Sunday, July 14, 2019

BORN AGAIN


Pete Orta was born on August 26, 1971 in Port Lavaca, Texas. He was a guitarist for Petra from 1996-2000. During that time I saw the band in London, Ontario on the Petra Praise 2 tour. Pete's also played guitar for Jaci Velasquez. In 2001 Pete released his solo debut, BORN AGAIN (Word). It was produced by Chris Rodriquez and Peter Kipley and executive produced by Judith Volz. Orta shares this in the liner notes: "This album is a musical outpouring of what God has done in my life..."

Desmond Child and Robbie Seidman wrote the opening pop/rock track 'You Make Me Feel'. It testifies: "When every little thing I do seems like it's meaningless/And my soul becomes consumed with doubt and emptiness/You know just how to touch me/You raise me from the dead/Oh, the way that You love me, love me/I believe (2X)/You make me feel something beautiful/You make me feel something real". Chris Rodriguez and Melody Chambers sing backing vocals on 'I See Love'. This pop ballad serves as a prayer: "Baptize me in the sea of forever gone/Take my sins/Completely cleanse all my wrongs/I see grace in Your face/When You look at me/I see love/Your soft love".

'Tomorrow's Sun' is a pop/dance track making use of the Roy G. Biv String Vibe. It's about giving oneself completely to God: "I'm making the choice to give my life away/I'll follow Your voice/Into another day/I'm not looking back/I'm leaving the ground.../Your strength is moving me somehow/I can do all things through You now". 'Use Me' is one of 3 selections solely penned by Pete Orta. It's an R & B song of one wanting to be a vessel: "Use me, use me/I will give my all/And I'll shake the ground/With a holy sound/All the walls will fall".

'Born Again' was penned by Natalie Hemby and Jay Joyce and was nominated for a Dove for 'Rock Recorded Song of the Year'. It's a joyful pop song about life transformation: "I was a dirty, messed up, little crazy kid/A runaway child in a bottomless pit.../I'm born again/I'm a new creation/I'm born again/I'm a new sensation". It's catchy! Abel Orta provides backing vocals on 'Something New'. It's a pop ballad about God's faithfulness: "Sometimes I fall, sometimes I fly/But You have been there to catch me/Every time/Sometimes I start/Sometimes I stall/But You have been right beside me/Through it all".

On 'Beautiful' Tim Akers plays piano and Dan Needham plays drums. It's a tender song of praise and worship: "I see Your world and it's so pretty/I see beautiful in You/Beautiful in Your world/Beautiful in You/Beautiful/When You touched my blind eyes/You brought breath to my soul". 'Broken' includes these opening lines which I like: "It's my cross/Where Your heart has bled/As my pride/Crowned Your lovely head/So take my wrongs and set a sinner free/Let these tears be the Jordan for me".

Chris Eaton and Ralph Van Manen co-wrote 'Shine'. It's an adult contemporary song of encouragement: "Sometimes the day seems like the night/Don't let the shadows cover the light/You've got to shine/Always let the flame burn so high/Cause when you shine/You set the world on fire". Last up is 'Liberty', a pop song of testimony: "I don't need these chains/I was meant to fly.../God has given life inside of me/And when I'm down I still believe/That's how I know I'm free (2X)".

BORN AGAIN is a really good CCM album that includes pop, rock, dance, R & B, adult contemporary, and praise and worship sounds. The main topic covered is the fact that Christ offers us hope and new life via Calvary. We can throw off our old man so to speak. We can delight ourselves in the Lord. He is faithful to us, forgiving  us when we sin and confess, and He helps us be a witness to the world. Pete's got a great voice! I'd like to hear a second solo album from him. For more info visit www.peteorta.com and connect with him on social media. I give this album an 88%.








Friday, July 05, 2019

VICE VERSES


According to Wikipedia, Switchfoot lead vocalist Jon Foreman says the following of the band's name: "We all love to surf and have been surfing all our lives so to us, the name made sense. To switch your feet means to take a new stance facing the opposite direction. It's about change and movement, a different way of approaching life and music". THE LEGEND OF CHIN (1997) was their debut studio album. They would go on to success in both the Christian and mainstream markets. Fast forward to 2011 and they put out their eighth studio album, VICE VERSES (lowercase people records/Atlantic). It was produced and mixed by Neal Avron and executive produced by Mike Ellzondo.

