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  What Light is All About 
Artist: Alathea 
Label: Rocketown Records 
Length: 11 tracks/41:46 

Cristi Johnson, Carrie Theobald and Mandee Radford are the young ladies responsible for Alathea who live together in a shack at the bottom of some Appalachian mountain. No doubt they sit out on the porch and make their beautiful blend of pop and bluegrass as the sun sets in the evenings. It all sounds idyllic doesn't it? I actually met the girls at Gospel Music Week and they are lovely and a lot of fun.

Their debut What Light Is All About was released into the post O Brother Where Art Thou? CCM Vacuum amidst the sounds of loud trumpets and overkill in the Rocketown hype department. The result is actually a pleasing album that neatly melds the two styles together into something that is pleasing to the ear but must be a marketing nightmare. Where does this fit? It's too smooth for "O Brother…" fans and too lightweight and ethereal for the CCM marketplace.

Having said that "Indian Creek" would fit nicely onto certain BBC shows here in the UK and "Faithful One" is filled with memorable poppy hooks. "Runaway Heart" sounds less Bluegrass and more New Country and it's all wrapped up in a Nashville CCM sheen provided by sessioners like Chris Donohue, Jerry McPherson and Phil Madeira.

It's all very nice and it is good to hear something that's slightly left field but for me, it doesn't quite stretch far enough away from Nashville CCM to maintain my total interest.

Mike Rimmer 10/12/2003


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