I’ll admit, as a pretty faithful Caedmon’s Call fan, I wasn’t really looking forward to this album when I first heard about it. After “Back Home” and the new songs off of “Chronicles” I really wondered what Caedmon’s had up their sleeves. I’m happy to report though that after being able to have so much preview of “Share the Well” , by the time October 12th came around I was so excited for this record. I had the privilege of having few of the songs from “Share the Well” early which only fueled my excitement from what I heard the band share live. If you don’t know the story behind “Share the Well” please read this before finishing reading my thoughts on the record. Okay now that you’ve read that and have more of appreciation than you did before, lets dive in.
The cd opens with some brothers singing the chorus of the title track, Je Ra, Ji Ra, De Ra… then busts right into Cliff’s strong vocals. This song made me smile, dance a little in my seat and wanting more. Its a great opener to this experience that Caedmon’s takes you on through music.
“There’s Only One (Holy One)” is probably my least favorite song on the record. I know, only into the second song too, but its the most radio friendly. I tend to hate anything close to CCM sounding and to me this really sticks out cause it sounds more of a song you’d find on “Back Home” than this very different sound record. I’m still on the fence on how I feel about Randall Goodgame writing so much for Caedmon’s. I love Randall, but for Randall songs (say “The Opener” or the army pants song, which I wish he’d record somewhere) It seems to me he’d probably never put the songs he wrote for Caedmon’s records on a record of his. This song seems a mix to what you may find on “In the Company of Angels” and “Back Home” . Both which don’t hold real high on my Caedmon’s favs.
Between songs they have little clips of different people from countries they visited in recording this album. Before we get to listen to Danielle’s first song, we hear a little clip of a gal named Jenny Farza sing something in her native tongue. Now, forgive me for saying this, I mean this in the highest respect, but it reminds me of a song from the movie Moulin Rouge. Very pretty, but that’s what it reminds me of.
Mother India was written by Andrew Osenga and he sang it at the Caedmon’s show I saw this past summer. This song gave me hope back then that I may like this album the band was so excited about. Jenny Farza appears again with some wonderful background vocals along with Osenga. I love the chorus of this song, probably because its something I can relate to inside.“Father, forgive me, for I have not believed. Like Mother India, I have groaned and grieved. Father, forgive me, I forgot Your grace. Your spirit falls on India and captured me in Your embrace.”
The next song is a very cute song. I don’t know how else to describe it other than cute. I think its adorable that “International Love Song” is sang by Danielle and Cliff together, in almost a conversational type vocals. I did guess correctly, this has Josh Moore’s fingerprints on it. It just sounds like something he’d write, and I don’t say that in a negative time around. Be proud you Josh Moore lovers, he’s starting to grow on me.
I’m going to kind of contradict myself with “All I Need (I Did Not Catch Her Name)” by Randall Goodgame. I could see him recording this one, this stood out to me (along with “Share the Well”) as *the* Randall song on this record. I really love the story it paints of showing this solid, what the world views as poor women’s life. This is another song sang by the lovely Danielle Young. (Gees, I almost wrote Glen, that’s pretty bad.)
Ready to be happy and move around a little?“Volaconland” is just what’s going to hit the spot for you. I cant explain how I know, but I just know Josh Moore songs. This one is a fun song, nothing I’ll probably ever quote (lyrics mean a lot to me, little more than the music almost) but I like moving in my seat to it. Cliff does a great job on vocals in this one, including some foreign speaking. This seems like a song the band could replace for “Hands of the Potter” on this tour. I could also see Sarah swooning over a part of this song.
“The Roses” is the gem of this record to me. Its one of the preview songs I listened to on repeat. Its written by the great Andrew Osenga with Jeff “Doomsday” Miller. I’m happy to see he had a hand in the writing, if its keeps up like this, Id love to see others by him. For a song that I just love, I don’t have the words to describe it. “Honey, that’s all they have and they’re happier here, than any of my friends back home. They’ve met Jesus and they really know Him” It seems a song these guys wrote to their wives that didn’t come along on the trips overseas.
I’m SO glad that Andy has hand in writing for the band. He could write all the songs and Id be beyond happy, but what makes me happy that he sings his very own “Bombay Rain” . Ever since Andy joined the band Id hope they’d let him sing lead vocals on some songs and not just his solo stuff or old Normals hits. This reminds me of something you’d find on a Normal’s record, but it works very well for Caedmon’s. I think Danielle and his vocals go quite well together as well on this song.
Danielle sings Josh’s “The Innocents’ Corner . This song is the other reason that Josh’s writing is starting to grow on me. I also think this is a first for Danielle to sing a Josh song too. This song has a different sound to it. Not different like Ive never heard it before, but different for Caedmons, kinda like a “Long Line of Leavers” sound, but it seems to fit on this record. I love its sound, but clincher for me is its blend with Danielle’s voices. No one else could of sang it and make me love it. Its the different mix with her strong voice that make me like this song. It took me a couple of listens, but I see it turning into a classic Danielle song.
“Sarala” is a very pretty name and is also the next song captured on this record. I believe that this song shares part of the story that inspired the band to do this record.Cliff had a hand in writing this song (wonder if he’s gonna keep that up since this isn’t his first appearance as a writer) though I wouldn’t know since he has written enough for me to know his writing style well yet. A phrase that stuck out to me was “these cows aren’t sacred” . For you old Caedmon’s fans, does that ring a bell with you too? I wonder if that has any connection to the other song that was recorded oh so long ago.
Another song with strong vocals by Danielle. I enjoy this song, but I cant put my finger on why. Her voice kind of echoes through the song and its mixed with a basic guitar chorus and very eastern sounding verses. “Wings of the Morning” a good song to listen to loud. And lets out them… that’s… 5, FIVE! songs sang by Danielle. I personally think that’s great because her voice was the best part (besides Sandra McCracken’s contribution) of “Back Home” and hoped she’d get to sing lead more than she has in the past.
Dalit Hymn is a good closer for the album, but I just don’t get into it. The only thing I love listening to about is the passion you can hear in Cliff’s voice. His heart his behind the mission of this album and its shown here if you had somehow missed it through the rest of the album. I love the fact they have “hidden songs” on this record too. Some reason I never thought they’d do that since its something they could save for a Guild cd or something like that. I love the song Andy sings with just him and his guitar. It hits way too close to home but comforting at the very same time. If your not careful, the last hidden song will scare you. Well maybe that’s just me because I can be a bit jumpy. *lol*
This album seems like progressively it should of come after “40 Acres”, and this coming from a fan who loves “Long Line of Leavers”. But it seems to fit more on the Caedmon’s time line than LLOL. All and all, yes, Id recommend this record to anyone who likes good Christian music. I do wonder how Caedmon’s will follow this cd, not top it or anything, just follow it because this is so big. The stories in the songs. The changes in the band members lives. The effects it will hopefully have on the fans. Its neat to see what God has taught these old musical friends of mine, it can only get better.
(the guy leaving room for the Holy Spirit between Cliff and Danielle is my friend Bryan who is the creator of [www.caedmonscall.net] and was invited to go with the band to Ecuador for part of this record. Be sure to check out his travel journal.)