I just spent an hour listening intently to Bob Bennett’s new CD, Joy Deep as Sorrow.
Aaaaand… he does it once again: With characterisitic wit and disarming insight, our buddy Bob draws us into his own story, which turns out to be our own; casting our vision beyond the “familiar lit surface of things, to walk though a door into the dark, to find what is there, ‘somewhere in the center.'” * And at that dim, dank center, the light of Bob’s vision ultimately alights on God’s Moveable Feast “staking out holy territory/ laying claims to the realms of glory.” It’s a terrrific album.
Produced by Roy Salmond (producer of my Devotion album), Joy Deep as Sorrow is sonically warm – each song treated sparingly with Bob’s rich voice and familiar signature acoustic guitar at the center. Musicians include: Roy Salmond (on everything), Bill Bastone (bass), Gayle Salmond (vocals), Janaya Salmond (drums), Mike Janzen (Rhodes) and Bob Somma (electric guitar).
I won’t pretend to not be thrilled that Bob chose to rework one of my own songs for the collection (Birth of a Song) and am equally thrilled he included one of my favorites, Broken Beauty, a song he wrote with Jon Buller several years ago when a group of us songwriters were retreating together in B.C.
Bob’s reverence for Christ’s Church and her traditions is movingly evident in Two or More: “Oh the blessing of His congregation/ we cannot do alone what happens here”. And Bob’s masterful recasting of the 23rd Psalm (God My Shepherd) will likely become standard fare for Christian worship: “may Goodness and Mercy follow as friends/ and be my companions ’till journey’s end.” I’d love to hear this sung congregationally, acapella… in unison.
Lighthearted humor peppers the project with the self-depricating Playing the Part of Me, and the cutting but hilarious Panhandled At The Western Wall: “…some joker always feels the need to beg money for a purpose devine/ they never seem to learn that it’s never right to turn/ the “s” in scripture to a dollar sign.”
I hope the collection as a whole finds its rightful place in the devotional life of the wider community.
Hard copies of the Cd can be purchased though www.bob-bennett.com (see Buy Music button)
E-copies available at:
* quoted from Malcolm Guite’s Faith Hope and Beauty (p. 210)
Joy Deep as Sorrow / Bob Bennett
I want good to come after me
Half as relentlessly as trouble does… like a curse
I want health to protect me
Invade and infect me like disease does… but in reverse
I want sweetness and light to keep me up all night
Happy hours passing without a sleep
As sharp as a knife,I want love in this life
To cut me fast…cut me deep
I’d like to see good fortune paint a target on my back
I want laughter to stage a surprise attack
aa One fine day
aa Maybe two or three in a row
aa Blessings lined up
aa Waiting to become status quo
aa I don’t want to be unfaithful
aa But I really want to know
aa Is there a joy deep as sorrow?
The story is told from the days of old
About the sad fate of humankind
How at some prenatal stage or accountable age
We’re all hell-bent in heart and mind
We use to call it sin but now we’re not so sure
Seems when everybody’s God then there’s no need for a cure… or…
aa Joy deep as sorrow
aa Pleasure as potent as pain
aa Stable as an earthquake
aa Harmless as a hurricane
aa Inmates freed from the asylum
aa At long last everybody driven sane
aa By a joy deep as sorrow
What if ecstasy reinvented me
So little children would point and smile
What if misery were like a lottery
All my losing tickets in a pile
An avalanche of platitudes better left unsaid
When that which does not kill me makes me wish that I was dead
Every day that I am walking it’s always something new
I want to step in a pile of good
and leave it on my shoe…