There has never been another Christian artist who has combined poetic lyrics, passionate vocals, and a wide array of instruments to create the unique sound prevalent in Mark Heard's last three albums, Dry Bones Dance, Second Hand and Satellite Sky. The Strong Hand of Love tribute album, featuring 17 different artists, provides a fitting homage to a singer-songwriter who left the world far too soon.
The album kicks off with Kevin Max's (then known as Kevin Smith) performance of "Lonely Moon." Oddly, one of the verses from the original song was left off. Longtime associate of Heard's, Dan Russell, adds his own flair to "I Just Wanna Get Warm," while legendary Canadian folk singer Bruce Cockburn delivers a heart-felt performance of one of Heard's most beloved songs, "Strong Hand of Love." World-renowned guitarist Phil Keaggy covers "I Always Do," a song written by Heard and featured on Keaggy's 1988 album, Phil Keaggy and Sunday's Child. Randy Stonehill, one of the pioneers of Christian rock, is joined by frequent Heard collaborator Pam Dwinell Miner on "Look Over Your Shoulder." Alt-country/Americana band Vigilantes of Love perform a lively version of "Freight Train To Nowhere," while atmospheric Christian rock band The Choir add extra energy on "Tip Of My Tongue." Finishing off the tribute are respected country couple Buddy and Julie Miller covering the anthem-like "Orphans Of God," while alternative rock band Chagall Guevara (featuring Steve Taylor) reunite to perform a roaring version of "Treasure of a Broken Land."
Unfortunately, there are few duds on this album. The weakest song may be "What Kind Of Friend" by Victoria Williams. Many of the tracks on the Strong Hand of Love would later be incorporated on a 2-disc collection called Orphans of God. The only tracks left off are Bruce Carroll's "Castaway" and Rich Mullin's fantastic version of "How To Grow Up Big And Strong." Other artists featured on Strong Hand of Love include Kate Taylor, close Heard friend Pierce Pettis, Ashley Cleveland and Tonio K.JFH Reader Review: Review date: 11/14/09, written by Alex Strohschein for Jesusfreakhideout.com
Record Label: Word Records
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