Michael Harcus with Family & Friends - Hymns & Harmony British Product Audio Samples Available

Hymns & Harmony by Michael Harcus with Family & Friends

Cross Rhythms Rating: 9/10
CD: Album
Tags: CD, Roots/Acoustic, Album, Independent, Top Rated
Normal Dispatch Time: 1-3 days
A batch of varied hymn and gospel song interpretations from the Orkney musician.

Price: £9.97 was £10.00 Check other currencies
  1. 1. It Is No Secret
  2. 2. My Jesus, I Love Thee
  3. 3. He Touched Me
  4. 4. Keep Me Everyday
  5. 5. I Shall Know Him
  6. 6. Jesus Keep Me Near The Cross
  7. 7. My Faith Is Strong
  8. 8. Sheltered In The Arms Of God
  9. 9. Remind Me, Dear Lord
  10. 10. There Is A River
  11. 11. I Long For The Day
  12. 12. Will The Circle Be Unbroken-
This track data is supplied by the Cross Rhythms review library. Please note that CD/DVD tracks may vary according to release region or product version. You should not assume that products purchased through Cross Rhythms Direct will necessarily have identical track listings to those shown.

Reviewed by Tom Lennie

The north isle of Westray is the spiritual jewel among Orkney's 17 inhabited islands; its evangelical heritage dating back to the turn of the 19th century. Over 200 years later 30-something Harcus is one living evidence of that ongoing heritage. Both his parents were involved in gospel groups and Michael's musical tones have been familiar to Scottish gospel music lovers for many years. Indeed 'Hymns & Harmony' is his sixth album recording since his debut in 1998. It differs from most of the others in that - bar one - these are not his own compositions. Instead, as its title suggests, this disc expresses the islander's lifelong love of tried and tested gospel songs that are rich in melody, harmony and lyrical content. Thankfully, it's no mere regurgitation of grossly over-recorded tunes (though, despite its strong performance, I do question the need for another version of "Will The Circle Be Unbroken"). These arrangements - care of Mike along with wife, Christine, and various Orkney, Shetland and mainland colleagues - come over with real musical aptitude and freshness of sound, and an uncanny depth of spirituality. Side-by-side, we're treated to two choice Fanny Crosby hymns, picked from that writer's most remarkable repertoire. With most tunes, however, we're talking about age in terms of decades rather than centuries (eg, one was penned by Dennis Jernigan, another by Bill Gaither), and in the case of "My Faith Is Strong", it's a totally new composition written and sung by Christine, which sits neatly alongside these others. Indeed a further newie or two might have added to the set. "There Is A River" gains considerably from its tender, deliberate piano-based treatment, and while I know a couple of Celtic interpretations of "My Jesus I Love Thee", this version is easily the best - these guys' take of it being simply sublime. Indeed, harmonies on all tracks are quite delectable and help to make this album. "Sheltered In The Arms Of God" is another real gem, and shows off Michael's vocals at their purest. It's clear that this amiable Orcadian is totally at home with this melee of country and bluegrass and it's equally clear to the present reviewer that it's with this format also that not only does he sound his personal best, but stands out as one of the very finest of British country/Americana-flavoured acts.

Style: Roots/Acoustic
Cross Rhythms Product Code: 83508
Product Format: CD
Content Type: Album
Cat. Code: Independent
Items: 1
Release Date: 2009

A batch of varied hymn and gospel song interpretations from the Orkney musician.

Michael Harcus - BeautifulMichael Harcus - Beautiful
Roots/Acoustic CD British Product Audio Samples Available

£9.97 £10.00

A collection of new songs from this well-established Orkney musician.

Michael Harcus - Take A MomentMichael Harcus - Take A Moment
Roots/Acoustic CD British Product Audio Samples Available

£9.97 £10.00

For more information about Michael Harcus with Family & Friends, check the Michael Harcus with Family & Friends Artist Profile on the main Cross Rhythms website for news stories, feature articles, interviews and much more. (Link opens in new window)

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