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Gospel of Love - Music Collection
One of the first things you notice about the new album from James Maher is the richness of image and colour in the album artwork. Beginning with the cosmic flaming heart on the cover, you are led through photographically themed pages (from the Australian photographer Dale Taylor) which offer a feast for the eyes and draw the viewer into the lyrics of the songs. The lyrics are in turn a feast for the soul – fresh, poetic and always expressing a spirituality of the heart. Set to some beautiful melodies and captured in some great vocal and musical performances, the songs come to life powerfully in these recordings. The musical production is excellent.
There are rich offerings in this album, for individual listeners and for church congregations. Several songs proclaim powerfully that the mission of the church is to ‘be God’s heart on earth’. The search for faith, the mystery of Jesus, our experience of believing, God’s self-revelation in the cosmos, the gift of the Spirit, the journey of conversion, living our faith amidst daily struggles … these are some of the themes explored in this collection. Alongside folky ballads there are some very upbeat tunes with a gospel / rock feel. Tracks like ‘Spirit of heaven’ (a joyful and energetic gathering song) and ‘Remember’ (a peace & justice song in a pop/rock style) will appeal to the young and the young-at-heart. The old-time gospel style features in a song like ‘We will draw water’, while ‘Closer than you know’ is a poignant and beautiful duet. The variety of styles on the album is refreshing, as is the consistency of lyrical and theological depth. A second instrumental CD is included, enabling the music to be used in a variety of ways in parishes, schools and homes.