Christian album from Michael Himes has echoes of James Taylor, Dan Fogelberg

Reviewed by Brooke Curtis

Michael Himes/Forgetful Masterpiece

Singer/songwriter Michael Himes doesn’t seem like a newcomer at all. Blessed with a heartwarming, fragile voice a la James Taylor and Dan Fogelberg, Himes’ focus is on spiritual themes, conveying his love and loyal heart to God in track after track. However, unlike some of the new Christian artists on the radio today Himes doesn’t overwhelm his songs with too much studio gloss or use canned backbeats. While Himes’ religious convictions may be the primary motive for his songs, he doesn’t neglect the high standard of musicianship which should play an important role in every style of music.

“Everlasting Light” opens up with plush acoustic riffs that are suddenly elevated with incandescent electric guitars and sun-sparkling keyboards; the overall vibe is reminiscent of Coldplay albeit with Christian sentiments. Himes’ vocals are sweet and crystal clear throughout the CD, reaching uplifting emotional peaks on “For You My King” and “To You,” wherein his singing truly soars. “World Revolving” touches upon country, adding flavor to Himes’ folksy leanings. Horns give spice to “Thank You Lord” while violins stream prettily through “From Above.” Production is crisp and professional; you won’t be able to tell that this was self-produced and independently released.

http://www.michaelhimes.com

Vonnie Scott gives Christian rock the grit of classic Heart and Janis Joplin

 

Reviewed by Carson James

Vonnie Scott/Beckon Call

Singer/songwriter Vonnie Scott may sound like vintage Heart, Janis Joplin, and Melissa Etheridge at times, but lyrically she is in another zone. What may not be immediately apparent, if you just absorb her music on the surface level, is that Scott is a Christian artist. Songs such as “The Well” and “Rest in You” instantly recall the Heart of old, especially the tough-girl grit of Scott’s vocals, but the words are definitely of a spiritual nature. And with so many Christian artists mining the same secular modern pop/rock influences for a larger audience, it is certainly welcome. Consider Scott then an alternative to the usual Christian alternative.

“The Well” is propelled by sharp acoustic riffs and robust drumming; however, the focus becomes Scott’s powerful pipes, knocking over speakers with its big rock kicks. If you’re going to sing for the Lord, raise your voice. On “My Essence” and “If I Touched You,” Scott shows that she is able to plumb the subtleties of human emotion, declaring her spiritual faith with the dreamy softness of a candlelit prayer. Beckon Call is highly recommended to fans of contemporary Christian music as well as those who miss the rootsy FM sounds of the ’70s. 

http://www.scottiemusic.com