Pete Stewart

Pete Stewart

ForeFront Records, 1999

REVIEW BY: Michael Ehret

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 04/18/1999

"My Daddy said when I was just a little boy/'Lead or be led 'cause everybody makes a choice'/And then I read that the meek are gonna get a crown someday/I took it in, a little stuck, a little faded away/I think about You and I just can't get You out of my mind/I'm so deep in Your love people tell me that I'm losing my mind."

So begins the new self-titled album by former Grammatrain lead singer Pete Stewart. Combine those in your face lyrics from "Out Of My Mind" with the grinding guitars that open and close the song and you have a powerful first statement. Would that the whole album stood out as much.

But, oddly enough, the strength of that first song is the weakness of the album. With few exceptions Stewart's first solo effort sounds like - well there's no other way to say it - it sounds like dcTalk. Which should not be a huge surprise as two of the three dcTalkers (Michael Tait and Toby McKeehan) were involved in creating this project with Tait signing on as co-producer with Stewart.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

In addition to producing, Tait co-wrote most of the songs, sings backup vocals throughout and duets on "Uphill Battle". McKeehan provided some songwriting assistance and took some photos for the CD booklet.

Still, Pete Stewart is much more accessible than Stewart's earlier work with Grammatrain. There's a great alternative-pop sound to the disc, sort of like -- aw heck, there it is again - sort of like dcTalk.

Stewart shows some promise of his own on two notable tracks "Worship Song" and "Waiting For The Son." He wrote the words and music himself and both are beautiful examples of rock and roll worship music.

"Worship Song" is a simple vocal and acoustic guitar (with some strings thrown in) song that could hit it big around campfires at Youth Camps all summer long. It emphasizes depending on God during times of struggle.

"In the storms that blow across my life/I will call upon Your name/From the depths of valleys in my mind/I will call upon Your name/You lift me up so high where my voice fills the sky/High above the heavens/You fill my soul with peace and deliver me/And I will call upon Your name"

In "Waiting For The Son," Stewart becomes almost a jack-of-all-trades. In addition to lead and background vocals, he handles the piano, guitar and bass duties as well. Chad Chapin adds the percussion, while Tait contributes some background and the Love Sponge Orchestra adds some tantalizing strings.

These two songs stand out the most because it seems Stewart isn't trying so hard to impress - but impress he does.

"It's sometimes hard but I believe/You are the air my soul breathes/I sometimes fail but You are there/In You I lose all my cares/Underneath the stars and sky I wait for You to come/Like the morning waiting for the Son"

The song is about the utter dependence believers have in Jesus Christ and how sometimes all we can do is wait upon the Lord with our prayers. It's a beautiful testimony about learning to trust God.

This initial solo project will succeed. It's clearly tailored to do so. But, to become truly successful, Stewart needs to move forward with finding his own voice. He clearly has the chops, vocally and on guitar, for the work, now all he needs is the vision.

Rating: B-

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© 1999 Michael Ehret and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of ForeFront Records, and is used for informational purposes only.