A rock opera/concept piece about "belief, skepticism, the questions we all ask, and the answers we all seek,"? A rock 'n roller with a seminary degree?
For the longest time, the slightest whiff of Christianity was all it took to send a band up in a flaming fireball, like the Hindenburg. Remember Jars Of Clay? A pretty generic alt-rock band, with some radio love, that used to hold prayer vigils before their encores. What about Creed's "Arms Wide Open"? Could have been a loving sentiment, for a parent to their children, or a universal call for unconditional love. It was then revealed that the song was a reference to the Son Of Man, and his tribulations on Golgotha. It seems like Scott Stapp has been spiraling into insanity, in tightening circles, ever since.
Mainly due to a complicated relationship with religion, growing up, the vaguest reference to the G_d of the Old Testament, or The Holy Trinity, was enough to send me packing. Rock 'n roll, (and most of the music of the 20th Century), was the devil's music, and that's the way it was supposed to be.
It was not until I discovered the slowcore trio Low, from Duluth, Minnesota, in my early '20s, did I finally relent, and admit that some things could be Christian AND good. The gates have been opened, and I've discovered numerous exceptional underground musicians, sinking about their faith, most notably Sufjan Stevens, who speaks openly and often about Jesus Christ, and the characters of the Old Testament, or the lonely outsider folk of Bob Desper's Lost Sounds.
The difference, in the case of Bold Enough To Say by Bill Webster, boils down to the difference between religion and spirituality. Religion is given to you, coming from the outside, and your only task is to obey. Spirituality is sought after - it is a solitary experience, that we all go through. Whatever you call it, we all have moments where we are alone with a night sky, and get existential, or wonder about the grand scheme of things, if there is a master plan after all. So take a moment. Don't dismiss Bold Enough To Say out of the gate, when you hear some biblical allusions, as there are numerous moments of musical merit. The chiming guitars sparkle like bronze in the sun, and quicksilver razor wire on the electric solos, while heavenly harmonies, in the style of The Who in their progressive '70s state, drift in and out, like cirrus clouds across the sun.
When you listen, really listen, to "Are Father/Who Art In Heaven/Hallowed Be Thy Name" (with its pointilist Baba O' Riley synth), it becomes obvious that Webster is concerned with the same things we all are. He sings of The Father, as well as The Mother, The Sister, and Brother, as well a laundry list of pagan deities, towards the end. This is a different kind of Christianity, obviously; one that is inclusive, and understanding.
I'm bold enough to say, I like Bold Enough To Say. I've made my peace with my own formative wounds, and appreciate the Christian mythology, and the sentiments of charity and unconditional love it fosters, along with much of the shining mythology from the rest of the world, as well. Bold Enough To Say is a step towards peace between people of all faith. It's going to take all of us, to make this world a better place.
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