When I first popped this CD into my stereo, I knew I was in for a treat. I have enjoyed Steve Bell’s music since I met him as a child.
I enjoyed the first song and then as the CD played on I realized that although I know Steve quite well, this is not the album I expected. Steve’s albums are comfort food for my spirit and this album stirred my soul with a rawness… a keening for the reason for the season. Not the baby in the manger reason but the longing of the world for the arrival of the Saviour, both then and now.
This album takes us on a journey, musically and lyrically. Steve and his guitar, as always, are wonderful. In addition, there are striking moments with mandolin, harmonica, violin, viola, cello and bass. All combined with thought-provoking lyrics.
Beginning with Advent, ‘The Coming’, with expectant waiting and preparation for the arrival of the Lord. ‘Oh Come, Oh Come, Emmanuel‘ is infused with beautiful spoken words by Malcolm Guite and gives a whole new sound to a traditional song. We also get a wonderful classic from Steve in ‘Fashion For Me‘.
Into the Nativity, where we feast on the beautiful ‘While Shepherds Watched‘ and some beautifully poetic songs to make the heart sigh and soar.
Lastly, the Epiphany, the ‘revealing’ of Jesus. As I write this review, I’ve been trying to figure out which section touches me most. The whole CD is wonderful, but I think that the songs contained in this section are the ones that ring the most in me. While we celebrate with joy the arrival of the Saviour, we are reminded that His was not an easy life but He came anyway. That He knows that ours is not an easy life and walks with us. He calls to us.
This beautiful, poignant album has caused me to long more for Him and not the ‘Christmas’ that I am accustomed to. Not the hustle and the bustle. Not the gifts, and not even the family-time. (Though I still look forward to those things.) I am reminded of my longing for the Lord… and even more touching… of His longing for me.
Thank-you Steve and Malcolm. I will treasure this CD and it will be listened to year-round.
Please visit Steve’s website (where you can get this fantastic CD): http://stevebell.com/music-video/discography/
Also, here is Malcolm’s blog: http://malcolmguite.wordpress.com/blog/