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[ Canticle of the Plains ]

Track One: There You Are (Mitch McVicker)...And the CD kicks off with a nice acoustic guitar, and Mitch McVicker on lead vocals... if you don't know of Mitch... this was his "debut"... so to speak... upon meeting Rich, he was immediately cast as Frank, in Rich's mind... this opener introduces the great appreciation that St. Frank has... and how this appreciation translates into a closer walk for him with God... "as we lay our hearts before you... our hands are free to let go... and there you are... in front of me..." some really cool lyrics... makes me miss Rich just thinking about it... his thoughtful lyrics... Track Two: Cry For Freedom (Michael Tait)...this song kicks off with Tait's vocals subtly leading the way... and the overall focus of the lyrics is on the paradoxical freedom of servitude... again, there is an abundance of nature references... "if this sould of mine, could lose this weight of pride and take to flight, I'd rise above and be free"... Tait does a solid job on the vocals as the tempo stays fairly low-key with hints of "breaking free" on the chorus... wonderful song... Track Three: If I Could Make It Work (Kevin (Max) Smith)... driven by a catchy little drumbeat... this song starts out nicely... Kevin's voice is very well-suited for this track... the lyrics tell of a bar room performer expressing his desire to "live life"... perhaps intimidated by the traffic that frequents his workplace... perhaps afraid of failure... perhaps simply unsure of himself... he tells of a love that is freeing and would allow him to "fly"... if only he could make it work in life... "like it does on paper"... Track Four: In Your Hands (Leigh Bingham-Nash)... Leigh Nash (better known for fronting the band Sixpence None the Richer) lends her vocals on this track which again talks about trying to break free using love... "chains of doubt, chains of hate, never stop a man whose love is free..." the lyrics also touch on the paradox of receiving by means of giving... beautiful song... Track Five: Heaven Is Waiting (Mitch McVicker)... this song was actually released as a radio single... Mitch returns on vocals and sings of a journey... "faith is blazing this trail that I ride on"... it serves as a nice picture of an appropriate response to the calling of God... "don't ask for no lengthy explanation... When there ain't no reason quite wild enough"... you just go... you just love... and Heaven is waiting...

*** INTERMISSION (maybe it's cheating but i'm falling behind on this typing and i need to go stretch) ***

Track Six: Things Even Angels (Mitch McVicker)... it just occured to me that this CD works as a palindrome as far as lead singers on the songs... anyway... i'm sure that's not one of the things angels long to look into... i love the cadence of the verses on this one... it reminds me of Mitch's Lemonade Song, which was the first song of his that i heard... the lyrics of the song talk about how the love of God is so strong that he is willing to redeem us... and how that baffles the angels... Track Seven: Buenas Noches From Nacogdoches (Leigh Bingham-Nash)... this song has a hint of a Spanish influence... Nash's voice works well on the track... "And as the night bends to cover the day with her kisses." very cool line... though i'm really not to certain about this song... it's kinda weird... i suppose, even though it says that it's "no lullaby" it is somewhat of a song for wishing you sweet dreams... Nacogdoches, by the way, is "the oldest town in Texas"... Track Eight: Love's As Strong (Kevin (Max) Smith)... nice soft tune here... kudos for using the word "throes"... this is a very poetic song lyrically... "nothin' that's as good as love ever made a lot of sense"... and of course the references to nature... Kevin's voice is so powerful on this chorus... the vibrato works well effectually... "love has marked your soul the way the sun has marked your skin"... those are some amazing lyrics... such a well written song with the paradoxical thoughts and ideas... Track Nine: Oh My Lord (Michael Tait)... initially this song strikes me as a good fit for O' Brother Where Art Thou or the latest Jars of Clay CD... it's got that down-home feeling... and Tait's voice is extremely robust and well tailored for this track... oh my Lord... oh my Lord... topically, the lyrics are discussing the crucifixion of Jesus and the great love that was expressed by this action... hmm... i never noticed before but this journeys through the traditional Catholic "stages of the cross"... which makes sense as it is coming from the perspective of St. Francis... er... St. Frank... Track Ten: You Are All (Mitch McVicker)... Mitch closes out the CD with another nice accoustic track... kind of a psalm of praise summing up the thoughts of St. Frank... this song would actually work pretty well as a modern worship ballad... but i don't see that happening... well... as the chorus repeats and fades out... i must say that if nothing else... this CD makes me miss Rich... makes me interested in the life of St. Francis... and appeases my hunger for artistic expressions in the Christian music marketplace... very solid and thought-provoking project...

Written as a musical depicting the life of St. Francis of Assisi, Canticle of the Plains as a project, released in 1997. For more information on this project, visit the Canticle of the Plains FAQs provided by the Kid Brothers.

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