Heath McNease excites me as an artist… he seems to be linked to an eternal fountain of sharp and witty lyrics and musical content.
For those of you who may not be aware of who Heath is, he’s an Independent music artists who grew up ‘in the sticks’ in South Georgia, U.S.A.
While Heath may be more well known for his hip-hop works (Thrift Store Jesus, Wed, White & Wu with Playdough) this album has him focusing on some of his best pop folk sensibilities and it works really well with his easy, laid back style.
The basic idea of the album is simple – songs about books by C.S. Lewis that inspired Heath to write songs, the circle of life of an inspired song if you like!
The album starts of with ‘The Great Divorce’ – a song that sits somewhere between ‘The Digital Age’ (ex David Crowder Band), and Jars of Clay… a meandering verse that makes way for a memorable chorus in which you can’t help but sing “Come Lord Come….”
And then the album drops to the single acoustic guitar with Heath singing “Everyone I’ve ever known left me in my funeral clothes with nothing but a single rose…lowered down, lowered down” – as Heath slowly unpacks ‘Grief Observed’ a simple song, with a simple message of mercy that is reflected in the softly lifted chorus “Mercy on our soul…”
Mere Christianity starts off with a bass drum and hand claps… it feels dark, like a negro spiritual, that’s been fused with jazz and bluegrass and looked at through a rock filter… but it’s magnetic and you find yourself drawn into the song, as it slowly grows until it’s filling every space… and you’re stuck with a simple question, “who are you John or Judas?”… so was Jesus a Liar, Lunatic or Lord?… but like only Heath can do he’s able to keep the album ‘upbeat’ with a song ‘The Problem with Pain’. ‘The Problem with Pain’ was a book that Lewis wrote about how the idea of a loving God fits in with a world full of pain… yet it’s a song that would fit in well on a Bruno Mars album, yet he’s able to keep the lyric content sharp and doesn’t back off the intensity of the last song with lyrics like “The problem of pain, it insists that you quietly watch it spread and attack your insides“… it’s a fine balance sometimes with adding a quirky melody to a tough subject, however Heath is able to make it flow with thought provoking lyrics that keep you captivated.
Heath works through a lot of the works of Lewis… the only song that doesn’t have the title of a book is ‘Edmund’ and it’s another upbeat poppy number about Edmund from the Narnia series, and how he was enticed by the White witch to sell out his family for Turkish delight… and I love how Heath does this, he could have easily written a song about Aslan and how he was always ruler of Narnia etc… however Heath chooses the option that maybe is less explored yet is maybe most about our hearts as humans.
One of the highlight of the album is this magical number called ‘Joy unspeakable’ with a huge chorus “Joy unspeakable and full of glory, but the half has not been told, You’re not a reason, You’re reason itself.” – the song is based on the book of the same name in which C.S. Lewis talks of his journey from Atheism to Christianity…
‘Weight of Glory’ is the last song on the album and is based on the series of essays of the same name, starts of with a single acoustic guitar as Heath sings “So this is the view from outside the world…” however the song grows like many of Heaths songs and we’re taken on the final journey of this album…
It’s a great album that is both deep and listenable… often with content as varied and thought provoking as C.S. Lewis an album like this find it easy to either fall apart due to too many ideas or just purely be boring…
Heath defies all of these and has brought together an album that you can have on in the background, or have it up loud to start to think more deeply about who we are and where we fit in on this Earth… and he does it through the old fashioned craft of great songwriting… I honestly wish I could listen to more music as uniquely crafted and well formed as this more often…. but these days it’s often about the money rather than the content…. and it really is a shame… popular radio needs to hear more of these type of well crafted songs.
Not only is this a great album it gets EVEN BETTER
‘The Weight of Glory’ is FREE to download…
So if you are a fan of Jars of Clay, David Crowder’s more acoustic stuff, The Digital age, Mat Kearney, Bruno Mars… or even the works of C.S. Lewis himself make sure you go and download this album for FREE HERE.
Heath… Mr Lewis would be proud of this.
(if the link about doesn’t work try downloading here