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- Songs To Heal a Nation
Artist: Kerry Patric Clark
Label: MMI Records
Length: 13 tracks 57:58
Ohio based Kerry Patric Clark was a member of the New Christy Minstrels and here he presents a set of songs in response to the tragedies of September 11th. Obviously these are songs of inspiration and patriotism to bring encouragement so you get inspirational hymns like the stirring "How Great Thou Art" which begins in understated fashion and builds to a little bit of a conclusion but not the big finale I was expecting.
The opening "Ground Zero" gives a view of September 11th from the viewpoint of a New York fireman delivered in honest style with Kerry Clark's gritty voice. Obviously part of the inspiration in this album is the renewed sense of patriotism that pervades the USA post September and so you get "America You Are My Home" and "Star Spangled Banner" that wave the flag. Then there's a version of Darlene Zschech's I Will Run To You and "Build a bridge" which bring about a totally different type of inspiration rooted in God.
All of this album is delivered in a gentle country style that on the whole manages to avoid any over the top horrible sentiment but there was one song that had me reaching for the sick bucket. "Little Angels" features a duet between a mother and daughter as they discuss September 11th. Please!!! This is the definite low point of the album. Maybe it's because the two voices don't blend and the little girl is badly out of tune. Maybe it's that the lyrical response to the tragedy and the talk of little angels just seems a so twee. In a Disney world it might be ok but living in real life, this song is so sweet there should be a warning on the album cover because it could kill diabetics!
The album closes with a letter written by Neale Donald Walsch, the author of Conversations With God. The letter outlines possible responses to September 11th and encourages the listener to choose to respond to attacks from the enemy with love rather than negativity. Then Kerry sings his song "Choose Love" to bring everything to an optimistic upbeat conclusion.
911…Songs To Heal A Nation succeeds in its purpose to create inspiring music that encourages the listener. Kerry manages to cover songs or pen his own that address issues with spiritual clarity. Musically, apart from the criticisms above, Kerry has done a pretty fair job.
Mike Rimmer 7/28/2002