When the first two-disc CPR project - short for Christian Progressive Rock - was released in 2004, it featured 18 artists performing prog music that celebrated their Christian connections. The refreshing collection included such established acts as Glass Hammer and Neal Morse, who both give encore presentations on the new second CPR volume. A 12-track single-disc set, Volume 2 isn't quite as distinct as its predecessor (perhaps the novelty factor has already worn off). But this collection still overflows with both previously released material and songs debuting here for the first time. And it once again succeeds in its spirited dual purpose to promote prog to a Christian audience and convey Christian concepts to the prog community.
From snappy progressive pop ("Significance" by the U.S. duo Simon Apple) to crushing progressive metal (Orphan Project's "Orphan Found"), CPR Volume 2 covers a whole spectrum of listener preferences. Sometimes the Christian messages are subtle (instrumentals "Over the Waters" from Iona guitarist/keyboardist Dave Bainbridge and "Quantum Fizzix" by Scott Rice), and other times not so much (the epic "One True God" by the Christian band Young Earth). In between come noteworthy performances by Morse ("Reunion" from his 2004 album One) and Glass Hammer (a charming and previously unreleased version of Lex Rex's "Heroes and Dragons"). Promising performances from multi-instrumentalist and vocalist David Wallimann ("Waiting for the Sun to Rise") and the over-the-top Christian symphonic rock/metal outfit Revelation Project ("Liars") prove that producers Randy George and Gene Crout have an ear for talent. But couldn't that dynamic duo, which also helmed the first CPR volume, have encouraged multi-instrumentalist and worship-music leader Bill Hubauer to record something other than a cover of Johnny Nash's "I Can See Clearly Now"?
Still, with so many compilations vying for the attention of music fans, the CPR series - more volumes may be in the works - provides music that still sounds fresh after returning to it over and over. And just in case you're wondering, you need not be Christian to listen.
1) Dave Bainbridge: Over the Waters (7:31)
2) Orphan Project: Orphan Found (5:09)
3) Simon Apple: Significance (3:48)
4) Neal Morse: Reunion (9:14)
5) David Wallimann: Waiting for the Sun to Rise (5:09)
6) Soulful Terrain: Secrets in the Valley (6:00)
7) Glass Hammer: Heroes and Dragons (5:34)
8) Young Earth: One True God (10:01)
9) Eric Parker: Under the Sun (5:51)
10) Scott Rice: Quantum Fizzix (4:18)
11) Revelation Project: Liars (9:03)
12) Bill Hubauer: I Can See Clearly Now (5:41)