Support Local Journalism. Join Riverfront Times Press Club.

Best Local Album of the Past 12 Months 

Gateway to Dignity

The members of Grand Ulena have garnered notoriety for their pedigree, their simultaneous refusal to play their hometown while declaring themselves "Ambassadors of St. Louis" and the St. Louis Police Department's recent "courtesy call" on their practice space. All this controversy, both imagined and real, has almost overshadowed Grand Ulena's finest achievement: Gateway to Dignity, their début, is the album the St. Louis music scene deserved. A brutal, carefully orchestrated assault, Gateway to Dignity screams "We are of you," without ever claiming "We are with you." It is a singular statement, both a declaration of solidarity and of independence, a uniquely St. Louis album that pays homage to our ancestral bonhomie and rejects our "Where'd you go to high school?" parochialism. This dichotomy is the source of Grand Ulena's claustrophobic, wide-open power: Let go of St. Louis and then embrace St. Louis, they say. See it again with new eyes; hear it with new ears; feel it with a new soul. Gateway to Dignity is a new beginning, a point of departure for a new generation of music. This is the rebirth of the cool.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

September 15th, 2021

View more issues

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In St. Louis

© 2021 Riverfront Times

Website powered by Foundation