The Phantom Tollbooth
 
 A Spy Like Me
Artist: Jonathan Day
Label: UK indie
Length: 13 tracks (12 songs)/48:46
 
This album will never make it big in "Christian music." Putting aside the fact that it is a limited edition release, the use of a certain expletive beginning with 'f' will ensure that. But then, Jonathan Day has never been one to allow anyone else to dictate what he does in his music.
 
Beneath the hand-written sleeve lies a CD full of folky melodies and interesting instrumentation (a mix of traditional British instruments, some electronic boxes of tricks, and some sounds from further away). Day's rich voice soars across his melodies and lyrics in a far more fluent way than his live set at Greenbelt suggested.
 
The phrase "Songs from the mountains and desert beneath the sheltering sky," written in gold and silver ink inside the sleeve, gives some clue as to lyrical content. The lyrics can draw pictures of broad landscapes while telling several stories, similar in many ways to traditional folk songs.
 
As independent recordings go, this one is impressive. Its range of instrumentation and the wide stream from which the imagery is drawn provide much interesting variety. This one will probably prove near impossible to find, but if it sounds intriguing then it is probably worth trying to track down.

By James Stewart (9/18/98)