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Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews

Live In London

  • Reviewed by Andy Argyrakis Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2009 31 Mar
  • COMMENTS
Live In London
Sounds like … wind instruments intersecting with a full rock band to create sounds reminiscent of Clannad, Enya and Ceili Rain. At a glance … as the leaders of the Christian Celtic scene, IONA continues to excel within its underground niche while also demonstrating cross cultural appeal.

Coming out of Scotland in 1989, IONA earned underground fame by blending Celtic pop, folk, and rock traditions (think Clannad or Enya) with an unabashed Gospel message. While commercially flying under the radar, the band has earned massive amounts of critical praise. And obviously, IONA has stood the test of time. To mark its twentieth anniversary, the group released the double-disc, career-spanning collection Live In London, which dually showcases the group's instrumental growth and ethnic appeal.

Members highlight their deft precision right off the bat in a ten-minute jam of "Woven Cord." At face value, that may seem like self-indulgence, but the song is far too intricate and engaging to ever come across as pretentious. "Wind Off the Lake" and "Irish Day" dive further into the group's indigenous instrumental arsenal (drawing instant comparisons to fellow faith-based band Ceili Rain), while "Wave After Wave" and "Treasure" are centered around Joanne Hogg's soothing yet radiant vocals. By the end of the fourteen track set list, Live In London is a fantastic career summary for longtime fans and a fitting introduction for brand new listeners.

For more information on IONA, visit www.myspace.com/ionauk.

Others worth noting: Gary Greenlee Project Gary Greenlee Project
4 Stars

Style: pop/modern rock; Lifehouse, David Cook, Lincoln Brewster, Jeremy Camp

In a nutshell: With just as potent rock pipes as remarkable ballad range, Gary Greenlee and his Missouri-bred band offer an inspiring EP of vertically charged reflections, fist-pumpers, and aggressive romps.

For more information on Gary Greenlee Project, visit www.myspace.com/garygreenleeproject.

Jason Eaton Nothing Back
4 Stars

Style: pop/contemporary; Michael English, Clay Crosse, Steven Curtis Chapman

In a nutshell: Whether he's re-arranging a classic hymn ("I Bowed On My Knees and Cried Holy") or putting his own stamp on John Waller-penned tunes, Michigan native Jason Eaton boldly stands out from today's contemporary crop. Between his glistening vocal delivery, slick production, and redemptive message, this iTunes exclusive EP is strong enough for listeners to crave a full-length CD.

For more information on Jason Eaton, visit www.jasoneaton.org.

Joey Witham The Great Homesickness
3½ Stars

Style: modern worship; compare to Reuben Morgan, Hillsong United, Starfield

In a nutshell: As a worship leader for the past ten years (including his current position at Houston's Second Baptist Church), Joey Witham longs to create an artful approach to praise. He generally succeeds with a mix of congregational rockers ("Spirit Bound") and pensive reflection ("Send Your Glory").

For more information on Joey Witham, visit www.joeywitham.com.

To be considered for "Indie Spotlight," send a CD and press kit to:
Christian Music Today's "Indie Spotlight" C/O
Andy Argyrakis
465 Gunderson Drive
Carol Stream, IL 60188

© 2009 Andy Argyrakis, subject to licensing agreement with Christianity Today International. All rights reserved. Click for reprint information.


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