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Slow down as you approach the gate, and have your change ready....
Label: Sparrow Records
Time: 10 Tracks / 40:20
Released: January 2006
It seems as though Avalon has been around as long as Adult Contemporary music has been a part of the Christian music scene. During that time they have captured the hearts of millions of fans worldwide, won numerous awards and the group members have changed on several occasions. The current version of Avalon consists of Greg and Janna Long, Jody McBrayer and Melissa Greene. The group's newest offering is Stand.
For the most part there isn't a lot on this album that is going to make you go whoa that's really different. That is a good thing. The opening track "The Other Side" gets back to a place where Avalon really shines a strong (not mellow) pop beat that moves along briskly.
"Love Won't Leave You" has a melody in that possesses that lighter "Peter Pumpkin Head" (Crash Test Dummies) lilt that bids you to sing along with it. In contrast to the lighter melody stands a really rocking out bridge. Now this is a little different sound for Avalon.
With all due respect to Jody McBrayer and Greg Long who possess two of the best voices in the industry today the ladies are the ones who really make this album work. Janna Long and Melissa Greene are not good they are outstanding with their contributions to "Orphans Of God" and "Somehow You Are". I would buy this album just to listen to Long's solo and passionate lead vocals as she works her magic on the lyrics of "Orphans of God". Greene's range should have vocal coaches salivating and telling their students this could someday be you.
I have always been a sucker for patriotic songs or songs that seek to unite the kingdom of God so it should come as no surprise that I am going to tell you to pay particular attention to the sixth track "We Will Stand" a song that we owe to the writing abilities of Russ Taff. Taff who needs no introduction to fans or music professionals also makes a guest appearance on "We Will Stand."
Avalon has endeared themselves to their fans over the years for their ability to select and perform songs that truly lift up Christ. This CD is no different. It won't be long before worship bands from local churches are playing "Jesus."
Standing in contrast to the song "Jesus" is "Where Joy And Sorrow Meet" a gentle prayer that offers hope and comfort;
There's a place of quiet stillness 'tween the light and shadows reachThe violins of David Davidson and David Angell combine with cellist Anthony Lamarchina as they lead a fine strings section through the finely woven tapestry of "Where Joy And Sorrow Meet". Davidson created the strings arrangements for this CD.
"The song "Jesus" encompasses what we are as a group, why we make music," McBrayer says. "We sing these songs every weekend to let people know about Christ, the price He paid for us and how much He loves us, no matter what we've done or where we've been."
The eighth groove belongs to "I Survive" that really is a departure from recent Avalon outings and emulates the pop/rock of ZOEgirl. It is a more aggressive song and looks good on the group.
I'll take my 'stand' and recommend Avalon's Stand. If you have been a fan you won't be disappointed. If you are not familiar with the group's music ask your local music store if you can listen to a free spin I think you will be hooked.
By Joe Montague, exclusive rights reserved
Joe Montague is an internationally
published journalist / photographer. His ministry is dedicated to the memory
of his late son Kent David Montague who went to heaven at the age of 18.
All copyright and distribution rights remain the property of Joe Montague.