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You Bring the Day
Artist: Thirsty Child
Length: 11 tracks/48:08 min.
I mused to somebody recently that alternatives in Christian music today are absolutely astounding. Whatever your musical pleasure, thereís a good chance itís available. Just over 30 years of evolution in what used to be called "Jesus Rock", has brought us to a place where sonic appetites in secular music can nearly always be satisfied and matched in CCM.
Take the southern rock genre, for instance. If you have an affection for the likes of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Molly Hatchet, 38 Special, Blackfoot, ZZ Top, and The Allman Brothers Band, the odds are good that you will appreciate You Bring the Day, the sophomore independent release from Thirsty Child. You Bring the Day is a solid, impressive work. Mike Ash, Rob Morris, Andy Sarver, and Louis Encardis arenít on a mission to mine new musical territory, but consistently execute worthy musical nuggets that propagate more emotion with each listen.
You Bring the Day joins the long line of worship albums on the market. In addition to acoustic and electric guitars, mandolin, and vocals, Mike Ash writes the songs. Every tune in this collection refers to God in the second person as if written for a book of prayers. If Ash randomly chose a chapter in the book of Psalms, lacing it with southern rock riffs, if would be right at home on You Bring the Day_
At least three members of Thirsty Child work in an organization called YWAM (Youth With A Mission) which is now one of the largest interdenominational and international Christian ministries, with over 12,000 volunteer staff and thousands more affiliated workers based in over 800 locations in over 135 countries. Thirsty Childís occupational choice lends credibility to these praise and worship songs. Full-time mission work isnít any holier than delivering donuts, because God places his children in diverse positions. It is though, an indication that these men are sincere about their walk with God. For me, that makes their music resonate more intensely than it otherwise might.
Thirsty Childís debut is called Dying to Live and like You Bring the Day, features worship and praise songs. Itís a theme Mike Ash comes by honestly. He was active in leading worship at his church in Van, Texas. Apparently, that avocation in Texas has ceased. Although the band was formed in Texas, it is now based in Connecticut, a peculiar location for a southern rock band.
In preparing for this review, I listened to the cd at least 15 times. So far, I havenít been able to get one thought out of my head: Thirsty Child plays too slow. The music is passionate and moving but slower than a sick Mexican jumping bean. Nearly every song on this endeavor would benefit from a few dashes of old-fashioned Texas hot sauce. Too much velocity would diminish the lyrics. As it is, too little speed makes the music plod along like a truck navigating a Texas-sized mud puddle without benefit of 4 wheel-drive. If the engineer in charge of mastering did nothing more than turn the pitch knob a notch or two to the right, this would have been a vastly improved project.
Thirsty Child doesnít employ the dueling lead guitar technique of some southern rock bands. Thatís a good thing. Instead, we get relaxed and pretty acoustic flavoring. Thirsty Child is stripped-down, organic southern rock. If we give up anything in multiple tracks cluttered with meaningless instruments (we donít), we get it back and more in the humble, contrite praise and worship lyrics. Ash extols Godís attributes, cries out for help, and proclaims hope.
I would like to see the group stretch outside of the worship arena to other creative songwriting approaches which might include humor, personal stories, or even topics not explicitly related to God. You Bring the Day is solemn and weighty. In fairness, I guess thatís what a worship album should be. But, two worship albums are enough for now. Iíd like to hear what else the gang has in their bag of tricks. I think weíll be pleasantly surprised.
Curt McLey 1/18/2002