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Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews

You and the Evening Sky

  • reviewed by Christa Banister Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2008 1 Apr
You and the Evening Sky
Sounds like … piano-driven pop in the vein of Sara Groves, Sara Bareilles, Jonatha Brooke, and Joy Williams.At a glance … With articulate musings on life and faith highlighted by progressive musical template, Alli Rogers continues to do the independent scene proud.Track ListingCarry A Light
Don't Wash Your Hands of Me
Closer to the Moon
At Sea
The Things We Can and Cannot Keep
I Caught Sight
Baby I Believe in You
How Long Until We Get There
New Today
Come Now My Love

As with trends in the fashion industry, what's considered popular musically is most definitely cyclical. And for female artists these past couple of years, it's been cool to be the sassy country ballardeer (Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift) or the pop singer with the ever-so-slight rocker chick attitude (Kelly Clarkson, Avril Lavigne). But now thanks to the likes of Sara Bareilles and Colbie Caillat, among others, the female singer/songwriter is back in vogue in a post Lilith Fair world.

Which can only help a plaintive folk/pop artist like Alli Rogers to gradually rise up from the independent scene. With a slew of performances under her belt, plus her burgeoning confidence as a songwriter, Rogers only gets better with each project. Nearly two years after 2006's The Day of Small Things, Rogers returns with a collection of songs that are equally as compelling musically as lyrically.

Whereas Small Things lagged a little from a few too many predictable girl-with-a-guitar moments, You and the Evening Sky has far more distinction from the get-go. Not only does the bright piano accompaniment add surprising dimension to her repertoire, but the overall craftsmanship doesn't follow the typical pop formula. Instead of exploding into the typical bombastic power chorus one expects from a radio single, opener "Carry a Light" proves to be just as catchy with a more subtle build to the call to be a light in a dark world. And whimsical musical touches, not to mention the fluid, understated production from Don Chaffer (Waterdeep), make the nature-infused imagery on "Closer to the Moon" and "At Sea" come to life in a vivid, highly listenable way.

Like Rogers' previous efforts, the true highlights are her astute observations on the Christian life. Inspired by everything from one of Brennan Manning's speaking gigs to a haunting photograph of a deteriorating ship, Rogers finds inspiration in the unexpected, which makes standout songs like "Don't Wash Your Hands of Me" and "The Things We Can and Cannot Keep" all the more rich and compelling. Much like the work of Sara Groves, Alli Rogers' lyrics make listeners think, and smart songwriting is something that never goes out of style.

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