Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Prodigal Comes Home - Michael English

A redemption story in song

The Prodigal Comes Home
Artist: Michael English
Label: Curb Records
Length: 11 tracks/44:10 minutes

The Prodigal Comes Home by Michael English is a redemption story told in song. English didn’t write the songs, but they fit his life since his fall from grace in May of 1994. One week after receiving four Dove awards following the release of Hope (1993), English confessed to having an extramarital affair with Marabeth Jordan, a singer with First Call. He returned the awards, and the fallout came quickly, including the breakup of his marriage.

By the time of the release of Heaven to Earth (2000), English could speak of all that God had done in his life, which included overcoming an addiction to painkillers. His restoration went a step further when on August 29, 2002, English married Marcie Stambaugh, the daughter of a pastor. In May of 2004 they were blessed with the birth of Issabella Grace (Bella).

English’s new life is reflected in these songs, which give voice to what it feels like to have a second chance. The lyrical content is general enough to make it possible for anyone to relate to the songs. Those struggling with different kinds of problems should find encouragement, hope and comfort. Each song is a variation on the theme of a prodigal son’s return.

Most tracks are mid-tempo in the adult contemporary style. "Sanctuary" and "A New Day" are more pop rock oriented. "The Only Good In Me" and the gospel-flavored "Have a Little Faith in Me" are among the best for their refreshing simplicity. Some of the more dramatic songs showcase English’s considerable ability.

He sings his heart out throughout this release. His voice has a pleasant touch of soul—a little like Michael Bolton and Michael McDonald. It sounds so natural. The songwriting, musicianship and production are also excellent.

This may be Michael English’s best recording. It’s a strong return.
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