Those that recall the heyday of SoCal Jesus music, have likely come across the name John Wickham. He was lead guitarist in the influential band The Way, toured with the Benny Hester Band and went on to lead worship at Calvary Chapel, Costa Mesa. Contemporary Christian music fans may be more familiar with John Wickham’s two sons, Evan and Phil Wickham, however. City Light marks John Wickham’s return, of sorts, to Christian music and it’s a strong effort.
Wickham’s skilled guitar work stands out most on this 11-song effort. While electric guitar is Wickham’s instrument of choice, his playing style is melodic and slightly jazzy, much like Phil Keaggy’s approach. For instance, the album’s title track is a five-minute-plus instrumental, featuring plenty of tasty lead guitar fills.
Wickham received help from many high-profile vocalists to create this album, as well. All its songs are worshipful, the best of which is “Mountain Song” featuring Madison Cunningham’s lovely and delicate lead vocal. With it, Cunningham thrills to the joys of meeting God in nature. The more upbeat “Higher Ground” features another blast from the past, Terry Clark singing it. It’s also worth noting that the esteemed Bob Bennett cowrote this one (as well as “Mercies”) with Wickham. Wickham’s wife, Lisa, and two sons also take lead vocals on the album. The album closes with a re-do on the old gospel song, “I Have Decided.” Although John Wickham decided to follow Jesus a long time ago, it’s so delightful to hear new music chronicling his continuing spiritual journey.