The Phantom Tollbooth

Celtic Praise
 Artist: Eden's Bridge
 Label: StraightWay
 Length: 13 tracks / 59:08 minutes
 
This project's inside cover has a note which declares, "It is our deepest hope that the Celtic Series will help to inspire you towards a place of spiritual renewal and refreshment, while helping ease the stress of life's busyness and concerns." This is exactly what you'll found within the confines of this record.
 
I chose this particular work over others in this series due to the fact that it contained two songs I thought I already knew, "Amazing Grace" and "Thy Word." As I listened to these tracks, however, the familiar lyrics were transformed to a whole other realm of musical genius. Sarah Lacy, the artist doing vocals, has a capable range, yet she never allows it to rise to ear-piercing frequencies and always seems to have complete control over her vocal inflections. Although it is puzzling that they chose to include the sound of her breathing, even that almost sounds like another instrument at times.
 
Nearly fifteen hundred years ago, Celtic Christian missionaries left Ireland and settled just off the coast of the Scottish highlands. In keeping with that rich tradition, the composers for this record utilized an expansive selection of instruments, ranging from the familiar such as acoustic guitars, finger cymbals, hand drums, tambourines, and a cello all the way to little known instruments such as caxixi, uilleann pipes, and panderio.
 
The tune which seems to best sum up the entire project is "Beginning and End."
 
   God in the darkness and God in the morning
   God in the work and the pain and the play
   Lord of all heaven and earth the creator
   God at the beginning and end of the day
   God at the beginning and end of the day
 
This type of music may not be for everyone. It certainly sounds lofty and has a way of hurling you through time and space all the way to the highlands of Scotland just to praise God. If you are searching for Celtic music, however, this is a definite keeper!
 
By Cathy Courtwright  (1/1/99)