Steve Bell - The Feast Of Seasons: Advent, Nativity, Epiphany
STYLE: Orchestral RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 11804- LABEL: Signpost FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1
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Reviewed by Tom Lennie
Tony Cummings described Rob Mathes' 'William The Angel' as "possibly the best Christian album I've ever heard" (CR36). Not having heard that album (though Rob's 'Heart Of Hearts' is certainly a piece of creative genius) I would most definitely give that honour to 'The Feast'. Forget "Steve Bell sings your 12 Xmas favourites," this project goes miles beyond the usual commercialised Christian dross. In fact, it's probably misleading to call it a Christmas album at all - it's a sensitive celebration of three seasons: Advent, the 12 days of Christmas and the Feast of Epiphany, as carefully explained in the accompanying notes. Some songs are indeed traditional carols/hymns, eg, the 16th century Coventry carol, Charles Wesley's "Come Thou Long Expected Jesus" and the delectable "O Holy Night", all given Steve's own special touch. The "Magnificat (Holy Is His Name)" written by John Michael Talbot is sung with great delicacy and is strikingly beautiful. A couple of songs (for example "Old Sage", the most up tempo tune on the album) were co-penned by Steve Bell and Jamie Howison, who also wrote the sleevenotes. Steve's vocals and instrumentation are superb and the overall effect is an album of great depth and creativity. I am deeply moved every time I listen to it. A true feast.