This week I am deviating from my normal musical interests and reviewing an album from a musician I have never listened to before this past week. Shawn McDonald is a Christian artist and has been recording with Sparrow Records since August of 2004. I did some research for some bio info, which can be found at Wikipedia, and found that his life has had an amazing turn. Shawn grew up in Eugene, Oregon. He had been abandoned by his natural parents and raised by his grandparents. He grew up too quickly and roughly ten years ago or so, he found himself in a real mess. He says “name a drug, he was either selling it or using it.” Then one day as a young man he found himself facing several drug charges. He says in desperation he cried out to God. He attributes his transformation totally as a work of God. He says that “the way I am now and the way I was then is like night and day. I was a closed shell and now God has created in me a transparency.” I found this transparency and passion for God evident in his song writing.
The album by Shawn McDonald is “Roots“. It was released on March 11th, 2008. The album begins with “Clarity”, a gentle acoustic jazz styled ear candy experience. The song has a nice slide guitar solo close to the end of the track. This is a very cool song. The next track is called “Captivated”. It is a beautiful song of worship and expression for the Creator of all. The bridge verse sweetly sings:
The blood in my veins and my heart you invade
The plants how they grow and the tree and their shade
The way that I feel and love in my soul
I thank you my God for letting me know
Track number three, “Wash Me Clean”, starts off with a neat nylon stringed riff that blends into a nicely mixed orchestral piece. The song has a great flow and Shawn’s vocals are well produced into the acoustic blend. The next song, “Shadowlands”, contains lyrics from the 23rd Psalm. The reggae influenced musical style, including the hip hop vocal style, is reminiscent of Paul Wright, another unique Christian artist.
Album highlights include “Clarity”, “Captivated”, “Shadowlands”, “Waltz in 3” is a very nice piece of music filled with his patented nylon string guitar under a small orchestra of classical instruments. “Roots”, which is the title track, is based on Psalm 1.
1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; 2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. 3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither.
“Greed” is about what? Come on, guess? The song is eclectic with the use of instruments that include an upright bass, a banjo, a brass horn, and harmonica. It comes off very well. “Time” is based on the biblical book of Ecclesiastes. There is a time for everything. “Hallelujah” is a beautiful song based on the beatitudes found in Matthew 5. Shawn’s vocals on this one sound as if he is breathing them out instead of singing. It is a quiet and contemplative song.
I was given this album to check out and see what I thought. As I mentioned before, it is not the normal musical style (headbanging)I tend to review or listen to. But, I have to honestly say that I am enjoying it. Yes, it is occupying a slot in the car CD player. I will be looking for more music from Shawn McDonald in the future. I give “Roots” by Shawn McDonald a BarryDean4Christ four and a half stars out of five.
Please check out the video for the song “Greed” below. This is from the album reviewed above.
HT – Matt @ EMICMG