'Afterlife' is a rocker about living this life with passion: "Everyday/The world is made/A chance to change/But I feel the same/And I wonder/Why would I wait till I die to come alive?/I'm ready now/I'm not waiting for the afterlife". It was nominated for a Dove for 'Rock/Contemporary Song of the Year'. 'The Original' offers these words of encouragement: "So you say you're just a lost soul/I know you better than that/So you say you're just lost in the wash, oh/I know you better than that/So you say you're just a face in a city race/Wasted and sick of it all/Speak your mind up/Come on, baby free yourself".

'The War Inside' is a rock cut that serves as a rally cry: "Put your hands up, open up wide/Put your hands up, side by side/Age don't matter like/Race don't matter like/Place don't matter like what's inside/Yeah, every thought or deed/Yeah, every tree or seed/The big things come from the little dreams/Every world I made by make believe". Sara Watkins plays violin on 'Restless'. It anticipates heaven: "I can feel you reaching/Pushing through the ceiling/Till the final healing/I'm looking for you/Until the sea of glass we meet/At last completed and complete/Where tide and tear and pain subside/And laughter drinks them dry".

'Blinding Light' is a melodic rock ballad about finding true meaning in life: "I keep looking for the blinding light/I keep looking for the reason why/I keep looking for the sun to shine to take me higher and higher/All my life/I've been living in the darkest night/Still looking for the sun to rise/To take me higher and higher". 'Selling the News' is a funky rock track serving as a commentary on today's news media: "America listens, the story is told/With an eye on the truth as the story unfolds/But the ratings determine if story was sold/We're selling the news/Begging the question, mongering fears/Stroking the eyes and tickling ears/The truth is seldom just as it appears/We're selling the news".

Next up is 'Thrive'.  I like these brutally honest lyrics: "I've been awake for an hour or so/Checking for a pulse but I just don't know/Am I a man when I feel like a ghost?/The stranger in the mirror is wearing my clothes/No, I'm not alright/I know that I'm not right/A steering wheel don't mean you can drive/A warm body don't mean I'm alive/I want to thrive, not just survive". The album's first single was 'Dark Horses'. It's an energetic rocker about beating the odds: "We're singing, hey, you can't count us out/We've been running up against the crowd/Yeah, we are the dark horses/We're singing wait, it's not over now/We've been down but we've never been out/Yeah, we are the dark horses".

'Souvenirs' is a pretty ballad that speaks of innocence: "So I close my eyes and go back in time/I can see you smiling, so alive/I close my eyes and go back in time/You were just a child and so was I/We were so young/We had no idea that nothing lasts forever". 'Rise Above It' rocks and is another rally cry: "Hear our voices rise/Hear our battle cry/We've been under the curse/With our arms raised high/Hear us sing tonight/Like the last night on earth/We will rise/Like the tide/Like dead men coming back to life/We are rising, rising".

'Vice Verses' is a quiet tune that asks some great questions: "Where is God in the city life?/Where is God in the city light?/Where is God in the earthquake?/Where is God in the genocide?/Where are You in my broken heart?/Everything seems to fall apart/Everything feels rusted over/Tell me that You're there". Closing things out is the longest song on the album, 'Where I Belong'. It's almost seven minutes long. It anticipates our eternal home: "On the final day I die/I want to hold my head up high/I want to tell you that I tried to live it like a song/And when I reach the other side/I want to look you in the eye/And know that I've arrived in a world where I belong".

VICE VERSES is a great album of rock music comprised of an equal number of fast and slow songs. A main theme is being fully alive on this earth and being all that we were created to be. We should actively aim to discover the purpose for our lives and not just survive. There are also a couple of songs looking forward to heaven and one about how today's news media outlets have distinct spins on them. Jon Foreman's vocals are swell, as is the heavy electric guitar work. I'm rating this album 100%. The Deluxe Edition comes with a second disc. It's a live audio concert performance of Switchfoot's 2009 album HELLO HURRICANE at Center Stage in Atlanta, which collector's will appreciate. For more info visit www.switchfoot.com.









