Michael Roe Say Your Prayers Reviews

RelevantMagazine.com July 2002

Michael Roe's latest solo album, Say Your Prayers, is an introspective collection of songs that offer praise to God in the day-to-day joys and struggles, and everything that happens in between.

Some listeners already know him as the bluesy frontman for the critically acclaimed 77s. Other listeners will discover Roe for the first time, and soon realize that he is not only a skilled guitarist and vocalist, but also an extremely talented solo artist who has the ability to bring universal messages to life through his songs.

Say Your Prayers is his third solo effort, and one in the catalogue of numerous projects he has been a part of, both individually and collectively, throughout his 20-year career as an artist.

As a result, Roe has become highly recognized and well-respected by many. In whatever role he serves, Roe demonstrates that he desires not only to put forth finely crafted songs, but also to show himself in a very real way through what he writes.

Audiences can expect to hear rootsy, lightly folk-influenced numbers, mixed with pop-driven praise songs that speak from the heart.

The strength of the project lies in the fact that Roe is a passionate songwriter who writes from an honest and transparent place. He is also not afraid to touch on some of the tougher issues our culture has to deal with.

One example is the song "20 Years Gone," which talks about divorce. As a few lines of the lyrics relate: And where's the wound, the wounded soul/Where did the pour soul go?/He's hiding out, the crowd they called, come out and play/He won't come out no more.

Listeners will go on a musical journey, from the upbeat and stirring opening cut, "The Itch Is Back," to more acoustic and thoughtful ballads such as "What Holds On."

Lighthearted praise songs like "Sunshine Down," "Lutheran Hymn" and "Say Your Prayers" offer a fresh twist on what it means to praise God in the big and small moments that life has to offer. With catchy melodies and memorable choruses, you can expect to explore various heights and depths with insightful songs that make a difference.

Written, recorded and studio produced by Roe on his independently owned Fools Of The World record label, Say Your Prayers features stellar vocals and acoustic guitar stylings throughout.

The lyrics reflect a variety of themes and demonstrate the faith of a mature believer, one who is willing to reflect on his own experiences and share them with others.

Say Your Prayers encourages us that even in life's difficulties and trials, there is a greater hope, joy and promise that we have to live for.

CCMagazine.com August 2002

Former 77's Singer/Songwriter Michael Roe Completes New Solo Album Say Your Prayers

Michael Roe, singer/songwriter of the legendary 77's pop group, has released his latest solo effort Say Your Prayers on Roe's independently-owned Fools Of The World label. As with his earlier solo efforts, the project promises listeners an introspective, thoughtful and heart-wrenching collection of songs.

As a long-awaited follow-up to his 1996 solo release The Boat Ashore, Say Your Prayers further explores Roe's extraordinary talents as a songwriter and seasoned musician. The album's combination of powerful lyrics and sparse but elegant instrumentation continue to mark his tradition of making a lasting impression on listeners with songs that impact the heart.

One of the project's main strengths is Roe's genius in his ability to write and musically craft original songs that are honest about his own life while having the ability to reach deep inside the listeners lives, allowing them to reflect on their own experiences.

"If I have any strengths as a writer besides the pretty melodies, people say they like my lyrics because they feel very honest, real and penetrating to their hearts," Roe says.

Some of the songs on the project are intensely personal. One example is "20 Years Gone", which talks about a failed marriage. "My lyrics cover a lot of areas that other writers won't, or are afraid to. They deal with a lot of issues writers tend to run from because it's way too painful," he shares. Roe notes, however, that there is a lot of power in writing from that perspective, and says some of his own favorite songwriters are those who dare to expose those areas.

Roe not only writes from a real place, but the writing also reflects great maturity and depth. He says that Say Your Prayers has been an outlet for him to stretch and grow lyrically. "In my younger days, I was more caught up with the music than I was the lyrics," he notes. Despite the lyrical emphasis, the album also faithfully delivers the intricate and passionate guitar work that have become a signature stamp of Roe's overall recorded output.

The new project by this pop music veteran is characterized throughout by gorgeous melodies, catchy tunes and meaningful messages that will cause listeners to reflect on themselves and look at others with a fresh insight.

Written, recorded and produced by Roe himself, Say Your Prayers features a stellar vocal and acoustic guitar performance by the artist who gave us other well-known classics like "Come and Gone," "The Treasure in You", "Your Pretty Baby" and "Ache Beautiful."

No matter what role he finds himself in, whether the bluesy frontman for the critically acclaimed 77's, all-things-to-all men guitarist/vocalist for the rootsy collaborative Lost Dogs, or expressing his genuine creativity as solo artist, Michael Roe is always aiming for something higher.

"I set a goal for myself long ago to always try and improve the lyric writing, to try to make it as good as I can," Roe says. "However, the higher that standard gets, the harder and harder it is to pull it off, which is probably why I waited so long to put something new out" he muses.

In addition to Roe's solo efforts, he continues to be asked to collaborate and contribute on other artist's projects, including Randy Stonehill's upcoming project Edge of the World on Fair Oaks Records. The project will be available beginning on October 22 and features Roe's famous guitar playing and signature vocal stylings. In addition to Roe's participation, an all-star lineup joined Stonehill for Edge Of The World, featuring duets with Sara Groves and Phil Keaggy and a vocal line-up of Phil Keaggy, Russ Taff, Noel Paul Stookey (of Peter, Paul & Mary), Larry Norman, Barry McGuire and Annie Herring on a "Remember When" song Randy wrote about the Jesus Music explosion of the 1970s. In addition, Roe's old pal Phil Madeira adds his instrumental touch on many of the tunes.

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