Eli isn't new to the game of the music industry. His 2001 release Now the News is his third release under the alias of Eli Stone as well as his third release on Forefront Records. But before "Eli," a little-known solo artist named Paul Falzone roamed the world of the independent Christian music scene before being reinvented on Forefront in 1998 with his release Things I Prayed For.
Eli has become known for his signature folky acoustic rock and unique vocals. With his second release, Second Hand Clothing, Eli experimented a little more with adding a tinge of electrics to the mix, but nothing to substantially alter his sound. With Now the News, the ever-personal man seems to get yet a little more personal and friendly as he shares a cup of coffee, if you will, in a conversationally and artistically composed musical offering. Now the News even seems to take the random feel of a newspaper, in a way, as five 'interludes' are tossed into the mix. Most are live snippets from his performances rarely exceeding 30 seconds with longest piece involving a fan's cell phone at a live show to close out the disc. Apparently, Eli's concept for Now the News was born out of his own personal collection of newspaper clippings which from he created lyrics to tell the stories from pictures. The titled track, an upbeat acoustic rock tune, is an observation by Eli of how people seem to base how they live and what they believe on what they hear from the news media. Eli tries to portray the album, also hinted at being titled (k)Now the News, as a tool to expose the real ultimate Truth as opposed to the 'lies' the media feeds us.
"Master's Feet" is an excellent ballad that starts out with humming synths and intriguing percussion. Reminiscent of the great Steven Curtis Chapman, Eli proves himself as a worthy solo artist willing and able to perform great pieces of melodic music that answers the call for easy-to-listen-to songs with an encouraging and hopeful message. "Waves of an Ocean" is a more upbeat acoustic rock song that mixes more electrics and has a slight feel that reminds me of his previous song "The Lumber Song" from his debut release. "Million Bucks" and "Some Say" ultimately follow this same feel while "Never Knew You Looked Like That" is another excellent Eli ballad. "Better Day" covers new ground for Eli as he experiments with a fun, bouncy gospel tune that sounds like something you'd sing in a black gospel church on Sunday mornings. A neat turn for the artist, the song adds plenty of spice to the disc and seems to fit perfectly with the overall feel and theme of the record.
Ending the project with a silly hidden track that features Eli altering his voice to sound Mexican, Now the News is a more artistic yet laid-back recording for this solo artist.- Review date: 3/26/01, written by John DiBiase
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