Reviewed by George Lower
The Emerald Isle certainly has much to be proud of in her native son, Mark Forrest. Mark’s release Celtic Tales is definitely a sonic treat of traditional Irish tunes set to tasteful orchestrations. Mark’s clear and smooth voice carries the listener on an inspiring journey that stirs both the heart and the mind.
As I listened to Celtic Tales, I was especially impressed with Mark’s use of the sonic space. Each song had exactly the right amount of orchestration without any song feeling overproduced. Of course, being a guitar player myself, I was partial to the classical guitar on track 3, “Ride On,” the intro really sets the tone for the whole song.
It is to be expected on any album of Irish music one will encounter the topics of patriotism, love and heartache. Sometimes, the subject matter may be a little dark; but, the hope that someday things will be better clearly shines through in this masterful collection. Celtic Tales may be purchased directly from Mark’s website: www.markforrest.com.
Reviewed by George Lower
It was pleasure to review the latest release by Dan Schutte, Table of Plenty Anthology, 1985-2000. Dan has long been one of the seminal voices of the liturgical renewal. His roots extend back to the work of the St. Louis Jesuits in the 1970’s. Dan’s songs have been consistently been in the forefront of the new music written since Vatican II. His music has also drawn a lot of criticism over the years as well. Many of his early works, including such popular titles as “Glory and Praise to Our God,” “City of God,” and the ever popular “Here I Am, Lord,” fuel heated debates among self-proclaimed liturgists in the blogosphere.
Nevertheless, it appears to this author that much of what has been alleged is simply untrue. the Table of Plenty Anthology, 1985-2000 captures a very prolific Dan Schutte who has tremendous depth when it comes to composing. It is amazing how well his compositions are able to bridge the distance from traditional organ and choir to folk type ballads with jangly 12-string guitar. Dan effortlessly seems to compose music for any type of liturgical music ensemble and across an amazing range of musical genres.
Since this collection is an anthology there is no new material to review, but one cannot help but be impressed by the depth of a composer who shifts seamlessly from Roger McGuinn inspired guitar work on the opening track “Table of Plenty” to the full-bodied pipe organ with SATB choir on track seven, “Sing, O Sing.” In short the Table of Plenty Anthology, 1985-2000 is a CD that should be in the private library of every serious pastoral musician in the Catholic Church.
Table of Plenty Anthology, 1985-2000 is available from Oregon Catholic Press. More information can be found online at: www.ocp.org.
Gerard Faucheux - How Can You Think of Me?
Reviewed by Jim O’Meara
When Gerard Faucheux first sent me songs he had recorded, I heard right away a quality to his voice and to his music that made me want to hear more. He had not yet recorded an album, so I sent him to Dave Smith and his Icon Studio Productions. This collaboration produced Gerard's debut CD, How Can You Think of Me?, which features 11 songs written by Gerard, with some help from Dave Smith on several. They are songs of praise, of wonderment, of worship.
Gerard's ministry continues to grow, and with God's help, we will all be hearing a lot more from Gerard Faucheux.
Purchase your copy at www.gfsongs.com.
Here’s a song from the album:
Paul Hilts – Adoration for a New Springtime
Reviewed by Jim O’Meara
Paul Hilts' new CD is entitled Adoration for the New Springtime. Paul wanted to create a CD that featured music to be used for a contemporary Eucharistic Adoration service. This album features twelve songs as well as a songsheet master that includes the script for the service, as well as lyrics for the songs. Paul wrote the music for five of the songs, and uses some traditional songs as well.
Whether for parish use or for your own person prayer and meditation, this is a CD you definitely want to buy.
Purchase your copy at http://cdbaby.com/cd/paulhilts
Here are samples:
OCP – Choose Christ 2009 (songbook)
Reviewed by Sally Bolderson
With the insurgence of youth ministries in the Catholic Church with the youth events begun with Pope John Paul II, there has been a growing awareness of the need for contemporary music resources with a Catholic perspective. In the role of liturgical ministry in a youth and young adult setting, it is challenging to find music that is not only attractive to the young Catholics but also music that is sound in the teachings of Catholicism.
Over the past several years, OCP (Oregon Catholic Press) has made attempts to address this growing need with Spirit and Song I and II and some other smaller books that are focused with the young people in mind. As one who actually works with elementary and teenaged persons in the liturgical setting, I can appreciate the newest product in this market being promoted by OCP.
This new perspective, I believe, is the best answer to the Catholic contemporary scene. Entitled Choose Christ 2009 the introductory package states “There’s an explosion of top-quality contemporary music in the Church today. Thanks to Choose Christ 2009, the work of choosing the best titles has been done for you…..” As I scanned through the titles in the “Assembly Book” provided I was very pleased to see not only the older standards such as “I Will Choose Christ”, “Go Make a Difference” but also the newer favorites that my particular teens are asking for such as “Mighty to Save” and “Marvelous Light.” I was also happy to see the incorporation of some of the popular songs from the contemporary Christian artists that are very popular with the Catholic congregations such as “Blessed Be Your Name” by Matt Redman and “Breathe” by Marie Barnett.
As it is presented, the accompaniment books and CD libraries are available for purchase and each year (as is done with the Music Issues and Breaking Bread) annual music supplements with CD’s of the newly added songs will be available. The Assembly Book includes 115 songs and is affordable in a $2.00 per book paperback that can be used easily along with the Music Issue or Breaking Bread for a total, affordable package that parishes could incorporate easily into their weekly Masses.
I believe OCP has it right with this new offering in Catholic contemporary music resources. In an effort to follow the teachings of our Catholic church, it is nice to have this type of support in song choices that meet those needs in Choose Christ 2009.
Visit their website at ocp.org.
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