Wednesday, July 03, 2019

ALL THINGS POSSIBLE


Mark Mitchell Schultz was born in Kansas on September 16, 1970. In 2000 he put out his self-titled debut album. Fast forward to 2012 and he released his 7th studio album, ALL THINGS POSSIBLE (Fair Trade Services). Seth Mosley and Pete Kipley are the producers used.

First up is the title track, 'All Things Possible', written by Mark, Seth Mosley, and Tony Wood. It's a nice pop song of faith: "I know mountains can move/I've seen what You can do/In my weakness/So my heart will believe/If I wait I will see/My God doing what only He can do". Julia Ross is a backing vocalist. 'It is Well' puts full confidence in God: "When I'm on my knees and the storm won't cease/In Your shelter I am still/When my strength is gone/Oh, Your cross stands strong/And Your mercy never fails/It is well".

Mark co-wrote 'One Day' with Seth Mosley, Doug McKelvey, and Mia Fieldes. It anticipates a glorious tomorrow: "The lame will walk/The blind will see/The prisoners will be set free/And hope will rise as shadows disappear/And all that's lost/We'll find again/Death will die and tears will end/And we will come alive and truly live". 'I Gave Up' is a bouncy pop song with this catchy chorus: "I don't need a house on top of the world/I like the car I'm driving/Everything I got ain't what I'm worth/That's not the reason I'm living/I don't need to see my name in lights/Or leave any grand impression/I've got everything I need in life/If love's all we're taking to heaven".

Next we have 'Love Walked In', a beautiful ballad about the healing of relationships: "All alone in a cold white room/They've only given him a week or two/ And it's no surprise nobody calls/All he's got are regrets and tears/He hasn't spoken to his kids in years/But he just heard his daughter in the hall/Love walked in through the door/And face to face with brokenness/Said it's still worth fighting for". 'More to You than This' touches on premarital sex: "So maybe you thought/If you gave yourself away/He would stay/Maybe you felt it was worth the price you'd pay/And you tell yourself it doesn't really matter/But your heart will start to break".

Mark, Seth Mosley, and Phillip LaRue wrote 'Be Still'. It finds God speaking words of encouragement to us: "Even now there's a hand that's reaching out/Through the dark to a heart that's filled with doubt/I am here when the storm is raging/Let your soul be still/And know I'm God (2X)". 'What Do You Give A King' is a praise and worship ballad: "When He says that all your guilt and shame are washed away/And He has freed you from a debt that you could not repay/What do you give a King (2X)?"

Cindy Morgan, Mark, Tony Wood, and Don Poythress penned 'Haven't Met You Yet'. It's the song of a father to be: "I can just see it now/You're in your mama's arms and she's so proud/And when you smile it takes my breath away/Watching you laugh, you crawl/I don't remember life before you at all/And the funny thing is/I haven't even met you yet!" Last up is 'I Will Love You Still'. It's a quiet, tender ballad from God to us: "If ever you should fall/If ever you should break/If ever you should turn from me and slowly walk away/I will love you still". Gordon Mote plays piano and strings are used brilliantly.  

ALL THINGS POSSIBLE is a wonderful Christian adult pop album that also contains one praise and worship number. Mark's vocals are lovely. There are six slow songs and four fast. These songs make clear God's love and care for us and our worth to Him. We can be content by putting our full trust in God. Heaven awaits us! Mark also sings of restored relationships and parenthood. Fans of Michael W. Smith and Matthew West should give this one a listen. I'm rating it a perfect 100%. For more info visit www.markschultzmusic.com or find him on social media.







Tuesday, July 02, 2019

FACTS OF LOVE


According to her official bio, "Kim Boyce is a former Miss Florida and Top Ten Semi-Finalist in the Miss America Pageant". She was born on March 14, 1961 in Winter Haven, Florida. In 1986 she released her self-titled debut CCM album. What I will be reviewing here is her fifth studio album, FACTS OF LOVE (1992, Warner Bros.). In the liner notes, Kim shares: "Nothing can touch your heart and leave a lasting impression like love. This album, the result of many months of prayer, inspiration, laughter, and tears, has ten songs that in some way talk about love..."

