Phil Madeira may be best known these days as the keyboardist in Emmylou Harris’ Her Red Dirt Band, but he’s played on multiple Christian music albums, including the works by Amy Grant and Phil Keaggy. He may not be a Christian ‘music star,’ but he’s no stranger to Christian music. His latest album, Bliss, is unabashedly a collection of love songs. While not explicitly a ‘Christian’ album, this is nevertheless a look at the joys of finding true love from a Christian perspective.
As a keyboardist with a slightly nasally singing voice similar to Randy Newman’s vocal style, Madeira oftentimes draws comparisons to the man that gave us the hit “Short People.” However, time and time again, Bliss may remind you more of Steely Dan. The jazzy groove that propels “Get To Me” is especially Donald Fagen-esque, as is the slow burn of “Angel.” Best of all, though, is the Biblical character-referenced “Lazarus,” which is driven by Chris Donohue’s wonderfully funky acoustic bass.
Other highlights include the lightly swinging “I Won’t Question Love,” the New Orleans-inspired “You Do Something To Me” and the New Orleans centered “When I Take You Down To New Orleans.” The latter incorporates plenty of brass horn accompaniment. Madeira closes the album with the warmly comforting “Don’t Worry About Tomorrow.” Love may not always be bliss, but when it’s at its best, there’s just no better word for it. Here, Phil Madeira expresses the exhilaration of love with plenty of musical Bliss.
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