March 23rd, 2010


CD-a-Day: Broken Promise Edition

Call Down Fire: Why You Headed West

It was just four years ago that this CD came out, the first and only complete effort by this band. I was attending a church with three of the members, one of whom was the coordinator for the music team I was involved with at the time. Brian wrote all the songs on this disc, and wrote a lot of the songs we played on Sunday morning. But this CD doesn't sound like "church music". And neither did his church music. With influences like Radiohead, Coldplay, Sigur Ros and other ambient artists, as well as innate pop-sensibilities, the songs here are accessible and rich; warm but rocking. The production is cleaner than I usually like, but listening to it again today, something finally clicked for me in this regard.

Professionally, Call Down Fire could have done more than they did. They were offered certain opportunities, but while Brian knew how to manage he lost interest in seeing any success from this effort. The married couple who played bass and keys both sought other avenues of creative output. The only two non-Christians in the group, they also ended up struggling with personal problems that had nothing to do with their religious affiliations. Sadly, the three who were invested in the local-church ran into issues with that same organization which drove them away from that fellowship and each other, in different senses.

Personally, when I listen to these songs I am reminded of a time when there seemed to be a sense of clarity and direction; When I was excited about what was going on in the small fellowship God had gathered. Artistic integrity and worship walked hand-in-hand, as did outreach and service built on the Good News that sustains Christians.

And while the Good News is still good and true, mistakes and failings have rendered the fellowship asunder, even within this small band on the periphery. It's a shame, really. I'm glad I still have friendships with some of these folks, but I hear echoes of broken promise in these songs, and I can't help but wonder on the full implications. Thankfully, I believe that God is in full control, and none of this is lost on Him. My perspective does, in fact, cause me some sadness, but not hopelessness.