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Album Review

How appropriate is it that when this popular CCM vocalist is either praying to or praising God, he hits all the emotional hotspots, yet when he's telling folksy tales about only marginally interesting characters, the songs fall somewhat flat? He could easily have a potential worship standard on his hands with the joyous, country influenced up-tempo rocker "This Good Day," which simply but effectively sees the morning as a gift of the Creator. The simple piano-vocal piece "Pass Me Not" and dramatic, soaring "Beyond the Sky" have an amazing hymn-like quality to them as they explore all the doubts and faith inherent in the Christian life. "No One Else" comes across like a swinging pop Psalm, and a gentle reworking of the African-American plea "Give Me Jesus" is pure and heartfelt. On the other hand, pieces like "Old Girl" that don't reference God are forgettable folk tunes. There are hints here of a Rich Mullins-like writing and vocal style, but with slightly less imagination. Given time, though, Ortega could develop into one of CCM's brightest lights of the new millennium.

Biography

Genre: Christian & Gospel

Years Active: '00s

Classically trained as a pianist but also steeped in the Hispanic tradition of his New Mexico homeland, gospel singer/songwriter Fernando Ortega recorded more than a half-dozen LPs for various labels before signing to Myrrh/Word in 1997, as part of a Christian musical renaissance which saw a variety of musical traditions entering the liturgies of mainline churches. An aficionado of American and Irish folk as well as the Spanish-oriented music he grew up with, Ortega also studied early music and hymns...
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Home, Fernando Ortega
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