John Michael Talbot - Master Collection Vol 1

Sunday 1st July 1990
John Michael Talbot - Master Collection Vol 1
John Michael Talbot - Master Collection Vol 1

STYLE: Ambient/Meditational
RATING 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10
LABEL: Sparrow SPD1213
RRP: £19.56

Reviewed by Chris Rolinson

How refreshing it is to see "contemporary contemplative music" (CCM?) making headway in the Christian music scene. Along with the music of Taize, John Michael Talbot has probably done the most to popularise this kind of music. You'll find no drums, synths or electric guitars here, just pure acoustic, natural music, centred on JMT's pseudo-classical guitar playing and plaintive vocals (admittedly not to everyone's taste). Woodwind and strings underscore the simple melodies, which remind me of the folk tunes of Celtic Britain. It's important to understand some of the thinking behind this kind of release. John Michael Talbot is a member of a Francisan order. Franciscans possess a rather unusual mixture of evangelistic fervour and mystical contempla­tion, giving them a distinctive-ness among religious orders. Contemplatives are now to be found more and more amongst those who have been classified "evangelical" and are discovering some of the deeper things of God in silence.  Retreats are "in"; books like Joyce Huggett's "Listening To God" and Richard Foster's "Celebration Of Discipline" have been top sellers for many years. JMT himself has written similar tomes; indeed , included with this presentation double album is a postcard to return for more information on the theology behind the music! All of which brings me back to the music, which varies between the simple and ecstatic. Listen to and enjoy "Hymn To The Praise Of God" for example. Gorgeous stuff! The album is essentially a compilation of some of the more contemplative music JMT has recorded over the years, making it an excellent introduction to the man and his gifts, although I would warn you not to listen to too much at once - you might fall asleep! This is an album to acquire, enjoy and drink in. To get the best from it though, buy the CDs, put on your best headphones, turn out the lights, and encounter Jesus.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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