Brett Raymond

First Light: Scenes From the Restoration, Vol. 1

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An absolutely stunning tribute to the men and women who sacrificed much to lay the groundwork of what is now known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Singer/songwriter and pianist Brett Raymond demonstrates a composing ability on par with up and coming contemporary Jay Richards and the excellent Somewhere in Time composer John Barry. The music on this album has a very cinematic, broad feel, giving the listener the sensation that they are watching an epic unfold before their eyes. It's a fitting treatment to a period of history in the United States that continues to puzzle and enlighten scholars and the faithful alike (1820-1830). Briefly, the history of the church began with a simple prayer from a young boy in Upstate New York. His name was Joseph Smith. Through the course of the ten years featured on this collection of songs, Smith received a number of revelations and was entrusted with gold plates that he translated through divine inspiration. The translated material became what is known today as the Book of Mormon. All controversies aside, it was a remarkable period in history by any standards, and Raymond does a marvelous job of capturing some of the excitement, joy, and sorrows encountered by Smith and his contemporaries. There are 20 tracks on this album, and every single one is well-written and well-performed. Especially touching is "Still My Servant, Still My Friend," which recounts the reassurance Smith received from Christ that even though he disobeyed his direction not to share any of the translated pages with anyone, he would still be trusted to complete the translation. It is a soothing piece that is bound to uplift even the most skeptical listener. Like Raymond's 1994 album Primarily for Grown-Ups, First Light is likely to be appreciated most by the Latter-day Saint listener. However, the production values of this entire album are so excellent that it's recommendable to anyone who enjoys music written for musicals or cinema.

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