Stranger In A Strange Land - Leon Russell and the Shelter People
Are You Afraid To Die - Ricky Skaggs (Intro by Reverend Dr. Billy Graham)
Please Carry Me Home - Jessi Colter & Shooter Jennings
Ave Maria - Dolores O'Riordan
Why Me - Lee Ryan
Darker With The Day - Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Where No One Stands Alone - Elvis Presley
Harm's Way - The Ghost Who Walks
By The Rivers Dark - Leonard Cohen
Precious Lord - The Blind Boys Of Alabama
Not Dark Yet - Bob Dylan
Over the last few months, Mel Gibson worked with his close friend, documentary filmmaker and music video director Lian Lunson (Leon Russell, U2, Willie Nelson, Dwight Yoakam) to put together an album that they felt would h... more »onor the emotional voyage experienced by watching the film. Gibson felt that the songs should compliment the message in the film and inspire spiritual reflection, but not in an obvious way. The CD takes the listener on a journey, often a dark and reflective one.« less
Over the last few months, Mel Gibson worked with his close friend, documentary filmmaker and music video director Lian Lunson (Leon Russell, U2, Willie Nelson, Dwight Yoakam) to put together an album that they felt would honor the emotional voyage experienced by watching the film. Gibson felt that the songs should compliment the message in the film and inspire spiritual reflection, but not in an obvious way. The CD takes the listener on a journey, often a dark and reflective one.
Steve S. (Reno-ness) from ARROYO GRANDE, CA Reviewed on 7/21/2008...
The CD rolls out like the last week of Christ's earthly existence, and the stuff will grab you and keep you in a way no other compilation will. It was great to hear Leon Russell's "Stranger in a Strange Land" again. Leonard and Bob represent with odes of desparation then hope. The set really blesses you with O'Riordan's "Ave Maria" and the Blind Boys of Alabama with "Precious Lord". Let this one wash over you a renewal of faith.
Alejandra Vernon | Long Beach, California | 04/08/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When I first saw this CD I thought it was a strange marketing tie-in to Mel Gibson's film "The Passion", but on reading Gibson's liner notes, it becomes clear why this selection of marvelous music was brought together; it is music that has inspired Mr. Gibson, and that in some way is connected to the Passion message. It is an eclectic mix, all performed with first-rate musicianship and creative quality. Some of the tracks have been recently recorded, but some have been around for years.Some of my favorites:
The sparse beauty and whispered simplicity of Holly Williams singing her grandfather Hank's "How Can You Refuse Him Now" ~
Ricky Scaggs' "Are You Afraid to Die", with an intro by Dr. Billy Graham is poignant and shows the deep and pure roots of country music ~
Jessi Colter & Shooter Jennings with "Please Carry me Home". Two wonderful voices with a heartfelt rendition of their own song ~
Dolores O'Riordan (lead singer of The Cranberries) is astounding with her rendition of "Ave Maria" ~
The Ghost Who Walks with "Harm's Way" is one of the artists on this CD that I had never heard of before, and am grateful for the "discovery" ~
Leonard Cohen's "By the Rivers Dark" is gorgeous...Cohen at his mystical best ~
The Blind Boys of Alabama's "Precious Lord" is soul-stirring with its plaintive, expressive voice and guitar ~
Bob Dylan's powerful "Not Dark Yet" is a fitting finale. There isn't a single track on this recording that I do not care for...it is a truly great collection, with a slant towards a country-funky style, with overall leisurely tempos and a mellow feeling.
It is a lovely CD on many levels; as a musical spiritual journey, as well as an example of artistic excellence. The only lyrics included are "How Can You Refuse Him Now", sound for the most part is good and total playing time is 51'37."
Intense, Beckoning Collection of Spiritually Driven Music
A.Trendl HungarianBookstore.com | Glen Ellyn, IL USA | 09/24/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
""The Passion" as a movie was an event. Even the atheists went to see it. There was a sort of social pressure to see it. Not here. This CD has its own life, without the subsequent pressure from a media frenzy. It came out unannounced, and that's too bad. It is a superb collection of folk-blues songs that ask the same questions of the movie.
The movie's premise was simple: A man is killed because he claimed to be the Messiah in a culture which expected someone more grandiose and less humble. In the end, that man rises from the dead. The movie's implicit question was not complicated: is the story in the movie true? This CD carries that question forward, repeating it through songs of varied intensity.
Holly Williams introduces the CD with a song beguiling its author, her grandfather Hank Williams. It is reminiscent of the delicate piano found in the soundtrack to the "The Mission" and "Chariots of Fire." 'How Can You Refuse Him Now?" asks the obvious, that after acknowledging Christ's sacrifice, what stops us from following him.
"Stranger In A Strange Land" by Leon Russell steps us back to the Jesus Movement, when great musicians like Larry Norman gave us blues rifts and graveled voices in the midst of music about Christ. Russell's classic is charged with the energy and spiritual excitement of the 1960s.
