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Hope is Alive
Artist: Tom Frye 
Label: Sound Shed Records 
Length: 11/46:02

In several ways, Hope is Alive seems a lot like a Rich Mullins project. Several of the Kid Brothers of St. Frank (Michael Aukofer produces) make guest appearances, dulcimer is present on a number of tracks, Phil Keaggy plays on "Tears Like Rain," there is an appreciation for Creation and the Creator, a hymn gets redone, and the vocals aren't the biggest strength on the disc. 

"Lifter of My Head" could be an outtake from A Liturgy, A Legacy, and a Ragamuffin Band in regards to style. "Revival" shows Frye's best vocals, coming in somewhere between John Hiatt and The Band. "Oh How I Love Jesus" features Mitch McVicker and Brad Layher, and feels very much like something Mullins would have improvised in concert. 

Lyrically, Frye also straddles the gaps between faith and fear, of feeling secure in Christ and feeling like it could disappear in a moment. "Edge of Grace" illustrates this idea:

So Lord don't let me stray too far from here
Where I might be safe from it all
'Cause the comforts of the ground less near
Only seems to breed fear of the fall
Here at the edge of grace.
"Broken" has a similar theme, and "Tears Like Rain" portrays a woman trying her best to believe in Jesus. Again, much like Rich Mullins' work, Hope is Alive is filled with thoughtful and truthful lyrics, while employing an Appalachian/Irish soundtrack that is worth the price of admission. 

Brian A. Smith
6 May 2007



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