Shall We Gather is the American baritone Lucas Meachem’s first solo album. A collection of American art song, it represents a plea for togetherness in a country wracked by divisions and further siloed by COVID-19. Partnered by pianist Irina Meachem, who is also Lucas’ wife, the baritone offers up a wide-ranging program that nevertheless remains coherent. 

Meachem

Undeniably sincere and from the heart, many of the selected works reflect on or praise an idealised version of the American past. But as a listener the overall experience is too sentimental for my taste, with every piece performed with a full-throated earnestness when a quieter, more contemplative approach would suffice. This latter style would potentially add greater nuance to some of these works, which verge on the bathetic – the opening American Anthem by Gene Scheer one such example. After all, the America of the past was only so good for a very few.

Despite these reservations, the pleasure of becoming acquainted with such a plush, gorgeous instrument remains intact. Meachem’s...