Full Circle: A Celebration of Songs and Friends
- reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2004 1 Mar
- In the Light – Sara Groves, Bela Fleck, Phil Keaggy
- God in the World
- Down in the Lowlands – Michael Tait, Avalon, Darwin Hobbs
- One Man Gets Around – tobyMac, Sam Ashworth
- Lie Down in the Grass – Steve Taylor, Margaret Becker
- Every Heartbeat – Sixpence None the Richer
- Big Man's Hat – Kevin Max
- The Way of Love – Sarah Masen, Out of the Grey
- Almost Threw It All Away – Brent Bourgeois
- Insult Like the Truth – Jon and Tim Foreman
- Through It All
- Monkeys at the Zoo – Jimmy Abegg, Mike Roe, Aaron Smith
- No Place Closer to Heaven – Bart Millard
If you're unfamiliar with the musical legacy of Charlie Peacock, you're overdue. If you're too young to remember, it's time for a history lesson. Simply put, few have had the diverse level of influence upon Christian music over the last 20 years as Peacock. As an up-and-coming artist from California, Peacock committed his life to Christ in his 20s and continued on to a highly acclaimed artistic career, first as a member of alternative rock band Vector and then as a solo artist. He's since become a top-notch producer, a respected author, and even a record label exec, responsible for discovering Sarah Masen and Switchfoot.
Regarding his songwriting, there's no mistaking it. Few artists in Christian music are able to balance so much in their music without sacrificing creativity, spirituality, or melodic sensibility. Fellow artist and producer Steve Taylor expresses it best in reminiscing over Peacock with Vector: "So many bands … confuse sincerity with musicality, but [they] were sincere
Don't just take my word for it. Check out Peacock's new 20-year retrospective for yourself.
More intriguing are the album's other eleven tracks. Even on his own tribute album, Peacock takes a creative approach, neither content with simply re-recording his old favorites, nor to simply let other artists sing his songs. Instead, playing off a sense of community, Peacock does both, revisiting his eleven biggest and best known songs, and singing along with many of the artists he's had the pleasure of producing or performing with over the years. Somehow, he manages to make the album less about him and more about a body of believers singing insightful songs about the Christian life.
The guest appearances are thoughtfully and poignantly matched. For example, "Almost Threw It All Away" is sung with Peacock's longtime friend Brent Bourgeois, both having shared a past of substance abuse before coming to Christ. There's even a little Vector reunion on "Monkeys at the Zoo," featuring Jimmy Abegg and Aaron Smith along with Mike Roe (The 77s). The track is more interesting for those involved than as a remake, and I imagine Switchfoot might have made it more interesting; Jon and Tim Foreman do lend a new Beck-styled production to "Insult Like the Truth."
Perhaps some will be frustrated over the shared spotlight between artists, seeing it as distracting or at least limiting their artistic contributions. Nevertheless, this is a delightful celebration of artistry and community. I've often dreamed about heaven with the hope of one day playing along with the great Christian artists in music history, where we can all join together in an endless supply of songs and talent to glorify God.