Given the state of affairs in the world circa 2007, it’s a real tightrope walk for Christian artists to navigate the line between hope, faith and the black and white of what’s happening all around us. Dan Nightingale’s soothing acoustic-tinged, soulful tunes often tread the line between what’s in his heart and what weighs heavily on his mind, and it frankly gives some added heft to his message. Following his inclusion on the recent Sweetwater/Majic 95.1 Majic Miracle Music compilation CD, Nightingale brings more of his emotive tunes to the fore with the full-length Wait on the Bridge.
Nightingale makes no bones about what’s happening (and has happened) around him, devoting a good portion of the album to songs about current and former soldiers and the impact their duties have had on them and their families. “All Mothers Weep” takes the perspective of an anxious mother who knows her child is in harm’s way and worries ceaselessly. Regardless of your politics, it’s impossible not to relate to this point of view. Album opener “Not Too Late” is a stirring country-rocker about the realities of war hitting home in small-town America. The touches of saxophone and an understated lead guitar add to the Springsteen-in-the-Midwest vibe of the tune, as Nightingale intones, “It’s not too late for heroes” in a strong yet quavering voice. “Flashback” is the most literal of this batch of tunes, opening with the sounds of the battlefield. Nightingale’s most impassioned vocals on the album are on this song, as the subject veers between the pride of serving and the pain of loss.
“Wait on the Bridge” has its softer moments as well. The lilting vocal and homespun melody on the title track are as majestic as the clouds and sky Nightingale sings about, and the song’s spiritual underpinnings are bolstered by crystalline, tastefully played instruments. The entire album is earthy-yet-epic in the scope of its arrangements and clean production (courtesy of Chet Chambers at Sweetwater Productions). The vibe of “Memories In Time” is reminiscent of Traveling Wilburys-era Roy Orbison (albeit minus the stratospheric high notes), and the campfire lope of “John (Forever Living)” benefits from some understated accordion. Dan’s brother Norman Nightingale penned the sparkling, jazzy “Jesus,” an openly, wholly loving ode that adds some hope to this album’s sometimes heavy subject matter. Go to firstname.lastname@example.org to order Wait on the Bridge.