A Different Light
Produced by Jeff Collins & Mark Bishop
Format: CD & Digital
Release Date: February 23, 2018
Rating: 3 stars (out of 5)
SONG TITLES (all songs written by Mark Bishop): More Than Enough / I’m In Good Hands / Finish Well, Finish Strong, Finish Empty / He’s Always Been A Friend (featuring Kenny Bishop) / God Is Powerful / The Refrigerator Door / What It Comes Down To Is Me / Tell Me You Saw Me / Couldn’t Feel Any Better (featuring Chris Freeman) / Fly, Fly Away Little Birdie / I’m Gonna Wish I Had Worried Less
Mark Bishop is an artist that has found just as much success with his writing as he has with his singing (some might argue moreso writing than singing). With “A Different Light,” he returns with a selection of 11 songs that span a variety of styles.
Unfortunately, that variety leads to an inconsistent collection that seems to jump around a little too much. We get bluegrass stylings with “Tell Me You Saw Me,” a progressive/contemporary number in “God Is Powerful,” an epic orchestration with “More Than Enough,” and a mellow half-time shuffle with “I’m In Good Hands.” Yet somehow, none of it was able to really grab my attention and hold it. Even with special guests that include the Kingdom Heirs, Chris Freeman, and Mark’s brother Kenny Bishop, the album overall was somewhat of a bore.
That’s not to say that there isn’t some good material here. “The Refrigerator Door” (the first radio single) is an interesting story about a child’s Sunday School artwork influencing her single mother’s own faith and is written with lots of nice imagery. “I’m In Good Hands” feels like a good follow-up choice, and stylistically reminded me of the Hemphill’s “He’s Still Workin’ On Me.” Bishop’s duet with his brother, “He’s Always Been A Friend,” is a call-back to the old Bishops family group style, and I also enjoyed “Tell Me You Saw Me”‘s mountain bluegrass feel.
Perhaps part of the issue is the overall production of the album. The mixing at times felt a little flat (especially on the opening number, where the drums were almost non-existent on an otherwise large arrangement), and there was very little change in dynamics overall. Add the obvious tuning at times, and it came across a bit too artificial at times.
I feel like there is a really good album trying to get out with A Different Light; it just feels like it didn’t quite get the full treatment it deserved.