Mike Farris, Salvation  in Lights Debuts don't come any more soulful and powerful as this!


Label: INO Records
Length: 11 tracks / 45 mins

Feeling down? Here is some highly effective medication. Like lava from the Earth's crust, intoxicating soul seeps, oozes and explodes from this superb disc. White men singing the gospel-blues hybrid doesn't come much better than this and sometimes you even catch an echo of Al Green in Farris's vocals. 

He builds on some fairly solid foundations, with classic material such as "Sit Down Servant," and "Oh Mary Don't You Weep" (which both come with a New Orleans jazz coating) as well as Thomas A. Dorsey's "Precious Lord, Take My Hand."

But this is no second-hand covers album. When Farris writes his own material, he shows a particularly strong blues tendency and knows how to pen a hook or three. "Devil Don't Sleep" has a Buddy Miller-like guitar sound, while his memorable "Selah! Selah!," like a composite of Dylan's first two Christian albums, rides on a soulful, bluesy groove.

Getting anything like an authentic sound takes a whole team. All tracks but one feature backing singers, such as Ann McCrary, to give a genuine gospel flavour, while a variety of brass sections and some hot piano keep the disc in overdrive. When it finishes, you will want even more.

Salvation in Lights sweats gospel and spans the emotional range from joyous gospel to smouldering blues. This no-risk purchase has to be in the year's (2007) top ten!

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