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  The Christ: His Passion, Remembering the Sacrifice 
Artist: Various Artists
Label: Essential
Length: 13 tracks, 42:25 

In conjunction with the release of The Passion of the Christ, the gargantuan film that has all of America talking about Jesus, Provident Label Groups Essential Records has created The Christ: His Passion, Remembering the Sacrifice, a soundtrack of relevant songs and classic hymns.  Popular Christian artists such as Jars of Clay, Sixpence None the Richer, and Mac Powell of Third Day join forces with co-producers Steve Hindalong and Marc Byrd to quench the thirst of believers and seekers for music that reflects and expresses the myriad of emotions that Mel Gibsons film incites.

The single Yes I Will, performed by Bebo Norman and Joy Williams, is a country-tinged pop tune with a catchy hook wrapped around flavorful guitars and Williamss breathy vocals.  Marvelous Light, penned by Steve Hindalong and performed by Derek Webb, is a great sing-along song.  Phil Keaggys delivery of hymn Were You There When They Crucified My Lord? is quite apropos and memorable.

Jesus Went to the Garden contains a snippet of the God of Wonders chorus and hearkens back to the wonderful City on a Hill series created by the same team of artists and producers.   As expected, the production quality is premium.  Musically, the CD stays within the mainstream and will appeal to many audiences.  The album closes on a worshipful, even joyful note with The Stone performed by Jars of Clay.

His Passion is the first album in a trilogy that will musically cover the major events of the life of Jesus.  The Christ: His Birth, Celebrating His Coming is slated for fall 2004, while The Christ: His Life, Embracing the Truth will be released in the spring of 2005.

The liner notes include scripture references for each song, and anyone who has seen The Passion of the Christ will remember the scenes or images conjured by the appropriate song.  There is also an image from the movie in the CD booklet of Christ prone on the cross with Roman soldiers hovering over him that nails home the idea of Jesuss sacrifice.  The Christ: His Passion, Remembering the Sacrifice takes the listener through an entire gamut of emotions and is best enjoyed in a meditative mood.  

Zik Jackson  3/11/2004

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