If you've caught a White Collar Sideshow concert anytime recently, you've most likely seen a young man wandering around the room yelling and screaming words at anyone and everyone sitting in the crowd. Had you walked into the room in the middle of the supposed rant, it's not unlikely that you may have been caught completely off guard and wondered what in the world was going on. Well, it just so happened to be the passion of the man of many words, Levi the Poet.
Levi is now officially one of the latest artists to find his way onto the Come&Live! artist list. His first release through the label is forty minutes worth of spoken word called Monologues. I'll go ahead and throw this out there to start: yes, you will probably be reminded of Bradley Hathaway. You may be tempted to call Levi a Hathaway-knockoff, but look deeper. Listen to the words. While both poets spill their guts when they speak, and really grab your heart, Levi sort of spills his guts and then gives up whatever he has left in the process. I don't know if I've ever listened to a more engaging and spirit-clinching audio file before. Despite Levi not being in the room with you while you listen to Monologues, the pictures he paints and his intense delivery of the words really find a way to penetrate even hearts that are immune to most spoken word. It's a little unnerving, but also very, very beautiful.
Levi's words are driven by love. One of the most powerful pieces on Monologues is the dark "Kaleidoscope" (the piece that he performed before opening for WCS on the summer, 2011 Arrows Are Deadly Tour). It's about a woman who grew up being abused by her father and spends her life giving up her body to any man who buys her for the night to support her daughter. Levi speaks from different perspectives: the woman, himself and as a narrator. The listener can easily feel and understand the depth of the hurt and feelings of self-worthlessness in the woman's life as she makes her rebuttal against Levi's claims that she is beautiful and lovely. His unashamed approach to his words allows for nothing short of complete honesty about the wretchedness of humankind (a group in which he includes himself). He gets a little more personal in "Leviathan Grew Up Inside of a Broken Home," and tells the life story of Jesus from a more personal perspective in "Memories." Sometimes reading the account of His life in the Gospels doesn't really give the full effect, but Levi's retelling (partially from Jesus' perspective) helps to give us an idea of what those events may have been like.
A great deal of Monologues finds Levi yelling and screaming his words--not foolishly yelling and screaming them, though. Everytime he does, it seems appropriate at the time. There are other times when he speaks softly, as in the beginning of "Leviathan..." and even moments where he delivers his words through a line or two of singing. And speaking of singing, there's also a bonus track available: a live rendition of "Memories" that is placed in the middle of a song called "Just As I Am" by a group called Ghost Ship. Ghost Ship opens the track with their song, and then they tone it down to some really quiet, almost ambient indie-style background music while Levi takes his turn performing "Memories." Ghost Ship then finishes the track with their song again. It's a nice little addition to the EP.
Levi's performance of "Kaleidoscope" during the Arrows Are Deadly Tour really pierced my heart, and I was glad to learn that he was joining Come&Live!'s mission and family. His words display a real heart for Jesus and a great compassion to reach the lost by just being a real person who is madly in love with Jesus. If you like spoken word, you should pick up Monologues. As always, you can download it for free from Come&Live!'s website, or you can head to levithepoet.net and not only pick up a copy of his previous album, Werewolves, but also get a special t-shirt/CD package for Monologues. Either way, it's recommended.- Review date: 11/15/11, written by Scott Fryberger of Jesusfreakhideout.com
Record Label: Come&Live!
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