The Journey: Songs Along The Chai Way
The last of four albums by Bruce Benson to be reviewed here, The Journey: Songs Along The Chai Way was released in 2003. The Journey is a collection of principally contemporary non-liturgical songs, mostly Bruce Benson originals.
In addition to vocals, Bruce Benson can also be heard on guitars and keyboards. The over-all musical style of The Journey: Songs Along The Chai Way leans heavily towards folk/folk-pop-rock, with touches of country here and there, and of course cantorial touches scattered about. The lyrics tend to be a trifle hard to follow a lot of the time, and they are printed far too small for me to read without the aid of a fairly powerful loupe, and I really can't be bothered to go to such extremes. Thus, I perhaps best leave out commenting upon the lyrics. Nonetheless, the spiritual conviction and sincerity both in the performance and the songs themselves comes across most strongly, as in Cantor Bruce Benson's previous albums. If you like Jewish religious music in modern idioms, then this album is definitely for you. Even if you do not, I suggest it is still worth having a listen to Bruce Benson's The Journey: Songs Along The Chai Way. I certainly find it spiritually appealing, even refreshing.
Twelve tracks are listed in the sleeve notes, however, two of these are segued so the actual track number is eleven. In the track listing below, I have indicated the two segued songs as one track (the final one).
Alas, unless you are of "a certain age", i.e., distinctly middle-aged or beyond, I can't really see Bruce Benson's The Journey: Songs Along The Chai Way appealing, certainly not to younger people, at whom presumably it is mainly aimed. This kind of idiom is just too dated in the age of Hassidic Hip-Hop and rap to be likely to appeal to younger folks and therefore is unlikely to stir up their enthusiasm for Judaism. However, as with The Rock Service, it is all the same a most commendable effort, and one again can't help but like and admire Cantor Bruce Benson's spirit and aims, and even chutzpah. All strength to the good cantor, once more, and may he long continue! The soul and spirit of this album are certainly beautiful ones. Travel well, one and all.
© 2004 Rainlore's World of Music/Rainlore. All rights reserved.
1. Ki Yishm'oon (music Richard Silverman, lyrics I Kings 8:42) - 3:23
2. R'tze (text Shabbat Evening Service) - 3:47
3. 13 (B. Benson) - 4:31
4. Hariu (music B. Benson & R. Silverman, lyrics Psalm 98: 4-6) - 2:44
5. Candles music & non-liturgical lyrics B. Benson) - 2:29
6. Stones of Time (B. Benson) - 4:00
7. V'zot haTorah (music B. Benson, lyrics Deuteronomy 4:14) - 0:59
8. Shalom Song (music B. Benson, lyrics Numbers 6:24-26) - 4:21
9. The Journey (B. Benson)- 4:06
10. Adonai Li (music B. Benson & D. Rossoff, lyrics Adon Olam [Shabbat Evening Hymn]) - 4:36
11. Somewhere Over The Rainbow (Arlen/Harburg) /
Journey Sequence - Outro (B. Benson) - 6:37