Category Archives: Music Reviews

The Neal Morse Band – The Similitude of A Dream

NealMorseBandThe Neal Morse Band – an extension of Morse’s voracious wellspring of musical expression – comes back strong after their solid studio project, The Grand Experiment and the live recording, Alive Again, with a return to the concept album format with The Similitude of A Dream. The two-disc project is a musical adaptation of John Bunyan’s allegorical tale popularly known as Pilgrim’s Progress, a shorter (much shorter) name than Bunyan’s original title, The Pilgrim’s Progress from This World to That Which Is to Come; Delivered under the Similitude of a Dream.

Review: Ron Block & Jeff Taylor – Trouble Go Down

ronblockjefftaylorDusting off a hymnal full of ancient songs and mixing their arrangements with new (and old) hymns and some original songs is exactly what 14-time Grammy award winning guitarist and banjo player Ron Block (Alison Krauss & Union Station) and Jeff Taylor (The Time Jumpers) had in mind for this joint super-collaboration titled Trouble Go Down.

Review: Chris Tomlin – Never Lose Sight (Deluxe Edition)

christomlinThere are some artists who just seem to have the Midas touch, who seem to be able to do no wrong nor take a false step. Chris Tomlin is just such an artist, crafting hit after hit after hit for years now and just when you think the well might be dried up, he emerges with yet another strong collection of vertically charged songs for the Church in Never Lose Sight. Packed with Tomlin’s signature worship style, these songs continue the artist’s focus on the hope and joy found in Christ.

Review: Matthew West – Unto Us: A Christmas Collection

matthewwestOne of the beautiful things about the Christmas music tradition is that it’s not limited to any one genre. While there will always be the mainstays like Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, and Elvis Presley, there is always room for more contemporary expressions as well, delivering yuletide cheer through the pop sounds of today. Stepping in to fill this role for listeners this year is CCM hit maker Matthew West who delivers five new Christmas tracks along five previously recorded on his second Christmas offering, Unto Us: A Christmas Collection.

Review: Lauren Daigle – Behold

laurendaigle“Timeless” is a term that gets thrown around perhaps a bit too much when discussing the arts but sometimes there’s just no other adjective in the thesaurus that works. And so it is with the release of rising star Lauren Daigle’s first Christmas outing, Behold, which truly is timeless. With a sound that redirects from her usual pop radio format, Daigle channels her inner Norah Jones and Diana Krall to deliver a set of holiday favorites that is just as good today as it will be in twenty years.

Review: Canton Junction – A Canton Christmas

cantonjunctionIt’s shaping up to be a great Christmas music season and the latest addition from Texas-based Canton Junction, A Canton Christmas, keeps the flow going with their great blend of southern gospel, Texas swing, and country. With their great harmonies, Matt Hagee (tenor), Tim Duncan (bass), Casey Rivers (lead), and Ryan Seaton (baritone) have created a holiday listening experience that makes the most of their considerable talents and will have fans pressing repeat more than once this Christmas season.

Review: Jody McBrayer – Christmastime

jodymcbrayerSome folks can just sing anything and Jody McBrayer is one of those guys. Having come to fame as a founding member of longtime CCM pop favorite Avalon and now a member of southern gospel flavored Cana’s Voice, McBrayer has shown that he’s got the range to do it all. Now, with Christmastime, the smooth voiced tenor puts his voice to work over a set of classic jazz-flavored arrangements that are not only timeless but prove to be the perfect template for McBrayer’s vocal artistry.

Review: Amy Grant – Tennessee Christmas

amygrantThey say that when discussing realty and properties, the secret is “location, location, location.” And while Amy Grant’s Tennessee Christmas record, her first holiday outing in nearly twenty years, has nothing to do with realty, it sure helps when you are able to listen to this collection of thirteen original and cover tracks while rolling down a long stretch of Tennessee highway, the colors of the leaves having made their turn to fall, and with a cool breeze blowing in the air. Yet, even without that, you’ll have no problem falling in love with this latest of Grant’s, a soon to be seasonal favorite.

Review: Exile – Wrapped Up In Your Arms For Christmas

exileIn their fifty years of recording as a band, pop-turned-country outfit Exile has yet to record a Christmas record until now. And while fans of the group’s hits like “Kiss You All Over” and “I Could Get Used To You” will surely welcome this collection of traditional favorites with its sprinkling of original songs, others may find this wanting, like a well-intentioned gift from your Aunt Edna.

Review: Phil Wickham – Children of God: Acoustic Sessions

philwickhamThose familiar with Phil Wickham and his Singalong sessions know that he doesn’t need much to captivate a crowd. Just a set of great songs, his stellar voice, and an acoustic guitar and the celebrated artist has the ability to draw an audience in and focus that energy vertically, bringing praise to the Father. Thus, it should come as no surprise that on the artist’s latest outing, Children of God: Acoustic Sessions, very little has changed.