Seabird frontman Aaron Morgan wails at the 'Til We See the Shore album release party on the Belle of Cincinnati, June 27. Photo by Jon Willis | Seabird's MySpace page.
Traveling with Seabird, we see a lot. The Northern Kentucky band's debut album is a journey from pain to victory with strong images such as the beginning of a long-delayed romance, a victim claiming victory and a dying soul claiming its salvation.
And there is nary a moment that you don't know where you are on this journey, primarily because of frontman Aaron Morgan's theatrical voice and his equally evocative keyboards. They start off jaunty in the lead-off track, Black and Blue, but can be haunting and turn those rhythms into rings on songs such as Patience. Seabird is hardly a one man band though. There are touches, such as a banjo intro that turns into a guitar riff on Stranger, from the rest of the quartet: guitar player Ryan Morgan, bassist Chris Kubik, and drummer Aaron Hunt.
What's most striking about this exceptionally accomplished debut are the images, both precise and abstract. Cottonmouth (Jargon) is the best of the bunch, with lyrics slowly rising in what sounds like a pump organ accompaniment:
The days, you said you were smarter, knew you were harder
And the days you told us to grow up, told us to shut up
But I promise, the words that you said, stuck in our heads
They'll haunt you
You listen, mesmerized, wondering if this is drawn from some specific event or something general, such as people persecuted based on their faith. Then you remember songwriting is an abstract art, and you listen more to this package of 12 captivating songs. And then you listen again and again, intrigued, hoping for more soon. It's a debut that already puts Seabird in league with some of Christian rock's most accomplished and literate acts, such as Jars of Clay and Switchfoot.
All of this is also a reason I've already marked the band's Oct. 8 concert at the University of Kentucky on my calendar. Seabird seems like it will be something to see.
State Fair: The Kentucky State Fair usually offers a Christian pop act, and this year is no exception. In fact, there are two: P.O.D. plays Aug. 14 and Newsboys Aug. 18. Both shows are free, at 8 p.m. in Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.
Highbridge Fest star wins an Emmy: Brock Smith graduated from Asbury College in May, and he already has a head-turning item to put on his resume: Emmy Award winner.
Smith’s short film Visceral, which cleaned up at Asbury’s Highbridge Film Festival in April, snagged a student Emmy in the 44th Annual Ohio Valley Regional Emmy Awards. The action film is about a government’s failed attempts to create a clone soldier, and at Highbridge, it was lauded for its special effects and sound.
Smith, a Lexington resident, will be part of Asbury’s crew filming the Olympic Games in Beijing, this month.