Michael McLean

Safe Harbors

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Super composer Michael McLean does it again with this superb recording of original songs. It's hard to imagine him topping himself with each recording, but somehow he does so with each new release. This album features the voice of Katie Thompson, who was one of the stars on the album The Ark. Thompson has a well-trained voice and combines it nimbly with her drama training to create a wonderful storytelling touch with each song. Storytelling is essentially what McLean's work is all about -- each of his songs has a special tale behind them, and the songs on this album are no exception. In the opening song, "Ninety and Nine," he touches on a subject many longtime Christians face: how to recognize that Christ loves the faithful just as he loves the prodigal sons and daughters of the world. With "She Doesn't Know" and "What I See in You," he addresses such themes as women who can't recognize how beautiful or giving they are. In "Count on Me to Care" and "Safe Harbors," he challenges listeners to better recognize and respond to the trials our neighbors are facing. The incredibly sweet, funny, and touching "Match Made in Heaven" gives comfort to the long-suffering folks endlessly searching for their soul mates, while "Lullaby" is an absolutely tear-jerking tribute to empty-nest mothers everywhere. A cool feature of "Lullaby" is the juxtaposition of two contrasting styles of music to tell the story. In the song, a woman is shown hurrying down a hall, which is accompanied by a staccato piano, then the piano switches to a lyrical melody as the featured mother sings a lullaby to her child. This album is not only a fine introduction to McLean, it is also a precursor to the fame Thompson is likely to achieve. But best of all, it is a fine example of great contemporary Christian music.

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