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  Charity Von
Artist: Charity Von
Label: Word Records
Times: 10 Tracks / 43:04 minutes

Charity Von steps into the Christian rock scene at a time when it is sorely lacking quality female solo artists. This scenario is especially true with Jennifer Knapp on sabbatical. Von says that her two biggest musical influences are Janis Joplin and Lauryn Hill, and she also considers Keith Green to be a role model in how he sought to always share Christ and to see the lost brought to Him. This variety of influences results in a rock sound that is also mixed with a bit of soul, resulting an interesting and enjoyable sound. 
First impressions can sometimes be deceiving. Listening to the beginning of this CD, one would swear that Charity Von is in her 20s, if not older. She has a voice with a strength that rivals Nichole Nordeman and many of the other great female vocalists in current CCM. Surprisingly, Miss Von is a young 19 years old. This recording is one that wows the listener from the start. Even looking at her photograph on the cover, some may expect a nice pop CD. Others may expect a rock CD, but very few will expect a CD as nuanced as Charity Von_

The opening track of the CD, "Weight of the World," shows listeners that they are in for a unique sounding project. It's not the screaming type of rock that is typical of many rock CDs; instead, it is a rock sound that allows the artist's voice shine. One of the highlights of this album is the third track, "I'll Be (The Pleasure's Mine)," as the artist takes the viewpoint of God telling his children that in the lowest points, He will be there for them. Things pick back up with the catchy "Take Me Through It", which is a believer asking God to rescue him from his current trials. The pace slows back down for "In Your Presence," which could find its way into youth group worship events. Some of the most rocking guitars occur on the anthem "Shine" which cries "Heaven let your light shine down." "You Make It Fine" remembers that in the down times that God "comes running. every time / Sweet waves of love my God / And you make it fine." 

One of the most catchy songs on the CD is "I Believe in Miracles," in which those in hard times say "I believe in miracles / Won't let doubt get in my way / 'Cause I believe in miracles / It's high time we start living that way." Charity Von channels a bit of Lauryn Hill on the ninth track, "Alone," where a lonely person describes the darkness of his lonely life. The only bit of hope comes at the end of the song, where she sings "But, I can see the light now from afar." The beginning of "The Message" has almost an urban feel to it.

Charity Von has a very unique sound, and hopefully she will be an artist that many check out--because when they do they will be pleasantly surprised. This CD is easily one of the top discs of the year.

Burton Wray 11/14/2004



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