Run The Earth…Watch The Sky, the sixth release from Dove Award winning Rocketown veteran Chris Rice, stays true to his musical form. The acoustic guitar driven folk-pop ballads that the singer-songwriter has become known for abound in this album. No new or revolutionary production methods are unveiled here, just melodic tunes mixed with Rice’s unmistakable vocals.

Many of the songs are folksy, similar to those of James Taylor. Rice’s style has been likened to such mainstream acts as Travis and John Mayer. While some of the songs may resemble Mayer’s styling, those looking for a Christian alternative to Travis should keep looking.

Coupled with Rice’s vocals, each lyric paints a vivid picture with his descriptive, storytelling style. Through the songs, Rice tries to capture the attention of the listener. Some of the cuts accomplish this very easily and effectively, while others drift in and out of the listener’s consciousness.

To put a bit of funk into the album, Rice placed a song that will take listeners on a musical trip to the ’70s, 1975 to be specific. “Eighth Grade,” Rice’s song about the plan God has for our lives, features drum beats and guitar riffs that will transport you to the land of disco balls and afros. The song with the most drive is a fun tune called “Me and Becky.” With an energetic, Latin feel, it is one of the best on the album and provides needed variety by incorporating drums and other percussion instruments.

While this may not be the “must-have album of 2003,” it will grow on you. At first, it may just seep in from the background, but after only a few listens, you might find yourself fully engulfed in the choruses.

All in all, this album is satisfactory. It is not groundbreaking or electrifying, nor is it annoying or tiresome. It is Chris Rice. His sound, his lyrics. If you like Rice’s other works, you will not be disappointed. If Rice is new to you, give him a listen. The laid-back, easygoing folk styling may be just what you are looking for.

Copyright © 2004 Christian Music Planet, used with permission.

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