Love & War & the Sea In Between

By | Categories: In Review, Picks

Josh Garrels 
Small Voice Records

WL Quick Tip: A biblically informed, worshiping artist who awakes us to the passionate reality and emotional power of Christ in and through us. The worship circle grows bigger. This CD is available for free download at

Anyone who has encountered Josh Garrels artistry: recorded, live, or on the Web knows that he is passionately connected to what he sings and plays. He has the disturbing voice of a prophet. There is comfort and encouragement, but there is also confrontation. On Love & War & The Sea In Between, Garrels croons, rhapsodizes, wails, moans, raps and intones with a laidback fervency that is immediate, raw, and above all, musical. His album is filled with surprises and discovery. There are unexpected thoughts, tones and, textures at every turn, a sonic tapestry where music is not a backdrop, but part of the landscape juxtaposed to a lyrical map of a world of mystery that demands a response. No neutrality, rather, naked vulnerability. He is in the company of beat poets, early Dylan, and McMillan.

And whatever you’ve encountered in the past, there is more in Love & War & the Sea In Between. Its alternative, experimental folk-rap-roots cornucopia of styles encompasses a plethora of instrumental and vocal shades from strings, woodwinds, to banjoes, guitars, accordions, harpsichords, and French horns, drums, assorted percussion, acoustic guitar, charango, dulcimer, piano, tubular bells, and everything in between, plus this time around, Josh adds a sprinkle of electric guitar, just to change it up. The first song “White Owl” with its poetic, prophetic and epic weave captures the imagination for a journey through dreams, adventures, Scriptures, prayers. “Drunken Sailor Waltz” is a musical picture of Proverbs 23 and is a discordant sobering funhouse of a song.

Lassoing images from antiquity, the Bible, literature-from the Psalms of David to the Wisdom of Solomon, the poetry of Homer (“Ulysses”), the book of Revelation (“Revelator”) and beyond-Josh mashes them together and claims them all for God. He weaves his story together, adding musical interludes that are sound-paintings that stir and challenge. Not only is his music fresh and unique, so is his approach to production and distribution. While others are selling their CDs, Josh is giving them away and enlisting the whole body of Christ to invest in the production, this is a family business. While others are making singles, EPs and abbreviated CDs, with 18 tracks, his Love & War is a musical War and Peace. Garrels creates to the beat of a different drum … and Drummer.

Playlist: Although you will have favorites, take the time to experience it as a whole and then replay, “The Resistance” and “Revelator.”

- Andrea Hunter

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