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Formerly
Artist:  Arthur Alligood
Label: Worship Circle Records
Time: 12 tracks / 47:45

Thoughts of Counting Crows are hard to pass up while auditioning Formerly, Arthur Alligood's release on Worship Circle Records.  The label is the pet project of Ben Pasley from Enter the Worship Circle fame ­ the pairing with Waterdeep that took off like wildfire and was a sort of freestyle, “record it while we sing it the first time” album.  The spontaneity captured in that album propelled it along and helped it to stand out amongst a field flooded with cookie cutter worship albums.

With that fact in mind, it makes a lot of sense why Alligood has been picked up by this label.  His "Mr. Jones" sound recalls the Crows as his lyrics are unfettered by rhymes, yet full of reason.  The meaning here is that it's a rare occasion on this disc when the phrases end up rhyming with anything others in the song.  The lack of rhyme can be a little irritating, then at other times it feels like you are having a comforting conversation with your best friend about old times with simpler pleasures.

There is one moment in this disc, on "Coming Home"; just Alligood's vocals and an electric guitar on subtle overdrive, that instantly will send tears from your eyes.  Alligood is singing about what it's like going to be like to heaven, our true home and he very naturally says that: “Our home is beyond the blue skies, can't see it with our eyes ­ but I know it's there.  Dad, He's been building our homes, with driveways paved with gold...”

When was the last time you heard anyone in your Christian circle refer to God as 'Dad'?  This is basically what 'Abba Father' means, which sounds all spiritual and theological.  But really it means 'Daddy'.  Try it for yourself.  Think about God as 'Daddy' just for a minute.  Have you ever done that before?  If your relationship with God is growing cold, it's going to be hard to do this without being challenged to spend more time with Him so that name, Dad, is genuine and true.  Thanks for that, Alligood.

Alligood later in "Fellas" refers to good times with an old band, playing songs for 'Dad' and it hits again. This is a man with a very deep love felt from God.

Not too many other tear-jerker moments on the CD, but these references to Dad are enough to bear for the moment.  Not to say there isn't more lyrical magic-­each song has a little gem to reveal.  Another favorite is “birds are singing what sounds like Aaron Copland” in "Winter and Spring'."

Musically, what is served up is quite sparse, with at most an acoustic or electric guitar, sometimes a drum kit, sometimes a djembe, every once in awhile a bass and piano.  There is a comfortable 'floppyness' to the sound; like an old pair of jeans ­ relaxing in 'your spot' on the couch.  Some might be put off as there really is no fancy production so if you are wanting for guitars ten layers deep, over a percolating percussion loop, stay clear from here.

To get a larger appeal, Alligood could work on rhyming his lyrics more often than not, and some of the tunes could use more instrumentation ­ but then it wouldn't sound like you were auditioning your best friend's very personal songs like this CD seems to make one feel.

Scott Lake 7/11/2005


 
 
 
 

 

 
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