Gordon Giltrap with Carol Lee Sampson & Martin Green - Echoes Of Heaven

Published Tuesday 6th March 2012
Gordon Giltrap with Carol Lee Sampson & Martin Green - Echoes Of Heaven
Gordon Giltrap with Carol Lee Sampson & Martin Green - Echoes Of Heaven

STYLE: Roots/Acoustic
RATING 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9
LABEL: BigWeb Entertainment BW4207
RRP: £7.99

Reviewed by Tony Cummings

What a surprise this album was. Guitar aficionados of all types will know the work of Gordon Giltrap. Down the years he has been nimbly crossing genres with his skilled fingers able to pick out lilting folk music, earthy blues, classical guitar pieces and progressive rock seemingly at will. For those in the know, he is up there with Bert Jansch as one of the great guitar influences of post war music and the 25 studio albums have repeatedly shown him to be a guitar playing maestro. Although not a Christian, Gordon also has a strong connection with Christian music, having performed and recorded in the early days of Graham Kendrick and contributing a lick or three to Larry Norman's 'Only Visiting This Planet' classic. But it was still a shock when the guitar virtuoso turned over 14 of his beautifully crafted instrumentals to lyricist and poet the Rev Martin Green to transform the tracks to the hymns and worship songs we have here. Another big surprise is that 'Echoes Of Heaven' heralds the comeback of a much loved voice of the British church. As half of the duo Colin And Carol Owen, Carol (today called Carol Lee Sampson) was an influential worship leader and here her pure toned voice works beautifully as she brings new life to Giltrap's inventive and often haunting melodies. Standouts here include "First Light" (originally known as "The Kerry Dancers"), "Walk Beside Me" ("Elegy") and the title track (originally "Sallie's Song") which Rev Green skilfully turns into a contemplation of Revelation 20 and the wonderful picture of peace and resolution. My particular favourite is "This Father's Love" (this one featuring words from Ms Sampson) though I also have a soft spot for "Heart Song", which was a chart-making instrumental in 1977 and was subsequently used as the signature tune of the BBC TV series Holiday. If ever there was an album that blurred the creaking divisions between secular and sacred music, this is it.

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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