The Phantom Tollbooth

Kinda Like Heaven
Artist: Various Artists, Live from Koinonia Koffeehouse
Label: Tears of Joy Music
Lenght: 10 tracks/62 minutes

Located in the San Francsico Bay area, the Koinonia Koffeehouse has provided a place for local Christian bands to perform in a small, intimate setting. Kinda Like Heaven is a sampling of that music, recorded live.  Representing a variety of different musical genres, it is an eclectic journey which starts with the jazz-fusion sounds of Zamar and continues through the blues of the Good News Blues band and the punk sounds of 2 Car Garage.

Zamar's "Sunrise Prayer" opens the cd.  An instrumental piece, it is a meditative, peaceful song that falls lightly on the listener's ear with a wonderful sax solo and some nice percussion. "Zamar" is a Hebrew word that means to worship God with your instrument and voice, and although there are no vocals on this song, one is easily drawn into worship as the band brings to mind a beautiful sunrise through the music.

Other highlights include some great R&B sounds from Bard Sherman and a couple of good blues tunes from the bands Good News Blues and Thryce Denied. "Snake Bite Medicine" is a fun rock number with an Indian twist by the band Shadrach, and the bands Sure Conviction and Eleventh Hour both contribute interesting rock tunes with "Power Of One" and "Thy Will Be Done," respectively.

Some of these bands show more maturity or musical artistry than others, but all display a love for God.  Venues such as Koinonia Koffeehouse deserve the support of the listening public because they give these artists the chance to perfect their craft.  A sampler such as this gives the listener not only the opportunity to take the music home after a fine evening, but also the chance to support other local musicians.  Some of these artists will continue to grow in their music, others might be picked up by a label at some point, but all will have had the chance to share their message.

Janet Friesen