Monday, April 23, 2007

Speak to Me - Geoff Moore

Veteran music artists are sometimes overlooked in favor of newer ones. It’s a mistake to not consider the experience of someone like Geoff Moore, who has been making music since 1984. Much of it was with his rock band The Distance. In 1999 he went solo with the release of Geoff Moore, and the last time we heard from him was 2002’s A Beautiful Sound.

Seasoned artists reflect a maturity that can only come with time. That alone makes Speak to Me worth checking out.

Despite the use of some cover songs, Moore’s wisdom is reflected in the songs that he helped write and in his choice of music. He is a singer-songwriter at the height of his powers. An organic, roots-rock sound (reminiscent of Bruce Springsteen and Bob Seeger) works well with lyrics that reflect a lifetime of walking with God. These songs touch on many aspects of the Christian life. There’s the brokenness and passion of the title song and the world-weary hope of heaven in "When I Get Where I’m Going," which includes guest vocalist Christy Nockels.

"Your Day" may be the best of all. An echoing guitar leads a melodic adult contemporary sound marked by lyrics that are full of confident expectation and faith. "If I find victory or pain / If it’s in sunshine or driving rain / I will trust you and do the next thing." Moore admits that the last phrase comes from a favorite thought from Oswald Chambers, "When faced with uncertainty and unsure what to do next, he (Chambers) encourages us to ‘trust God and do the next thing.’" This is the ultimate start-your-day song.

Over the years a number of artists have recorded songs about our obligation to the poor. Petra’s "Hollow Eyes," Michael Card’s "Distressing Disguise," and the Randy Stonehill/Phil Keaggy classic, "Who Will Save the Children," are a few that come to mind. We can add to the list "Every Single One," another poignant reminder: "In a world away from luxury / Is where I found prosperity / Where greater love laid down His life / For the orphan and the widowed wife." It springs from the many years that Geoff has worked with Compassion International. The song is graced with beautiful violin playing. A more electric and programmed version is included as a hidden track.

Moore does excellent covers of two familiar songs: "He Knows My Name," a duet with Kendall Payne, and an acoustic "This Is My Father’s World."

"So Long, Farewell (The Blessing)" is a raw and musically raucous goodbye song. That same spirit of musical abandon comes through on the chorus of the title song. Loud and furious, they lack some of the distinction heard elsewhere on the recording.

The album closes with the tender and beautiful "Erase," a plea to be more like Christ. "Erase all the distance between us / replace all the space with Your presence."

Moore’s maturity shines through every aspect of this release. His first Rocketown Records recording shows that experience is worth a lot.
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