Reviewed by Dave Brassington
Country music is an ideal musical style for a Christian singer as the genre is laden with songs about the minutiae of life. Songs that cover personal problems, friendship, loss, pain, suffering, love are the bedrock of country lyrics. Even mainstream country artists are happy to namecheck Jesus in a positive way whatever their personal faith may be. On first listening 'Turn It Over' seems like an okay album. The songs sound pleasant enough and the production qualities are good enough that you are free to let the songs come through rather than getting distracted by issues with the recording. This is, however, one of those albums that needs several listens to allow the songs to separate and come alive. The opening title track is a mellow, understated song that establishes where Mike is coming from, laying out his personal faith and his dependence on Jesus for all things. Most of the songs have a slower, mellow vibe. Things pick up pace-wise with "Hope For Tomorrow" which is a good song. It feels so close to being a great song, something that you sense the harder edge that, say, a Keith Urban or Brad Paisley might bring to it. Throughout, the steel guitar is sensitive and not overpowering while Mike's vocals do not carry the southern drawl that often accompanies male country singers. Style-wise, 'Turn It Over' is more akin to Kenny Chesney in its subdued tempos than the upbeat swagger of a Hank Williams Jr. The only criticisms that could be levelled at the album would be the lack of tempo variety (one of the reasons "Hope For Tomorrow" stands out is its more upbeat and rocky feel).
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