Stonehill - Thirst

Monday 1st June 1998
Stonehill - Thirst
Stonehill - Thirst

RATING 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10
LABEL: Brentwood 8306104362
RELEASE DATE: 1998-07-03
RRP: £14.99

Reviewed by Mike Rimmer

Welcome back to one of Christian music's pioneers and major songwriting talents! This album has been long overdue, from making 'Born Twice', Randy Stonehill's Jesus rock debut in 1971, through to this release, Stonehill has made some great records in his career and also been responsible for some real stinkers. Thankfully 'Thirst' has all the hallmarks of a GREAT Stonehill album. A huge organic rootsy production from Rick Elias which allows Stonehill to rock out and then express his sensitive side. The album opens with the stonking "Hand Of God" featuring some wonderful trademark big country style bagpipe guitar from Stuart Adamson - absolutely awesome! "Fire" creates an intense vibe with Stonehill singing spiritual poetry over an almost eastern sounding string thing combined with some edgy rootsy instrumentation, "Sleeping" is warm and whimsical built on Stone-hill's acoustic guitar, some splendid Phil Madeira organ and Tom Howard's wonderful piano and delicate siring arrangement. Lyrically, it's a gentle whispered wake up to stir a sleeping soul to reach out to make a difference in the world. Beautiful and sad. "Father Of Lights" and "Baby Hates Clowns" both have that trademark Stonehll rockin' groove rifforama thang. Lyrically the former is a compelling celebration of being alive and the latter? Well, where would we be on a classic Stonehill recording if there wasn't one song which brought a smile to your face? "Angels Wings" however is one of the key songs on the album juxtaposing the freedom and grace God brings with the accusations of Satan echoing the eternal internal battle we all face. But there is an understated power when Stonehill sings the line. "And though Satan was shouting/He could never make a sound." A familiar Stonehill theme appears in "Every Heartbeat Is A Prayer" where Randy encourages us once more to seize every second and turn it into a significant moment before God. "Lonely House" is a heartbreaking description of a fragile marriage relationship where communication has ceased. Sung over Tom Howard's piano and strings. Randy pulls out every nuance of emotion from the lyrics in a moving solo vocal. Closing the album. "Little Rose" is a touching song based on Randy's work with Compassion and featuring some Madeira accordion and "Everything You Know (Is Incorrect)" is a rock'n'roll slide guitar test to end the album on the up! Unless of course you count Stonehill's impromptu cabaret style hilarious rendition of "Keeper Of The Bear". I laughed out loud! I've waxed long and lyrical but simply put, this is the best Stonehill album in more than a decade.

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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