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  CPR Volume 1
Artist:  Various
Label:  Threshing Floor Records/Righteous Sinner Records
Length:  CD 1-9 Tracks/66:23, CD 2-9 Tracks/64:54

Ah, I have died and gone to prog-rock heaven.  OK, perhaps that is a little over the top, but I have been spinning this project with amazement non-stop since receiving it.  CPR is an acronym for Christian Progressive Rock.  The project is a two CD compilation of prog-rock artists with two things in
common-the artists are Christians, and they are all lovers of progressive rock.  Behind a dreamy, symbolic cover featuring a God-like hand holding a glowing sphere you will find 18 incredible progressive rock works of art that will draw you in like a good book.  I was pleasantly surprised as I
listened to each track-there is not a clunker in the bunch!  Normally when you listen to a compilation CD you find yourself skipping to certain songs, but CPR is such an engaging project with so many sonic and lyrical highlights you will want to savor every tasty progressive musical memory.

Some background-through the wonders of the Internet many Christian prog-rock enthusiasts and musicians met up through a Yahoo group started by Bill Hammell called Cprog (join here:  Several of these like-minded musicians began a second group with the intent of advancing Christian Progressive Rock.  Guitarist Mike Tenenbaum from the group Akacia (appearing on CPR by the way!) wrote the following in the groups first post "Should there be any effort made to advance Christian Progressive Rock?...How else can we show each other mutual support?"  From that small beginning this band of Christian prog-rock pioneers forged a path of unity and single-mindedness that brought about this impressive double CD compilation.  

For the uninitiated, a progressive rock definitions may be in order. According to The Flower Kings web site (<>) this is what signifies progressive/symphonic rock:

Lenghty compositions
Odd time signatures
Many instrumental parts/solos
Storytelling songs and albums (concept albums)
Experimenting at the boundaries of what people define as music

Of course any attempt to define a genre of music is going to be limited, but this may be about as close as a description of this music as possible.  If you are familiar with groups like Yes, early Genesis, ELP, Gentle Giant, Camel, and even some Rush and Dream Theater you will have a picture of this genre. 

CPR Volume 1 boasts appearances by established progressive artists that are known in the field:  Inside Out Music artist Proto-Kaw (featuring Kerry Livgren) with the tour-de-force "Leaven" from their new Before Became After CD, Glass Hammer showcases classic keyboards and layered vocal magic in "Farewell to Shadowlands" from their latest Shadowlands CD, Neal Morse (formerly of Spock's Beard) worships with "I Am Willing", Ajalon shares "What Kind of Love?" (with bassist Randy George and an incredible guest appearance by legendary Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman), Salem Hill features their epic work "The Judgment", and Dave Beegle (guitarist extraordinaire from Fourth Estate) checks in with a flavorful instrumental "Kara Kum." Each of these artists provide unforgettable songs for the project.  The pleasant surprise is the strength of the songs from artists that are not as well known (yet): America Gomorrah, Akacia, Dwight Mitchell (from The Diary: A Rock Opera Project), Navigator, Vertical Alignment, Everlasting Arms, Revelation Project, Ten Point Ten, Eric Parker, Theophonic Cloud, Divine In Sight, and Shadowstar.  The vision and excitement these new artist provide is evident as you listen to these labors of love.  Each of the songs on CPR averages almost 7 ½ minutes, and you won't be bored for a second with these epic musical paintings!

CPR is a project that will have lovers of progressive music scrambling to find more music from these artists.  This project serves as a great introduction to established artists with a strong body of work that you will want to delve into, and as a preview to some exciting projects recently released or yet to come.  The project succeeds as an entry point for prog-rock newbies and a soundtrack for believers who have a love of the progressive rock genre.  The colorful art and booklet are attractive (hey, everyone knows great prog-rock equals great album art!), and each group gets their own page with a nice bio and further information about the artist. The amazing thing about the project is it costs a mere $16 for all of this fun and prog-rock greatness!  And guess what?  Volume 2 is already in the works!

For more information on the CPR Volume 1 project, the artists on the project, or to purchase the CD check out:

Barry Nothstine 4/14/2004


Barry Nothstine hosts Soul Frequency (, a weekly FM and Internet radio show showcasing progressive rock, instrumental rock, Christian rock, power-pop, Psychedelic rock, rock classics and more-great rock for the ages!
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