First up is the Tom Snow/Jimmy Scott composition 'When Love Calls Your Name'. Cher had recorded it in 1991 and Kim Boyce took it to #1. It's a happy pop song: "When Love calls your name/There's no saying no/You follow your heart wherever it goes/To the ends of the earth/For the rest of your days/Whatever it takes, yeah, you'll find a way/Through fire and rain/When Love calls your name". Kim, hubby Gary Koreiba, Guy Penrod, and Chris Rodriguez sing backing vocals on 'Love Has Made the Difference'. It's a song celebrating one's relationship with God: "We've been through the laughter and tears/Still our love is growin'/When days turn to years/My heart will still be showin' that I'm thinkin' of You/The love that made the difference in me/Your love has made the difference in me".

'Everything' was penned by Kim, Scott MacLeod, and Trace Scarborough. It's a soulful pop ballad complete with a sax solo by Marty Paoletta. These words are ones of worship: "Lily of the valley/Bring and shining star/Baby in a manger/Lover of my heart/King of all creation/Knew my deepest need/In my darkest hour/He reached out for me". Phil Madeira plays the Hammond B-3 organ on 'Dancin' to the Beat of Your Heart'. It's an upbeat pop/dance song that rejoices: "Never been a moment of regret with You, Lord/Even when my life is filled with misery/Doesn't last for long because You're livin' in me/And I'm dancin', dancin' to the beat of Your heart/When my soul feels the Spirit/My feet have to start/Dancin' to the beat of Your heart".

Kim, Bryan Lenox, and Bo Cooper wrote 'Until Now'. It uses strings, oboe, and pipe organ by Bryan Lenox. Chris Rodriguez and Mark Pogue provide backing vocals. It's a beautiful ballad of praise: "Until now/I know Your love has saved me from the pain/Until now/Never knew someone like You/In Your arms,Your perfect love brings hope to me again/Never knew You could make a change somehow/Until now". The title track, 'Facts of Love', was a hit for Kim. Dann Huff and Gordon Kennedy play guitars on this peppy pop/rock number that testifies: "There's something different 'bout Your love/Feels like thunder's running through my veins/Like some kind of miracle's happenin'/Taking me up higher than I've ever been/There's a fire burnin' deep within/Think I must be learnin' the facts of love..."

'Hurting People' was penned by Kim and Julius Drummin. It's a funky pop song that encourages us to act: "If you love them/Won't you show them?/Then we'll help them/Help the hurting people/Will you reach out to their struggles?/Then we'll help them/Help the hurting people". 'I Just Wanna Live Right' finds Kim pouring out her heart: "I don't wanna be a hero/Just wanna share Him everywhere I go/Live my life and let people see/That there's really been a change in me".

What follows is 'Let's Stay Together', a Kim Boyce/Gary Koreiba/Phil Sillas effort. It's a light pop song that draws from history: "Elvis and Priscilla tried/He loved the girl until the day he died/But couldn't keep their love together, no/Let's stay together/Marilyn and DiMaggio/Gave it a try and then they let it go/Couldn't keep their love together, no/Let's stay together". Last up, 'Thank You For Being My Friend', is a quiet song for our Lord: "There was never a time when Your love was in doubt/Every tear that I've cried/You've known all about/There is no greater friend cause You laid down Your life/So with all my heart one more time/I'll try to say/Thank You for being my friend".

FACTS OF LOVE is a fun Christian pop record, with some adult contemporary and dance sounds mixed in. There are five fast songs and five slow ones. God's goodness, love, care, and salvation are proclaimed. God, in fact, calls out to us, His children. Following Christ and being spiritually devoted are encouraged. We should care for all of humanity and be witnesses for Jesus. The cover photo of Kim is absolutely beautiful! This is a good album to crank up as you are driving out and about. I'm rating it 90%. For more info visit www.kimboycemusic.com and/or connect with her on social media.





