Hailing straight from Minneapolis is Rocketown Records most recent to hit the Christian music scene, Michael Olson. Introduced as a singer, songwriter, and guitar player, this twenty-six-year-old releases his first major label project entitled Long Arm of Love.
As with many new artists, most are unsure as to what to expect from a debut record. While Mr. Olson may not reach any new heights with Long Arm of Love, it is certainly a record to be appreciated. As the album begins with "I Believe In Jesus," it quickly builds on the popular adult contemporary style, which takes the stage for a good portion of the record. Long Arm of Love continues its foray into this genre with "New Every Morning," a song of daily discovering God's grace, and "Give My Life Away," a pledge to serve others before himself. Olson then leaps to explore acoustic based pop with slight country leanings on the title track and "Waiting for You." Olson avoids watered-down lyrics that leave the listener questioning what he is singing about by keeping God's love as the central lyrical theme of this project, making the album worthwhile. Only a few times does Olson hit a couple bumps in the road when some tracks begin to sound very much alike.
As the album progresses, most will pick up that Olson sounds remarkably similar to Greg Long (think in the vein of Long's hit "Mercy Said No"). Alongside that, tracks like "So Glad" and "Lift My Eyes" display some striking similarities to the early work of Steven Curtis Chapman. Eventually this acoustic-guitar heavy disc winds down with the piano-carried ballad "Man of Sorrows," creating a notable finish.
Despite being a new artist, Michael Olson seems to have determined both his musical and lyrical direction. The majority of Long Arm of Love is solid, with a few weak spots that leave room for artistic growth in what could be a strong future.- Review date: 7/8/05, written by Lauren Summerford
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