the musicians wrote in three days. (Longtime session drummer Jim Keltner eventually contributed his talents in the studio, helping perhaps to keep the ship afloat.) On "Things Go 'Round," you can hear traces of the Beatles' music-hall whimsy, while "Father's Son" has a down-home country-blues feel. Elsewhere, the instrumental "30 Bones" features violinist Jessy Greene, a regular collaborator of Arthur's who has also performed with Pink and Foo Fighters. But the most memorable cuts here emphasize Fistful's earthy three-part harmonies, as in "I Don't Want to Waste Your Time" and "In Vain or True," both of which exude a rootsy back-porch glow.