Sunday, June 30, 2019

MAGIC


Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen was born on September 23, 1949 in Long Branch, New Jersey. He released his debut studio album in 1973 entitled GREETINGS FROM ASBURY PARK, N.J. My favorite album of his is 1984's BORN IN THE U.SA. Fast forward to 2007 and he released his 15th studio album, MAGIC (Columbia). It features his E Street Band, of which two members have since passed on-Clarence Clemons (sax, backing vocals), and Danny Federici (organ, keyboards). The album peaked at #1 on the US Billboard 200 and was produced by Brendan O'Brien.

Starting things off is the album's first single, 'Radio Nowhere'. It won Grammys for 'Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance' and 'Best Rock Song'. It's a song of disillusionment: "I was tryin' to find my way home/But all I heard was a drone/Bouncing off a satellite/Crushin' the last lone American night/This is radio nowhere/Is anybody alive out there?.../I want a thousand guitars/I want pounding drums/I want a million different voices speaking in tongues". 'You'll Be Comin' Down' is a rock ballad about reality: "Like a thief on a Sunday morning/It all falls apart with no warning/Your cinnamon sky's gone candy-apple green/The crushed metal of your little flying machine".

Soozie Tyrell plays violin on 'Livin' in the Future'. It includes these apocalyptic lyrics: "The earth it gave away/The sea rose toward the sun/I opened up my heart to you/It got all damaged and undone/My ship Liberty sailed away on a bloody red horizon/The groundskeeper opened the gates and let the wild dogs run". 'Your Own Worst Enemy' isn't exactly uplifting: "The times they got too clear/So you removed all the mirrors/Once the family felt secure/ Now no one's very sure.../Your flag it flew so high/It drifted into the sky".

'Gypsy Biker' rocks and states things in a matter of fact way: "To the dead it don't matter much 'bout who's wrong or right/You asked me that question/I didn't get it right/You slipped into your darkness/Now all that remains/Is my love for you brother/Lying still and unchanged/To them that threw you away/You ain't nothin' but gone/Our Gypsy biker's comin' home". The album's second single was 'Girls in their Summer Clothes'. It's a ballad that uses violins, violas, and cellos. Doc Walker covered it on their 2009 album GO. These words remind me of the Beach Boys: "And the girls in their summer clothes/In the cool of the evening light/The girls in their summer clothes, pass me by".

Next up is 'I'll Work For Your Love', a sacreligious number: Pour me a drink Theresa/In one of those glasses you dust off/And I'll watch the bones in your back/Like the Stations of the Cross/'Round your hair the sun lifts a halo/At your lips a crown of thorns/Whatever other deals gone down/To this one I'm sworn/I'll work for your love, dear/I'll work for your love". Jeremy Chatzky plays upright bass on the short title track, 'Magic'. It's a quiet Americana tune. It includes these mysterious lyrics: "I got a shiny saw blade/All I need's a volunteer/I'll cut you in half/While you're smiling ear to ear/And the freedom that you sought's/Driftin' like a ghost amongst the trees/This is what will be (2X)".

'Last to Die' is a rock song. It tells a story: "We took the highway till the road went black/We'd marked Truth or Consequences on our map/A voice drifted up from the radio/And I thought of a voice from long ago/Who'll be the last to die for a mistake, the last to die for a mistake?" 'Long Walk Home' is an optimistic tune overall, complete with a sax solo: "Here everybody has a neighbor/Everybody has a friend/Everybody has a reason to begin again/My father said 'Son, we're lucky in this town/It's a beautiful place to be born/It just wraps its arms around you/Nobody crowds you, nobody goes it alone'".

Daniel Lauffer plays cello on 'Devil's Arcade', a pretty ballad. It includes these words: "You sleep and dream of your buddies/Charlie and Jim/And wake with the thick desert dust on your skin/A voice says 'Don't worry, I'm here'/Just whisper the word 'tomorrow' in my ear/A house on a quiet street, a home for the brave/The glorious kingdom of the sun on your face/Rising from a long night as dark as the grave". Some versions of MAGIC include a hidden track entitled 'Terry's Song'. It's dedicated to Bruce's long-time assistant Terry Magovern who died on July 30, 2007. It's a folk ballad that uses harmonica. I like these lyrics: "Sometimes something comes along and you know it's for sure the only one/The Mona Lisa, the David, the Sistine Chapel, Jesus, Mary, and Joe/And when they built you brother, they broke the mold".

