Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews

Sweet Comfort Band

  • Devlin Donaldson
  • 1998 1 Dec
Sweet Comfort Band
Starting as a rock band, Sweet Comfort Band went on to set the stage for pop rock music in the Christian genre', setting a standard and creating a sound that haven't really been matched since. We find their roots going back to the mid 70's when Christian music was in its infant stages and we continue to hear their voice and influence today.

The four members of Sweet Comfort Band, brothers Rick and Kevin Thomson (bass and drums respectively), Randy Thomas (guitar and vocals), and {{Bryan Duncan}} (keyboard and vocals) came together in Southern California in the years immediately following the Jesus Movement. The Thomson's were heavily into blues-rock, Randy Thomas into Top 40 pop, and Bryan Duncan heavily influenced by singer-songwriters, especially Elton John.

Through extended jam sessions they began to hone their music into a unified sound that was quite unlike anything else in Christian music. With borrowed money they recorded their first album, which was released on Maranatha!. Produced by Jonathan David Brown ({{Twila Paris}}, {{Petra}}, {{Steve Taylor}}) and Tommy Coomes (Love Song), the eponymous album leaned more toward a rock sound but definitely was a foreshadowing of the style they would develop in the years to come.

Their second album, the landmark ==Breaking The Ice==, set a pattern that Sweet Comfort followed for the rest of their career, creating jazz-tinged, pop rock music, they used top flight producers (Bob Wilson of Seawind) and packaged their product so distinctively that one look would identify a project as a Sweet Comfort Project (4 of 6 album covers done by illustrator Kernie Erickson).

From 1978 till their last recording in 1984, Sweet Comfort set a very high standard for their music, working with producers like Tom Stipe, David Diggs, Jack Joseph Puig and Dino Elefante. And as the years rolled by they toyed with music that leaned more toward jazz (==Breaking The Ice==) then pop (==Hearts of Fire== and ==Cutting Edge==) then rock (==Perfect Timing==). But through all the experimenting, Sweet Comfort that embodied the ability present in great bands, to always have their essence included in their music. Their sound, no matter style, had that distinctive Sweet Comfort sound.

Breaking up in the mid-eighties, guitar player, singer and songwriter Randy Thomas joined forces with studio vocalist {{Bob Carlisle}} and pre-Sweet Comfort Band musical compatriot, Sam Scott, to form Allies. Altogether, Allies released six albums. Thomas and Carlisle also found success as songwriters for other, penning the 1992 country music song of the year for Dolly Parton "Why'd You Come In Here Looking Like That." Allies called it quits in 1993. Since Thomas has worked with a country band in Nashville called "Alias Smith and Jones." Thomas also co-wrote the remarkable crossover smash, "Butterfly Kisses" for his longtime partner Bob Carlisle's solo project. He also continues to write and record his own music.

{{Bryan Duncan}} launched into a highly successful solo career that has seen his music reflect even greater dimensions of his personality. The music has ranged from comedic to manic, fast-paced compositions to his distinctive, reflective ballads. He has participated in the ==My Utmost== project and followed up with his own album full of devotional songs.

The Thomson brothers have gradually faded from the Christian music scene. For a time, Kevin was involved in the merchandising end of the business but currently runs a specialized construction company in Orange County. Rick Thomson worked for his contractor's license and he also now has a construction company in southern California.