Christopher Williams - The City Makes The Man

Published Friday 1st November 2019
Christopher Williams - The City Makes The Man
Christopher Williams - The City Makes The Man

STYLE: Roots/Acoustic
RATING 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 175180-28638
LABEL: Independent

Reviewed by Paul Keeble

This album is built around the veteran US songsmith's excellent acoustic guitar playing and fine but relaxed voice. The other instrumentation tends to be sparse (keys, cello, percussion) but tastefully complements the well-crafted songs. The overall feel is folky laid-back and confident. Only the title-track takes a more rock approach featuring drums, electric guitar and blues-harp. Special mention to the great gospel-tinged backing vocals that complement many of the tracks. Several songs, such as "Nothing Can Separate" are expressions of personal worship, but thankfully with lyrics that move beyond cliché and into creative reflection. "You care for me with a mercy so sweet that is sometimes hard to receive/When I get lost in between the peaks and dark valleys/You paint the skies and bring them to me." There is little overt mention of faith or God, but for those with ears to hear it is clearly present and scripture references, such as Romans 8 in "Nothing Can Separate", pepper the lyrics. From "Beloved": "By the grace of the One who made who I am/I am beloved/There are voices that ring loud/Like gongs and cymbals they resound/They're trying to tell me where my worth is found/I know I'm broken, but I'm not bound." Another recurring theme is tiredness and the promise of rest (again from "Beloved": "Give this tired heart the courage to let love through"). On what is perhaps the standout track of the whole album, "You Have Everything You Need", Christopher sings: "You, tethered and worn/Beautifully torn and tired from all you've seen/Take, the time you need, the air to breathe to find relief in the in between/You have everything you need." These words are set to a beautiful melody and a sensitive arrangement of guitar and voices. Final track "Redeemed" lifts the tempo and lets rip those gospel harmonies to bring a superb album to a fitting close. "We're always in between the sight and the unseen climbing this mountain higher and higher/We don't need more monuments only trails of deep footprints/Where we dug in to carry those who were tired." Amen to that.

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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