STYLE: Roots/Acoustic RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 2848- LABEL: Kingsway KMCD2304 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1 RELEASE DATE: 2000-10-20 RRP: £14.67
Reviewed by Tim Walker
Ulster-based singer/songwriter Brian Houston has previously secured support slots with numerous secular artists (countryman Van Morrison being one), but readers nervously expecting an associated turning-down of the spiritual volume on this latest CD will be reassured right from the opening seconds of "Be Thou My Vision". Anyone who caught Brian's heart-stopping set at 2000's Cross Rhythms fest will know our man has a powerful and passionate ability to minister. Stylistically 'Big Smile' takes a more mid-Atlantic, bluesy rock direction with Houston's rough-edged voice well suited to this style. Aside from the drumming of his brother Mark, Brian handles all instrumental duties, in particular spinning out some very tasty guitar parts. This reviewer was especially grabbed by the closing number "Lift High", a rousing, soaring song of praise which would make a fabulous ending to a gig (or even a worship meeting). The CD will whet the appetite of any new listener for a Brian Houston live performance. Another fine example of what Brian can produce from his Dublin home studio, 'Big Smile' is proof, if any were needed, that "self-produced" no longer has to mean "second best"!
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