First cousins Luke Cornelius Prins and Jeremy David Daw were born forty-six days apart. Their bio says: “During 2003-2004 they simultaneously started a heavy rock band, recorded a Brazilian jazz album, and even found time to tour Finland and Sweden with an orchestra.” In 2006 they went their own ways, each continuing to play music. In 2011 the cousins began collaborating on new songs. They have now formed the group MoPrimo and have released a magnificent new album called BLACKEST SHEEP. ‘Mo’ is slang for ‘my’ and can also mean ‘more’. ‘Primo’ means ‘top quality’ and means ‘cousin’ in Portuguese.
The title track ‘Blackest Sheep’ starts things off. It is a beautiful classic rock ballad that draws from the New Testament to reflect on the greatness of Christ’s forgiveness: “Down this rabbit hole again, the many ways to judge man/So, they caught her in the act/Who casts the first stone my friend?/Tossed on the ground midst judging men/Ruse set for their King/As He stooped down to write in sand, rocks slipped from their hands/We see Your beauty when we catch You calling in the blackest sheep/It comes in streaming, voice of virtue/Your songs, we love You, the forgiven, the set free.” On the breezy pop song ‘Everybody Sees You’ MoPrimo make it clear they don’t want to hide their Light under a bushel: “Everybody sees You/Everyone will see You/But not many want to/Not many knew You before/Everybody sees You/Everyone will see You/And some really want to/So let them get to know You more/You more (4X)/Let them get to know You (2X)/Fill up on love/By giving it out/Fill up your life/Share what you got/Fill up on love, the tangible God/Fill up on love.”
‘If I Run’ has an upbeat Celtic feel to it with Don Reed playing fiddle and Michael Kidd playing banjo. The song points the way to eternal life: “Oh brothers, sisters/It’s straight and narrow/Oh brothers, sisters, it’s straight and narrow/I won’t die/I won’t die/You won’t die, won’t die/We will follow it/We won’t die, won’t die.” ‘Rose’ is one of five songs on which Jeremy Daw’s younger brother Justin contributes backing vocals. This romantic song features a Beach Boys type vocal delivery. Here are some of the words: “What grows the rose and all its constituents?/Fragrance and pedals disclosing elegance/Melts the hearts of all the girls and the boys love to give them/Credence to chivalry/Gentry of excellence/How gently matrons foster, disclosing assurance/Bless the hearts of all the girls when boys bestow honour to them/Melts the hearts of all the boys when girls are respectful of them.” The following Biblical principle from Proverbs 31 is also included in the lyrics: “Charm is deceitful, beauty is vain, but fearing the Lord is worthy of praise.”
‘Father Son’ includes a nice electric guitar solo and tells the moving story that Jesus told of the prodigal son: “He thought there was freedom seeing his life as a curse/He took his whole blessing, a large estate’s worth/Drained away on lavished living, how quickly gold turns into sand/And now he’s frail with pockets empty, alone on a stranger’s land.../When you’ve forgotten Me, you’re still my son/I’m waiting with open arms, as far as you run.” ‘Lone Wolf’ is a soft pop song. It seems to be the song of one going through a separation: “Alone’s a lonely place/My spouse: an empty space/I will see it through/With or without you/With or without you/Cause God’s got you and He’s got me/Fulfilling each and every need/Even good drama; we all love drama.” Miles is credited with wolf howls on this one.
‘All I Want’ is a very reflective, radio friendly song: “All I want is what the good Lord gives me/Not a double mind and eyes that sway/I make yet want more money/But isn’t that idolatry?.../If one day I get cancer and when I go away/I’ll believe Your love’s my answer, have all I could ask for on that day.” ‘Mature Spirit’ is one of three songs on which friend Christopher Conley plays electric guitar. This song uses nautical terminology to describe the journey we call life: “Launch this ship into the ocean/Held up high on salty waves/The crew holds fast bow to stern/The captain grins as anchors raise/All we can be is ready and willing/It’s not up to me/It’s not up to you/Do you know what is written in your heart?/It’s in mine too/It’s in mine too/Peaking waves, the mature spirit crested with eagle’s wings/Her hull cuts over the depths below/Patience is the cargo praised.”
‘Light of Life’ is a cheerful sounding pop song with additional vocals by Jovi Daw. The song praises Christ: “Piercing shadows, and still the dark could never understand/Life enduring, is calling out to see the Light of Man/Illuminates the mountains, dives deep into the sea/Commanding night at sundown, a lamp before our feet/When the night falls, the Light of Life is living inside of me/Warming every morning/Grows the smallest seed/Sets all life in motion/Gift of life/The Light of Man/Beginning ‘till the End”. On ‘Kings Alone’ Dave Barton plays trumpet, while Douglas Vieira plays trombone. Lyrically, it speaks of how we oft become isolated from others in our high tech world: “In a virtual world, you wait by yourself, placed like a toy high on the shelf/A string and a loop that needs to be pulled, to bring out the life you wanted in full.../Ruling kingdoms we call our own, but kings can’t rule when they’re all alone.” These words prove that this is not a song of despair though: “Our life is fleeting, we’re already leaving/Pray and wait for new hope to come/All will see the hope that has come/The way and the truth/The brightest of light/The morning stars shines through the pitch of the night/Although hope’s unseen, we know to be true/Just from one promise and what it can do.”
‘Someday’ is a happy folk song with Doug Johnson on pedal steel guitar. It anticipates life eternal in heaven with great joy: “Someday we all will know/Someday we’ll all bow low/Someday we’re going to meet the King/Through the clouds towards the One who saved my soul and sent His Son/Ever present in His love, evermore/It’s beautiful, when You call I will come/The soul will sing forever, the body will decay/The brilliance of jasper and crystals/Suffering no longer, troubles washed away.” ‘Watching the Days’ is a song of companionship: “My name is your friend, so throw me your cares cause I care for you/Even if you think I don’t, I do/I really do.../No pressure my friend, your heart to defend, and I feel tense too/Even if you doubt, just know, it’s pure/I love you.”
BLACKEST SHEEP is artistic, experimental, and unique. It is honest and contemplative. It is a breath of fresh air in the Canadian Christian Music scene. It is diverse, deep, and never boring. The vocals are pleasant. Jeremy Daw of MoPrimo says: “We feel our message is always edifying, clear, endearing and easy to follow...Our hope is that our music points listeners to Christ.” Fans of the pop sounds of Michael Roe and the Beach Boys should give this one a listen. I’m rating it 90%. To purchase visit iTunes and CD Baby. Look for a website at www.MoPrimoMusic.com soon. You can also check them out on Facebook!