Returns by long lost artists are events to be welcomed. Back in 1999, Christian music saw the debut of a brother-sister duo that was LaRue. Phillip along with his sister Natalie made an enticing self-titled record, with great vocals and songwriting abilities to match. Though the two parted ways musically after two more successful albums, Phillip LaRue was still very involved in the music industry, and through the years he penned a number of songs. Ten years after LaRue's breaking into the industry, Phillip is making his mark once again, but this time as a solo artist.
Musically, Let the Road Pave Itself is quite mellow, and those used to the sound of LaRue should settle right in. With an alternative pop sound, it fits like a glove considering the album's lyrical content. What we get in this offering's writing is poetic musings of our everyday life, as well as worshipful reflections we should come to expect from the male half of LaRue. Tracks like "Chasing the Daylight," "Running So Long" and "Mountains High, Valleys Low" uniquely acknowledge the Savior, admiring His greatness and asking Him for his aid. The rest of the album relate to events in LaRue's life. "Sleeping Beauty" is all about Phillip's wife, while "Black and Blue" and "Erase and Rewind" are about other loved ones in dire situations. It's a nice mix of various subjects, and it all comes together to make a positive diverse collection. If his past three records with his sister weren't enough to convince you of his fine songwriting skills, this album should.
One can argue that Phillip LaRue isn't really made to be a solo artist, and, indeed, Phillip lacks a bit of the vocal magic that the old duo possessed. Not being a real listener of LaRue, I took this album at face value, but with some further listening to Phillip's former project, it's quite amazing what an impact Natalie had on their music vocally. Natalie definitely had the superior vocals (not that Phillip's voice is bad by any means), so Let the Road Pave Itself may not immediately resonate with fans of his first venture. If you just keep in mind that this isn't LaRue's fourth album and that it is Phillip LaRue's FIRST solo album, you can be more receptive to this record.
It's impossible to not cross-reference the two projects, and LaRue purists could have trouble buying into this record, but after a few listens, all gripes should subside as one adjusts to the new approach. Phillip LaRue seemingly went into hiding for around six years after LaRue's dissolution, and let us hope we don't have to wait that long for his music to grace our ears again. Let the Road Pave Itself offers a fresh and uplifting approach to music, one that old and new fans of the singer alike can, and should, admire.- PReview date: 3/17/09, Reviewed: 4/5/09 written by Roger Gelwicks of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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