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Erasers On Pencil
Artist: Ceili Rain
Label: Cross Driven Records
Length: 12 tracks/54:25

"And now for something completely different."  Ceili (say "KAY-lee") Rain, led by songwriter-musician Bob Halligan, Jr., brings a freshly energized sound to the contemporary Christian music scene.  Billing itself as a "Celtic-rock band," the troupe offers happy acoustic music with a decidedly European flavor.  Ceili Rain achieves its unique sound by utilizing unusual instruments such as uilleann pipes, tin whistles, accordions, violin, and an emphasis on Irish music.

Erasers On Pencils, the group's fourth album, opens with the aptly-titled "Jigorous," a vigorous jig that sets a joyful tone that continues throughout the whole disc.  "God Done Good," despite having a grammatically-challenged title, is a palatable story of Halligan's journey into marriage and parenthood.  The title cut is the most fun, lyrically and musically.  It has a danceable island feel and it is also a good demonstration of the musical skill present in the band.  Few of the twelve songs, like "It Only Tickles When You Do It," fail to connect either musically, lyrically or both.

While some listeners may need a few spins of the disc before becoming accustomed to Ceili Rain's style, it really is quite catchy.  Halligan wrote or co-wrote all of the songs on the album, and his skilled craftsmanship gives a glimpse into his mind and heart as an artist.  Some of the chord movements are reminiscent of Third Day or even Jars of Clay, while Halligan's voice vaguely resembles Phil Keaggy's.  Keep in mind that these comparisons are somewhat stretched, because Ceili Rain truly is in a category by itself and there is not much in the market to compare it to.

Erasers On Pencils will connect with fans of the band's earlier work, and those willing to try something new will find themselves "getting jiggy" with Ceili Rain's folksy sound.

Zik Jackson 11/4/2001
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