1998 ForeFront Records
Produced By: Michael Tait
Out of My Mind (4:42)
Better Off (4:08)
Uphill Battle (3:09)
Worship Song (3:08)
Little Country Church (3:03)
Don't Underestimate Me (3:59)
Up in the Sky (2:48)
The Reason is You (5:07)
The One (4:22)
Waiting for the Son (4:39)
Guitars: Pete Stewart
Bass: Otto Price
Drums: Rick May
Backing Vocals: Michael Tait
Like many Christian teens in the 90's that listened to Christian music, I was a fan of Grammatrain. I soaked up everything they released. Their CDs stayed in my CD wallet I kept in my truck. Many days pulling out of the high school parking lot you could hear Grammatrain blasting out the windows. Needless to say when my brother handed me this pre-release of Pete Stewart's first solo album after Grammatrain disbanded, I was excited. Then I popped the CD into my truck's player...
I wanted to like this album, I really did...but strings? Is that a tambourine I hear? What happened here?! This isn't Grammatrain!!
Correct, this is Pete Stewart. Still on the ForeFront label, Pete decided to go a different direction musically. I don't know if that was his idea or the labels decision, but all the sudden Pete had a different sound. The first listen through the album I just wasn't all that impressed, but the more I listened the more I started to appreciate the new approach.
The lead track, Out of my Mind is great opening number. It's got a very catchy guitar riff to open the song...but then it stops and it's replaced by a drum machine? Give it a second though and you're hit with those guitars again. The vocals are strong and overall the song could almost appear on a Grammatrain album..almost.
Better Off shows off a different side. It's a mid-tempo song and I always find myself singing along more so than some of the other tracks.
Uphill Battle might as well have appeared on a Tait album as the song opens with vocals by Michael Tait. It's a great song, but I can't help but think Pete is trying too hard in the vocal department to match Michael's performance. The song is actually one of my favorites on the album, but then again I loved both of Tait's albums.
Worship Song is the albums "ballad". It's just Pete and an acoustic guitar. "You lift me up | so high where my voice fills the sky | high above the Heavens | You fill my soul with peace and deliver me | and I will call upon Your name"
Little Country Church is an odd song, but it's very catchy. When it starts you're not sure if you're still listening to Pete or not. Gospel background singers and a different sound are eventually replaced with some great guitar work and more of a driving rock sound. With this latest listen I found myself tapping my foot driving up interstate 85.
I guess when I listened to this album the when it was new, I only listened to the first "side" as after Little Country Church a lot of the songs just didn't sound familiar to me. In fact I found this CD tucked into the very last page of a massive CD binder that I found in the garage the other day. I tossed it in my van as I knew I'd be traveling for work soon and would need some music to help make the drive bearable. I'm glad I gave the album another listen as I really enjoyed it.
The album has a very different sound from his days with Grammatrain, but I've learned that is OK. Artists should continue to mature and grow, not only in their walk with the Lord but also with their music. I have no idea how this album came to be and what Pete thinks about it, but I really enjoyed listening to it from beginning to end recently. Somehow I never got around to picking up his other two solo efforts, but I will be on the look out for them. I may even consider picking up the retail release for this album just so I can have the album art and liner notes. It can be had for less than $3 (at the time of this post) on Amazon.