What is Life Journey?
David Fitzgerald and Dave Bainbridge, founders of the hugely successful band IONA and solo artists in their own right, have joined together to produce an instrumental contemplative album based around the artwork, prayers and poems of Mary Fleeson's book Life Journey - a call to Christ-centred living.
"The music on this album was originally commissioned and conceived as an interpretation in sound of the incredibly inspiring imagery and prose contained within Mary Fleeson's wonderful book 'Life Journey'. In that it has undoubtedly succeeded, but has also transcended the original brief as the unique chemistry between the two musicians that co-founded Iona has once again produced a deeply spiritual, timeless work."
A completely instrumental album (apart from some choral samples), the two Davids came together and spent several days improvising as they poured over the book and responded to the words and pictures.
Over the next year, these improvisations were gradually shaped into complete compositions which follow the chapters of the book.
Dave B relates: "In many ways this felt like we were returning to the source of the inspiration that birthed IONA the band. IONA was born out of David and I improvising together during soundchecks on Adrian Snell gigs back at the end of the 1980's and David's mystical experience of God's powerful Presence one dark night on the Island of Lindisfarne. This book was also birthed by Mary on Lindisfarne and much of its imagery is inspired by that amazing place. At certain points during the album you can hear sounds that Mary's husband Mark recorded on the island - the St Mary's church bell, the sea lapping on nearby St Cuthbert's Isle, the sound of the seabirds."
How to Buy?
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Phantom Tollbooth Review - LJ Gets 5/5
The Phantom Tollbooth Website has reviewed the album and given it 5 tocks (the highest rating it can get). They have also made it one of the writers top three picks for November alongside Jeff Johnson and Phil Keagy's Frio Suite.
The full review reads:
I have got to say from the get go that I am totally biased about this album, I absolutely love it. Ever since the release of the first album by the band Iona I have been a huge fan of the music of Dave Bainbridge and David Fitzgerald. I find it to be intelligent, deeply moving and intensely spiritual. I am not a big fan of most modern praise and worship music, I find most of it to be shallow and quite banal. It seems mostly to concentrate on what the writer can do and has done for God. Contemplative music on the other hand, especially the instrumental variety, makes me think of just who God is and the wonders of what He has done in the past and continues to do today.
In the music of such artists as Jeff Johnson and the periodic teaming of Dave Bainbridge and David Fitzgerald we have some of the most amazing and breathtaking contemplative music of the past few decades. Life Journey is meant to be seen as a companion piece to the book of the same name by author Mary Fleeson which by the way is nothing short of brilliant. The thirteen pieces of music contained in this project are meant to reflect the ideas, thoughts and prayers put forth in each of the chapters of the book. Most of the music which is performed by Bainbridge and Fitzgerald, with some assistance by Iona drummer and violinist Frank VanEssen, is centered around the woodwinds of David Fitzgerald with Dave Bainbridge providing ethereal music beds as well as some tasty guitar work. There are pieces which will remind the listener of some of the more adventurous jigs and reels from Iona's musical collection but there are more pieces that will cause the listener to sit back and ponder the mystery and wonder of the God who created us.
As I said earlier I am very biased about this collection of music, it inspires me to desire more of extraordinary art and the God who inspires men to create it.
Chris MacIntosh aka Grandfather Rock