Closer to Home
- reviewed by Christa Banister Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2004 1 Dec
- Velvet Kiss
- Over My Head
- Nothing Compares
- Take Me Back
- Nothing to Offer
As a son of a traveling missionary, Canadian singer/songwriter Joel Willoughby absorbed plenty of culture in his youth, having called a variety of places home—including Kenya, Uganda and India. And with such varied life experiences, that well-traveled, world-weary soul can't help but show up in the songs on Willoughby's debut,
From the opening track "Pilgrim" to the contemplative closer, "Nothing to Offer," Willoughby invites the listener on a colorful journey that's a search for peace one moment ("Over My Head"), a call for reflection the next ("Nothing Compares"), and with moments of heartfelt praise in between ("Jesus").
While the lyrics certainly stray from the tried-and-true musings on the usual spiritual topics and paint more of an abstract, poetic picture on these eight tracks, it's Willoughby's assuming vocals and the disc's dreamy, lush soundscape that really steal the show on
And considering how adept Willoughby is with crafting his own music, it came as a surprise that he only regards his solo CD as a "side interest that has been developing over the past several years" as he also serves as the drummer for several area indie bands including the critically acclaimed act, Maplewood Lane. With such a stellar portfolio, you'd think he'd want to make his solo act more of a priority. But it seems that Willoughby is just as comfortable in a supporting role.
In the meantime, however, there's more music in the works. If this project serves as any indication of his potential, it should be exciting to see what he has up his proverbial sleeve.
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