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. 


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...