Reviewed by Steven Bridge
Joanne Hogg may be better known for her sparkling vocal lead with Celtic fusion band Iona, but this six-track EP has the potential to draw in new fans looking for exceptional singer/songwriters. It is very much Joanne branching out from her 27 years with the prog-rock maestros. In her own words, leading up to her deciding to record the solo project she says, "I seem to have encountered many individuals who openly admitted to feeling quite lost and without direction in life. I found myself thinking again of the parables and miracles idea [I'd had some time back] and the concept of the MAP project just seemed to shout itself into my creative conscious thoughts. They are the MAP. . . the miracles and parables. It's a good thing to have if you're searching for the way. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is both the way and the treasure. . . So I began to produce the MAP project." Interestingly the sixth and final track on the album "Constant In My Chaos" draws from Psalm 43 with the line, "Give me a map so I may find my way. . .to the place of your presence." And with compass artwork on the sleeve and disc itself, it is clear as to the purpose of the recording in pointing to a spiritual direction for life. From the album opener "Thirst" on which Joanne leads us to identify with the woman at the well and her quest to quench the thirsting after real life, the songs continue on that theme of focussing on people in the Bible and how they met with the Lord in natural and supernatural ways. Using the richness and warmth of her vocal accompaniment to her piano playing, and the addition of flugelhorn, trumpet, guitars and cello together with Terl Bryant's percussion, the songs flow along a river of acoustic artistry which touch and move the soul. And if this is just Part 1 of the project, the appetite for more in a second offering has been well and truly whetted whilst savouring the first.
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