Randy George, co-producer of this third installment in the Christian Progressive Rock project, thought the series had run its course after only two volumes – 2004's double-disc set and a single-CD collection in 2005. But, perhaps not surprisingly, more progressive-rock artists continue to be interested in simultaneously showcasing their music and their faith. Hence, CPR Volume 3 – the most cohesive release in the series thus far. (And with the concept now resurrected, George and CPR co-producer Gene Crout are already considering material for Volume 4.)
Here we have 11 songs, both new and previously released, including a re-recording of 1985's "Passport," a rock-solid track by pioneering Christian musician Phil Keaggy – the collection's marquis name. While previous volumes have included songs by the likes of Neal Morse, Glass Hammer and Orphan Project, Volume 3's star power is more subtle but no less powerful. Enchant vocalist Ted Leonard goes solo with "The Name of God," the album's best track and a memorable and unexpectedly moving political and religious statement that doesn't sound too far removed from his main band, and Ad Astra's acoustic rocker "Angle of Repose" features former Kansas bassist Dave Hope.
Those three songs – and, really, all 11 of them – prove the musical points that the first two CPR volumes have already made: Progressive rock and Christian music can, indeed, co-exist. In fact, these songs (many with veiled messages open to wide interpretation) help promote prog to a Christian audience and convey Christian concepts to the prog community. Russia's Apple Pie hits the spot with the majestic Spock's Beard-like "Solution" from the band's debut CD, Crossroad. Mike Florio channels the vintage sounds of Petra and vocalist Greg X. Volz on "The Wise Man." Pursuit's "Quest" boasts some of the album's wickedest guitar solos all the while crying out for forgiveness. And "The Mirror" by Everlasting Arms concludes this collection in epic, 12-minute style.
CPR remains among the best compilation series in any genre, with the power to appeal to a broad range of listeners regardless of faith — spreading the gospel of prog, plus so much more. That, my friends, is something to believe in.
1) Lives Go Round by Unitopia
2) The Name of God by Ted Leonard
3) Passport by Phil Keaggy
4) The Wise Man by Mike Florio
5) Solution by Apple Pie
6) Deep Calls 2 Deep by Greg Wollan
7) The Dust by Mike Lockett
8) Pursuit by Quest
9) Angle of Repose by Ad Astra
10) Life Fantastic by Time Horizon
11) The Mirror by Everlasting Arms