My favorite Contemporary Christian vocal group has announced that September 15 will be the release date of its new album, Reborn. Reborn promises to be completely different from Avalon’s previous studio albums, and judging from its new single, Arise, it probably will be.
After the departure of Jody McBrayer, I was convinced this would be the end of Avalon. Then I heard that Melissa Greene left as well, and I was devastated. Then I realized that Avalon’s new album would be on Koch, without the guidance of Brown Bannister and Sparrow Records, and I said to myself, that’s it. It’s over! How can Avalon possibly recover from losing two key members, signed to a record label that, while honorable for having Twila Paris and Ringo Starr, also signed up William Hung?!
… and then, suddenly, lo and behold, a ray of light, a spark of hope! Avalon actually registered an Inspo hit with Still My God, off their Greatest Hits CD. The song peaked at #2, no small feat considering they hadn’t had a radio hit since In Christ Alone. Then we learned that Reborn‘s producers are Ian Eskelin and Barry Weeks, who’ve scored impressive radio hit for themselves and, most recently and notably, Francesca Battistelli. It’s a strange union, I have to admit, but one that thrills me because Eskelin has what it takes to bring Avalon back to the forefront of Christian music, where it rightfully belongs.
Greg Long, his wife Janna, Jeremi Richardson, and his wife, Amy, certainly sound good on Arise, although it will take me a few more listens to really get used to it. It’s not my favorite Avalon carrier – that honor goes to Love Won’t Leave You, a phenomenal first single off the album Stand – but what do I know? I didn’t like Battistelli’s I’m Letting Go the first time I heard it, but it grew to become one of my favorite songs of 2008.
You can bet I’ll be buying my advance copy of Reborn off Amazon.com (MusiChristian.com doesn’t seem to have it, which is a shame, because I’m sure E1 Music will ship here, and it’d be a waste not to have an autographed cover). Give Arise a listen, and let me know what you think.