Smalltown Poets - Listen Closely

Tuesday 1st June 1999
Smalltown Poets - Listen Closely
Smalltown Poets - Listen Closely

RATING 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9
LABEL: Forefront 252062

Reviewed by Lukas Willcocks

Thinking man's pop rock from an American team much liked by UCB Cross Rhythms. But the themes and lyrics hit the open heart with a surgeon's precision. The Smalltown Poets describe common Christian predicaments and prescribe Biblical wisdom in a mature and subtle way. Not the "come to Jesus and all will be dandy" attitude for these boyz. One theme is the cost of following Christ - this threads it's way through "Call Me Christian", "Anything Genuine", "48 States" and "Hold It Up To The Light" - making choices that mean we will miss out on a few worldly pleasures - not denying their attraction but emphasising the eternal perspective and the joy that awaits us that far exceeds what we presently experience. Then the dilemma of longing for intimate fellowship with God while at the same time clinging to our own agendas and life plans. We know the answer: surrender to our King - the only option, but so often we struggle! "Long Long Way" includes this with a reference to Psalm 139 - "where can I flee from your Spirit, you know me too well" and in my humble opinion it's as good as anything R.E.M.'s produced. "Quasar" has a peculiar intro that would have suited an early Cross Rhythms tape! - but we won't hold that against you lads! Finally, the hymn like "One Of These Days" could be sung in any traditional church setting without embarrassment and along with "The Gospel Is Peace" is particularly poignant in these days of "Good Friday Agreements" and the very real pain in Kosovo.

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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Reader Comments

Posted by Don in state of Delaware @ 15:58 on Aug 31 2011

The first time I ever heard of this group was on late night TBN show; live performances. "Call Me Christian" starts off this cd songset; great song for every believer to sing out! This cd features the late Dana Key on some of the songs; guitar & bgvs. Lead vocalist Michael Johnston sings these songs with a great charge of energy. I love "Gloria" & "Long, Long Way": the latter really makes connection, the flow of the song takes me. Only the piano flavored closer, "One of These Days" would be accepted in most traditional churches, but not "The Gospel is Peace"(maybe if it was toned down). "One of These Days" is beautiful, but too short; nice cd closer. "Hold it up to the Light" has hit written all over it!: you can hear Dana Key on bgvs. The cd title is taken from
"Garland of Grace"; great lyrics. GOD Bless! -Don

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