Aren Bruce – “Take Time” (October 20, 2018)
Aren Bruce is an artist who sounds like he intends to be around for a while. His songwriting approach manages to have genuine mainstream accessibility while also being able to approach serious topics in a pointed and thoughtful way. This artist has managed to craft a Christian record that could easily and comfortably sit alongside the likes of Jack Johnson, John Mayer, and Jason Mraz without sounding even the slightest bit out of place. It’s a great example of how good craftsmanship can create songs that promise to have enduring meaning and appeal without being boxed in by Christian lingo or sentimentality. We are talking about an acoustic singer-songwriter who manage to sneak the word “Christology” into a song and make it sound natural, un-forced, and relatable. That’s impressive.
“Take Time” is exactly the kind of record that an artist in this genre needs to put out in order to establish artistic credibility. Over the course of ten tracks, Bruce demonstrates not only his solid lyric-writing and vocal skills but also his grasp of music theory and the subtleties of several genres, all without sounding scattered or disjointed. Every song on the album has a different sonic texture and musical palette, without departing much from the acoustic guitar save for some piano sections. This speaks well of a musician who has honed skills in a couple different playing styles. I can confidently give this endorsement – if you’re a new guitarist who is looking for ways to expand your playing vocabulary, this is a good guitar record for you to listen to and learn from.