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Artist: Jerimae Yoder
Label: IBB Records
Time: 13 Tracks
Released: June 2006
When you pop open the liner notes to Vertical a CD by Jerimae Yoder you read the words, "weird ambient sounds and programming" attributed to Yoder. The introduction to the album is cool. I can't think of any other word to describe it but I sure liked the sound.
Yoder is the protégée of Kent Bottenfield and Van Lawson who combine efforts to front the IBB Records label. Yoder's alternative sound mixes surrealistic digitally produced notes with his own good work on both the acoustic and electric guitars. Sandy Williams (electric guitar and mandolin), Randy Melson (bassist) and Dane Clark on drums demonstrate that this CD is much more than technical wizardry. All the musicians present themselves well. Van Lawson wears two hats for this project as producer and keys man. 
If you know Kent Bottenfield then you understand the excellent production quality, depth and musicianship that accompany this CD. Bottenfield has proved in his fledgling years as an executive producer that he is not prepared to cut corners. In speaking to Bottenfield earlier in the year he made it clear that he will not invest in a project as an artist or producer with anything less than all out effort to strive for quality.
Yoder's story is an interesting one. He grew up with a Mennonite father and Amish mother which at first blush has you wondering how he got to be a recording artist. When you hear his jagged riffs and earthy lyrics, it has you really wondering!  He discovered Christ while sitting on a park bench in Michigan. Yoder the musician was discovered by Bottenfield at Indie Heaven. 
In the midst of a rock riff we find Yoder rapping the words to "Not In Vain." Once again Yoder changes pace with the eighth groove "Free." His rich deep voice is complimented by William's mandolin. "Free" is a tapestry of beautiful word pictures created by Yoder. The song is best described as a prayerful meditation that prepares you for talking to God face to face. At 5:33 it is unlikely the song will appear on radio unless the producers have come up with an alternative shorter mix. To do so simply wouldn't do justice to "Free." Do you recall some of those epic early tunes by Pink Floyd? Nobody suggested they should be modified for radio format yet millions of fans discovered them anyway.
Bottenfield describes Yoder as an individual who has a 'heart for ministry.' All songs on this CD were written by Yoder with the exception of his rendition of the classic hymn "It Is Well." While I am accustomed to singing this favorite hymn in anthem style, I found the beginning of Yoder's interpretation to be excellent. I was enjoying the acoustic accompanied quiet styling behind Yoder's rendition when the song suddenly transitions to something resembling an offbeat country tune. The transition for this song is the only real criticism I have of Vertical. I would have preferred the continuation of a more meditative song but that is just personal taste. 

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. 


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