Review: The Spark
The Spark, a new double album from Dayton native Kevin Heider, is Catholic music in the best sense: great music by a Catholic.
There are songs about God here, but most of the songs are about everything — love, beer, being on the road, things going right, things going wrong.
The Catholicism here isn’t added, it’s suffused. A way of looking at things, a perspective on life. The drinking song is also about St. Brigid, who liked a good pint. A song about a new baby is a prayer to know what to do, how to live.
The songs range in style from rowdy to contemplative, some sung with a full band, some with only a guitar accompaniment. Theres’ a overall acoustic alternative feel, but with plenty of other things thrown in, from Nashville country to Celtic folk. Heider and his musicians move easily between styles and emotions — going alt rock for “Maureen (Has Anybody Seen Her?),” about waiting all night for a girl, and easy back for “The Dark Side,” a sad, contemplative ballad about sin. “Enola’s Wake” harkens back to 1960s folk songs (in a good way) and “Barcelona” just rocks.
What sets the album apart is not only the musical and vocal performances — which are top notch — but the songs themselves. They’re good. So many talented independent bands can’t write songs (but think they can). Heider’s melodies and lyrics are ones you’ll remember and sing — whether it’s the slow, haunting hymn “The Great Flood” (heard on The Glory Collective’s album Shine, reviewed here):
O how great was the flood,
that passed my lips unsung
like a newborn babe’s first taste of life
it danced on my tongue…
or the rollicking, “I escaped just in time” bad girlfriend song, “Girl from Frederick”:
I’d fallen in love with a girl from Frederick
and for almost two years she ran from me;
but when I finally turned to walk in a new direction
She said, “Maybe we can try and see.”
Maybe we can try and see;
But I don’t want to try and see.
I just want to be part of you and me.
Heider says “The Great Flood,” inspired by Holy Thursday, is the lynchpin of the 24-song album, the central piece in a journey. It’s one that’s well worth taking.
Just as Catholicism isn’t just something you do at Mass, Catholic music shouldn’t be something to listen to only when you’re in a particularly “Catholic: mood. This album is one you’ll want to listen to anytime.
Singer, songwriter, and self-taught musician Kevin Heider grew up in Dayton. A graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, he now lives in Maryland. This is his fourth album. At 7:30 pm on May 2nd he will speak at Theology on Tap Dayton, “Contemporary Catholic Musician: The Artist’s Love,” at Oregon Express.
Click here to see all our current stories.
Click here to see all our reviews. If you’ve enjoyed this story, please use the “share” buttons to forward it to friends — and please subscribe at the box at the top of the page to get our stories daily in your inbox.