Billy Graham is in top form as he answers the question, if he's absolutely sure he's going to Heaven, then returns that question to his massive audience. Ricky Skaggs turns to the fold again, poignantly posing the similar thought, "Are You Afraid To Die?"
"Please Carry Me Home" is a country song, sung by Jessi Colter & Shooter Jennings. As life is troubled, and we are tired and torn apart by the daily moments, she wants to go where her savior is.
Any Catholic will know "Ave Maria." Dolores O'Riordan of Cranberries fame does it as well as any version out there.
"Why Me?" sung by Lee Ryan is not asking, "What did I ever do to deserve this pain?" but, "What did I ever do to deserve your grace?" A slight guitar is played in the background, but never takes over the song.
Nick Cave's steady vocals points out that Christ wasn't about public opinion, nor should we be. "Darker With The Day" is joined by the The Bad Seeds in chorus, with a drum modulating the pace. In a single song, Cave is soulful, like David Bowie, Greg Brown, Bob Dylan, Joe Cocker and Lyle Lovett all at once, but with more direct melody.
Elvis Presley is usually enough. His gospel work transcends the best of his songs. "Where No One Stands Alone" resonates with strength, brought to life in solid Presley style, but without losing sight of the message, asking God to take his hand, in that place "where no one stands alone."
"Harm's Way" by The Ghost Who Walks is a tough follow-up to Elvis. It is the weakest song, with vocals sounding like Freddie Mercury (lead singer of Queen), minus the range of Mercury. Later in the song, the singer comes to life, in a neo-George Michael style. It never meets the mark, despite some decent lyrics.
Raspy, hiding, tremulously invigorating in his understatement is Leonard Cohen in "By The Rivers Dark." The mystery of Christ, and his power against the darkness which oft-pursues us paces this careful song.
"Precious Lord" by The Blind Boys of Alabama might be one of the best songs I have heard in a long while. Like Ray Charles in "America," they find something very big in simplicity. With a piercing guitar, they sing a heart-breaking devotion to their Lord.
Bob Dylan's Christian era seemed to be long over by the time "Not Dark Yet" was released in 1997 on "Time Out of Mind," but Dylan's music has never been spiritually shallow. It closes an album that left me numb with introspection and spiritual curiosity.
I fully recommend "Songs Inspired By The Passion of the Christ."
Anthony Trendl editor, HungarianBookstore.com"
Inspired by the event, not the movie
Matthew Mesina | Bethel Park, Pennsylvania USA | 04/08/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"With all due respect, the reviewer from LACA has missed the point. Yes, the words "A Mel Gibson Film" are on the cover, but the actual title of the CD is simply "Songs Inspired by the Passion of the Christ", meaning the actual historical event. Billions of people regard the factual basis for the blockbuster film as the single most signifcant event in all of human history, so it has doubtless informed or directly inspired the work of countless artists who seek to find the truth and meaning of life. These songs are the culmination of 2,000 years of faith, and, as such, were written in the heart. Far from a crass marketing ploy, this CD furthers Mel's ostensible goal of using the movie as a springboard to enable us to dive into a deeper reflection on the sacred mysteries of Christian faith. It succeeds admirably, though I wish a few more of my favorites had been included, as there are many artists such as 16 Horsepower, Saviour Machine ("Love Never Dies" would be my disc closer.), Daniel Amos, Over The Rhine, Innocence Mission, LSU, the Violet Burning and Cowboy Junkies, among others, deserving of more exposure. But that is one of the great aspects of this disc- aside from offering a lovely reflection, it provides underrated performers like Nick Cave and Leonard Cohen a chance to be heard by millions who otherwise wouldn't have even known that they exist. If profiteering was the true goal, incidentally, I think an even more mainstream artist roster would have been chosen, just as I feel the movie itself would have been in English. The choices made with both this CD (song selection) and the film (original language) were made expressly to enable the Spirit to move freely among those with ears to hear. Mel risked a great deal to bring what many doubted was very marketable into being. Thanks be to God, his faith was rewarded, and we are all the better for it."
Jack Treese | Holley, NY | 04/25/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This CD is awesome. I must say that the first track by Holly Williams is absolutely provoking and powerful.Buy this CD. You won't regret it."
Not the sound track
Jack Treese | 05/09/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Everybody's complaining that these songs are old and that the artists wrote the songs long before the Passion of the Christ movie was released. I'm 37 years old and am thankful to have been exposed for the first time to the music of Leon Russell, Jessi Colter, The Ghost Who Walks, Leonard Cohen, etc. I've heard the Blind Boys of Alabama before and even purchased their Christmas Album, which I highly recommend. Amazing, simply amazing. I loved this CD. Such a refreshing soulish, bluesy escape from the noise that's on the radio these days, in secular AND contemporary Christian music. Thanks Mel Gibson for bringing these talented artists to our attention. Yes, somewhere post MTV and good looks radio, there are still a few people making good music out there and some of them are on this CD. Don't mistake this for the sound track though; it's a totally different genre."