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Running Back to You

Chris Sligh

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Album Review

When he first appeared on American Idol, Chris Sligh seemed like the sixth season's answer to the unconventional appeal of Taylor Hicks, a guy who didn't look like a pop singer at all but had enough off-kilter charm and sense of self to win over the American public. Things didn't quite work out that way, as the Sligh train derailed halfway through the season, ironically enough because he had an inflated sense of self, mouthing back to the judges (especially Simon, as he's the only one anybody cares about) in a way that made him, not them, more arrogant. This helped usher him off the show, but not before he built a following among the audience he had hoped to target: contemporary Christian music fans, who the former Bob Jones University student cultivated through his diligently updated blog during his year of Idol fame. This nicely set up a chance for a career as a CCM recording artist, an opportunity he seized with his 2008 debut, Running Back to You. Sligh's American Idol exposure ensured him top-level CCM talent, coming in the form of producer Brown Bannister, who has worked with such Christian heavyweights as Steven Curtis Chapman and Amy Grant, and producer Stephen Leiweke, who helmed the debut from Jars of Clay. With these two producers, Sligh has run the gamut of CCM, appealing to both the middlebrow mainstream and an element of the alternative side (albeit an aging alternative, as the Jars of Clay angle does not reflect the increasing U2/Coldplay mannerisms of many younger CCM bands). It's a record designed to appeal to everybody within its demographic and it does, without offending anyone, surging on layers of overdubbed guitars and strings and bucketloads of earnest emotion. There's nary a trace of the smack-talking Sligh who set Simon's teeth on edge, and frankly, it could have used a bit of b**e, as this does nothing more than fit into CCM conventions, occasionally pushing those boundaries just a little, as when "Loaded Gun" flirts with a chamber string arrangement borrowed from "Eleanor Rigby." It's enough to position Chris Sligh as a viable CCM artist, which it does, and that's all it was meant to do.

Biography

Born: 1978 in Madison, TN

Genre: Religious

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Chris Sligh received his big break during the sixth season of American Idol, where his self-deprecating humor and tenor vocals earned him a tenth-place finish. He parlayed that success into a CCM career, first with the band Half Past Forever (which Sligh had formed prior to the American Idol season) and later as a solo act. Born into a Baptist household in 1978, Charles Christopher Sligh developed his faith and singing ability at a young age. His parents were missionaries whose work required the...
Full bio
Running Back to You, Chris Sligh
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