There's no question that musically and vocally this is a great rock album! The lyrics however are oft problematic in that a lot of the time I don't have a clue as to what Bruce is singing about really. The lyrics are often cryptic. I'm sure they hold deep meaning for Bruce and those close to him, but as for me, a lot of the lyrics fly over my head and are way too open for interpretation. Bruce does sing about life and love and perhaps older listeners will gravitate towards this record. I'm rating MAGIC 80%. For more info visit www.brucespringsteen.net. The CD packaging and booklet are great!










Saturday, June 29, 2019

AMPLIFIER


Big Tent Revival formed in Memphis, Tennessee in 1991. In 1995 they released their self-titled major label debut. Fast forward to 1998 and they released AMPLIFIER (Ardent). Producers on the album included John Hampton and Dana Key. It was nominated for a Grammy for 'Best Rock Gospel Album'. Group members were: David Alan, Randy Williams, Steve Wiggins, Spence Smith, and Rick Heil.

The album opens with 'Still Breathing', a strong rock song with a joyful chorus: "I'm still breathing/I wanna live like this air was given to me/I'm still seeing/I want to live like these eyes were given to me/To see the Glory". 'Lovely Mausoleum' is a ballad of spiritual invitation: "Sunrise, open your eyes/When are you gonna see?/New day coming your way/What is it gonna be?/Your choice, your voice/You are in control/Jesus, Jesus/He will make you whole". 'God Made Heaven' is a great rock song calling out to unbelievers: "It might take a lifetime and it might take a minute/If God made Heaven, then He wants you in it/Ever been lonely?/What am I saying?/We've all been lonely/I'm here to tell you/My Lord Jesus/He's the One and only". There's sizzling electric guitar work here".

'Someday (Time and Space)' looks forward to our eternal home: "Someday we're gonna live forever/Someday we're gonna be together/Someday with our Lord in Heaven, I pray". 'Jimmy' is a fun song about a young guy who goes to a big tent revival and is saved: "From the time that he walked in that place/There was a burnin' in his soul/When he heard about Heaven and God's grace/That Jimmy was a holy rollin'". 'Star in the Book of Life' is a rock ballad addressed to a Christian living in sin: "There's a star by your name in the book of life/Angels are watching you all the time/They can't understand why a child of the King/Would be happier living with swine/There's a star in the book of life.../Rise up out of the mire/Know you are God's desire/Come home, baby, please come home".

Next up is the rocker 'Wouldn't it Be Cool'. It's about coming to God: "Your information-investigation/Brings you to your praying knees/The god you made, where is he now?/The Lord Jehovah stands alone/Tonight the prayer you prayed aloud/The Holy Spirit took directly to the throne". 'Psalm 72' is a quiet song that shares positive news: "My Lord will soon be coming down/Like the rain on new mown grass/Showers falling on the thirsty land/The righteous man will flourish in those days/And for as long as the moon runs 'round/Peace will abound". 'What Would Jesus Do?' really became a rally cry for a generation. It's a rock ballad. Here's the chorus: "What would Jesus do walkin' in my shoes/Workin' at my job and goin' to my school?/And I hear people say 'Jesus is the way'/I believe and that is why I'm asking you/What would Jesus do?"

'Ready, Steady, Go' encourages us to: "Give it all to Jesus/Ready, steady, go!" Track #11 is called 'Thanks'. It finds group members reading out album credits and thanking many people who've helped them along the way. Unfortunately, this runs over ten minutes long!/This is followed by four unlisted songs, the first of which is 'Real Thing'. It's a rocker: "I want the real thing (3X)/I want Jesus Christ/Without lies, disguise, and compromise".

'Rivalry' also rocks hard and speaks out against division in the body of Christ: "We're all God's children/We're all God's kids/Love each other like Jesus said". It references other bands including Jars of Clay and Stryper. 'West Memphis Lawyer' is a bluesy rocker that reminds us one day we will each personally face the Lord and give an account of how we lived. Last up is 'Come On People'. It encourages testimony: "Come on people, get out your seat/Listen to me/Tell me are your sins removed?/Does your spirit move?"

