Monday, June 9, 2008

I Turn to You - Richie McDonald

I Turn to You
Artist: Richie McDonald
Label: Lucid Artist
Length: 10 tracks/39:05 minutes

County and gospel music continue to intersect on I Turn to You by Richie McDonald. This is the latest offering from an increasing number of country artists recording inspirational songs.

What sets this apart is a modern country sound—a combination of guitar driven pop/rock and ballads with not even a whisper of pedal steel. Big guitars are heard on the majority of the songs.

The straightforward lyrics are what you would expect from country music, but the words are all inspirational. The repeated mention of what Christ has done on the cross is a welcome surprise. No stories of love lost and found, but plenty of comfort and a hint of challenge on songs about living the Christian life. A couple of songs focus on reaching out to others, but most relate to finding refuge in God during hard times.

McDonald wrote or co-wrote all but two of the ten songs. Having grown up in a Christian home, McDonald for the first time is sharing his faith through music. "I want to touch people with songs that really mean something to them. I want to do my best to sing songs that can really make a difference in someone’s life," McDonald says.

This CD reveals an accomplished singer and songwriter. One of the most beautiful moments is the tender "Faith." This is one of two more acoustic numbers. The chorus is accompanied by a lovely melody, "Faith gives you hope. Hope gives you strength. Strength gives you courage to go on each day. When you’re praying for answers to things you can’t change; when it’s out of your hands, you hold on to faith."

One of my favorites is "Handle With Prayer." It’s a classic country rocker with guitars reaching skyward. McDonald’s voice takes flight on a chorus that ends with the simple but memorable thought, "Life is fragile, handle with prayer."

Richie McDonald is best known as the lead vocalist for the country band Lonestar. After more than a dozen years with the platinum-selling group, McDonald and his wife felt like God wanted him to move on.

This marks his debut as a solo artist. This has a familiar country music sound, but McDonald does an excellent job of articulating his faith in a natural way that doesn’t let the music take a back seat to the message.
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