The Phantom Tollbooth

Scott Faircloff
Artist:  Scott Faircloff
Label: Pamplin Music
Time: 10 tracks/47:24

Scott Faircloff’s self-titled debut covers a variety of musical sounds. It mixes his love for acoustic-based modern rock artists such as  Toad the Wet Sprocket, Michael Penn, and Jars of Clay with classic British pop artists like The Beatles and Elton John. Most of the songs, however, fall into one of two categories: dramatic ballads or Beatlesque pop.  The ballads “Hearts of Passion,” “Long Journey,” “When God Whispers,” and “Under Your Wing” all speak of Faircloff’s deep love for God. “Hearts of Passion” begins with typical romantic human thoughts, then turns into a song of wanting to love God more than the things of this life. According to Faircloff, "Long Journey" began as a "creative journey"  experimenting with a fresh mix of poetry and music, and ended up being a song of salvation.

Faircloff’s favorite revelation of truth on this record (the comfort of knowing a sovereign God) is found in “Under Your Wing.” "Wrecking Ball" captures the feelings most of us have about life at one point or another, with lyrics of the type that pull you in and keep you singing along:

This track also shows Faircloff's interest in Toad the Wet Sprocket, sounding very similar to quite a few songs of theirs.

In keeping with the project’s theme, “Sleepy Dreamer” compels the listener to forget about not being perfect yet and just make oneself available to God and to others. The most Beatlesque of them all--“Ultimate Sign”--combines all the lyrics, songwriting, and vocals that we would find in a mop-top tune. The major difference is that it takes these things and focuses them on God’s sovereignty in Faircloff’s relationships. “Frog’s Lament” is by far my favorite song. Yes, Faircloff does compare himself to a frog, but the song’s attraction is possibly because of this link with the fairytale we all learned of as children. Or perhaps it is the song's amazing beat.

Now residing in Nashville, Faircloff is continuing his work in the music ministry, simply hoping to create songs to share with others. This project receives help from many, including John Elefante. It is a solid work, but the best sounds definitely come in the faster numbers. It will be interesting to see what is in the future for this songwriter/musician.

By Cathy Courtwright (8/16/98)

Scott Faircloff's first project, produced by Dino and John Elefante, is fairly well-crafted.  There is a good variety of musical styles represented here: folk, pop, and rock. Some of the vocal arrangements are reminiscent of the Beatles--John Lennon, in particular.
Faircloff's interesting voice saves it from being a run-of-the-mill endeavor.  He can sing a ballad, a praise chorus, and a rock 'n roll number quite well.  The tempos of the songs vary without being abrupt or distracting.  The melodies are solid and catchy.
All the songs are written by Faircloff.  The majority of them are prayers to Jesus.  One of these, "Fear of the Lord" (the only song on the CD produced by Faircloff himself), would do as a praise chorus.
Many of the songs speak of a  desire for deeper intimacy with God. In the song "Hearts of Passion,"  Faircloff sings: 

     Here in my heart, Lord, I hear You calling
     For the quiet hour, and for the secret place
     Where You and I can be in love forever
     I know Your heart is longing that all
     Would seek Your face with
     Hearts of passion, hearts of fire
     Hearts that long to love You more
     Than the passions of this life
     And I want to know You
     Like You want to know me
     Here and now and forevermore...
 It will be a treat to see what God does next, musically, in Scott Faircloff.
By Elisa Musso (11/14/98)