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Artist: Everlife
Label: Tovah Music
Time: 10 Tracks / 37:11 minutes

Everlife is the self-titled debut CD from sisters Amber, Sarah, and Julia Ross. The Ross sisters began singing around Christmas 1997 when Julia (9 years old at the time) announced to her sisters that they were going to start a band to share Jesus with the world. Since then they have been playing about 150 dates a year, performing wherever anyone was willing to listen. Venues include extensive missions work in Central and South America, and the sisters are planning a trip to Ecuador in November.

The past seven years have helped them develop their skills as writers, singers, and instrumentalists as they deliver an excellent debut recording. One look at the ladies and many will assume that their sound is similar to Point of Grace or Stacie Orrico, but that assessment is only half correct. Everlife delivers a sound that at times may be similar to Point of Grace but in other moments is closer to BarlowGirl or other female rock groups. This dichotomy is best evident on the first song, "Heaven Open Your Eyes," which sounds like someone combined the rock music instrumental sound of BarlowGirl with pop vocals. The second track, "Take a Ride," goes for an all out rock sound with grinding guitars and guest vocals by none other than John Schlitt, lead vocalist of Petra.

"Evidence" has more of a pop feel with harmonies that are some of the best rendered this year, making this one a standout track. This same mood continues with the fifth song, a beautiful ballad. The next few songs have a pop feel, with more depth to them than many contemporary pop songs. The rock feel returns, but not as strongly with the ninth track, "Getting Closer." The disc ends with a lovely pop ballad that deserves a great deal of radio play.

One of the few concerns with this CD is its length. Like many discs released this year, it clocks in under 40 minutes and will leave many wishing for more.

Being on a smaller label, Everlife may have trouble gaining an audience, but it shouldn't be a factor. Having a sound that mixes a bit of pop and rock may make some hesitant to pick up this CD, but it shouldn't. This disc may be from a smaller label, but it is definitely one of the top ten releases of 2004 thus far and easily one of the best debut CDs in recent recording history. This is a project that deserves a listen.

Burton Wray   09/07/2004



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