If you're a fan of Mark Stuart era Audio Adrenaline and/or of Third Day, you should add this terrific rock album with lots of stellar electric guitar work to your playlist. Several of the songs invite people to come to Jesus and live for Him alone. Other songs encourage Christian unity, celebrate life, and testify to God's goodness. God is a life-changer. I'm rating AMPLIFIER 100%. For more info connect with the group and its members on social media.









Wednesday, June 26, 2019

PROMISE MAN


Holy Soldier released their self-titled debut album in 1990. It won two Dove Awards including 'Hard Music Album of the Year'. In 1992 their second album, LAST TRAIN, came out. Their final studio album, PROMISE MAN (1995, Forefront) featured a new vocalist, Eric Wayne. The rest of the band was: Michael Cutting (electric and acoustic guitars, mandolin, vocals), Andy Robbins (bass), and Scott Soderstrom (electric and acoustic guitars). It won a Dove for 'Hard Music Album of the Year'. The album was produced by David Zaffiro and executive produced by Dan R. Brock and Eddie DeGarmo.

Starting things off is 'Promise Man', the title track, which won a Dove for 'Hard Music Song of the Year'. It points people to Christ: "There's a promise of peace, a promise of truth/A promise to me, a promise to you/He knows us by name/Like each grain of sand/The Promise Man". There's a great electric guitar solo incorporated. 'Mumbo-Jumbo' is a good rock ballad about looking for meaning in life: "I found Mumbo-Jumbo and I've lost something here/I found Mumbo-Jumbo, make it all disappear/I found Mumbo-Jumbo, somehow Lord, it's not right/I found Mumbo-Jumbo, someone turn on the light".

'My World' speaks of the afterlife: "When heaven and earth collide/One day, hello, goodbye/Across the divide/We take a step, it opens wide". 'Rust' is about grief: "Sitting on a weathered bench in the middle of a park/The names can barely still be read/Where two lovers carved a heart/I wonder where they are today/Are they together still/Or does only one return to trace/The heart that never healed?"

Next up the group pays tribute to Larry Norman by covering his 1970's classic 'Why Don't You Look Into Jesus' in a bluesy manner. It doesn't mince any words: "HIV on Valentine's Day/And you're still looking for the perfect lay.../Shooting junk till you're half insane/A broken needle in your purple vein.../Why don't you look into Jesus, look into Jesus, look into Jesus?/You know He's got the answer". 'Break it Down' serves as a stern warning to us: "The idols we raise/We fall on our knees and praise/Spin us around with a slap in the face/Who's ready to dance/And who's flying 'round by the seat of their pants?"

'Cover Me' rocks. It touches on lust and cries out to God: "The color magazines/They violate my eyes, trying to sell me compromise/A perfect figure on the television screen/Even the dirt looks very clean.../Rain on me, shine on me/Lord, rain on me/Cover me, yeah". 'Grind' sizzles and is a call to action: "Let's do some soul searching, dare to look inside/It's time to lock it down tight/We can strike the match, others will ignite".

Chris Kent plays bass on 'Love Conquers All', an adult contemporary ballad that finds Jesus calling out to a prodigal: "'Come to me, child you're my own', said a voice from out of nowhere/'I'll give you rest, please come home', and suddenly He was there/Love conquers all, it conquers all/Surrender it in His hands/Love conquers all, it conquers all". Last up is 'Sand', a cry for revival: "He holds the mysteries in His hands/He knows our life is but a grain of sand/Oh yeah/Burn, burn inside of me/Bring me to my knees".  

PROMISE MAN is an absolutely terrific album with nine rock tracks and one adult contemporary one! There's an equal number of fast and slow songs. Eric Wayne's deep vocals are well suited to the grunge-rock material presented here. The main message here is that Jesus is the only One who can bring us true meaning in life. We should put our hope in Him. He is trustworthy and can deliver us from Satan and temptation if we only call on Him. We ought to be lights for Christ in a dark world. I'm rating this project 100%. For more info connect with the band and its members on social media.