Abide in Our Hearts
A collection of songs of thanks and praise, 'Abide In Our Hearts' is the second release by the Contemporary Choir of St. Luke's Church in Barrington, RI. Directed by David Lauria, this group combines folk, blues and power-pop with Christian lyrics. Guitar, bass, drums and piano form the basis of the arrangements; organ, flute, cello and percussion expand the sound. Highlights include: the old standard 'Now Thank We All Our God', driven by a 12-string guitar riff that wouldn't have been out of place on REM's 'Reckoning'; the radical reworking of 'For The Beauty Of The Earth' into a New Age pop tune; and the spiritual 'Let Us Break Bread Together,' arranged for three voices, classical guitar and cello. But the album's emotional center is in the two original songs that close it. 'Fr. Bill's Prayer' is a musical setting of the personal blessing given at every Mass by St. Luke's former pastor Fr. William Jenkinson, who died in 2005. Opening with a classical piano figure (honoring a man who was a fine player in his own right) it builds into a four-part vocal repeating the lyrical theme of the whole CD: 'May His Spirit abide in our hearts forever.' The final track, 'Give Thanks,' is an up-tempo blues number with a terrific performance by guest vocalist Connie Sottile and a scorching guitar solo by Lauria. 'Give Thanks to God,' it says, 'For He has done great things for us.' Alleluia.