Steven B. Eulberg,
Holy Mountain
(Owl Mountain, 1998)

If anyone had told me that I would be not only listening to this CD but also enjoying the majority of the tracks, I wouldn't have believed it.

Steven B. Eulberg is a veteran of cross-culture inner-city ministry and his fresh approach to his calling and his use of music reveals how he has done this for over 14 years.

"Holy Mountain" is the title track and Steven shares composing credit with Isaiah for what is a very beautiful, plain sound giving the message of Christianity.

Every child has played the hand mime of "This is the Church, This is the Steeple," and Steven brings a new slant to it here. "Open the doors, is there at all a body of open caring people or simply a closed society?" Revealing the reality of his ministry he also uses rap to get the message across including a version of Psalm 150 in "Let All Who Breathe."

One of the revelations of this CD is the track that sounds so corny but turns out so good. "Everlasting Hug" was, he says in the notes, inspired by his grandma and the Woody Guthrie autobiography. You cannot argue with that combination. The words are quite inspirational as he goes from: "Some people seem to know the depth of sorrow, Some people always frettin' about tomorrow" to "A great big wrap-around, take it all keep on comin', ever-livin', ever-lovin', everlastin' hug."

The tracks "Three Times" and "Dancing in the Light" are beautifully simple folk songs inspired by gospel stories. "Small Things" is one of those tracks that can seep into your memory and prick your concience at the oddest of times with lines like, "Maybe I can't do great things, but I can do small things and do them with great love." That kinda says it all.

Reviewing an album like this makes us reflect. I approached it with a certain cynicism, I am sad to admit, but the more I listened the more I realised how common the themes and tunes are. We have listened to Woody Guthrie, Paul Simon and other greats of the folk world relate similar sentiments in the past. It is just when we get an album devoted entirely to such songs that we wonder, which is a sad reflection on ourselves.

One item of wonder here, too, is the track written by Gary B. Puckett. Is he the singer of Union Gap fame who wrote "Young Girl"?

[ by Nicky Rossiter ]
Rambles: 22 June 2002

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