Justin McRoberts & The Lily Of The Valley Gospel Choir - Amazing Grace

Published Wednesday 1st December 2010
Justin McRoberts & The Lily Of The Valley Gospel Choir - Amazing Grace
Justin McRoberts & The Lily Of The Valley Gospel Choir - Amazing Grace

STYLE: Roots/Acoustic
RATING 7 7 7 7 7 7 7
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 79602-16802
LABEL: Independent

Reviewed by Ewan Jones

McRoberts is a prolific Californian songwriter and storyteller, and this 2007 EP features five tracks; opener "Amazing Grace" (yes, the hymn) sets the scene musically and thematically but is the least interesting number of the set. Following it are three acoustic renditions of tracks from McRoberts' 2005 release 'Grace Must Wound'. Justin's lyrics are smart and intelligent - in "Change" he articulates the leap into faith "Diving in, even in knowing that you cannot swim/You've got to die before your life begins/And underwater learn to breathe" while "Into Your Home" addresses friends and lovers who have been deceived by lies - about where to find satisfaction, by false gospels and by adulterous affairs. It doesn't set out to condemn but to reason and challenge "I don't want to make a scene about it/I just want to make you think about it'. McRoberts doesn't shy away from gritty real life scenarios as well as good, and live, his songs are almost always accompanied by stories that add context and background. It's this thoughtfulness, along with his soulful voice and catchy hooks, that helps him stand out from the crowd of other country/folk songwriters. At five tracks it's a neat little taster of what McRoberts is about, but with only one original track - functional closer "Man Like Me" - you might be better off checking out a full length, certainly on the strength of these songs.

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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