Reviewed by Tracy Darlington
The Grafting by John Schlitt
"The Grafting reveals John Schlitt's tender side, but John Schlitt the rock star can't help but slip out from time to time."
John Schlitt is no stranger to the Christian music scene. In fact, he could even be considered one of the founding fathers, having been recently inducted into the Christian Music Hall of Fame. Best known for his work as lead singer of Petra from 1986 until the band’s retirement in 2005, Schlitt has been hard at work as a solo artist, as well as making a worship album with fellow Petra member, Bob Hartman in 2007.
Even during his years with Petra John dabbled in making it on his own with solo albums “Shake” and “Unfit for Swine”. But The Grafting is Schlitt coming into his own - his own style and personality comes through loud and clear. It has the fresh influence of son in law, Dan Needham (who wrote most of the songs) and daughter Kari Needham’s BGVs. (Kari also did the artwork for the album.) Dan knows what he’s doing having written/produced for Amy Grant, Petra and Michael McDonald.
The Grafting could be considered a softer rock album than Schlitt’s first two solo endeavors, but his signature vocals still bring the rock feel home. Less than a handful of the cuts could really be called worship songs, like “Lord Have Mercy” and “Carry On”, which is a nice cut to end the project. But even the rockier numbers have an attitude of worship, like “Face of God” with the lyrics: “Do you hear what heaven hears? Do you know it in your heart? Do you share the pain and cry the tears, but don’t know where to start?”
The title cut takes you back to the Glen Campbell country days, smooth and easy -- a nice departure for Schlitt. He really puts his heart into this one, as he explains: “It’s a very personal song to me, because I have two grandsons that are adopted by my oldest child and her husband. And on a much greater scale - we are adopted children of God ONLY because He loved us so much that He grafted us into His family because of our faith in His Son, Jesus. In both scenarios my grandchildren and myself, and all believers, were made part of a family because of the actions of someone else - it was nothing we did to accomplish this.”
“Gravity” uses the most electricity, and John’s vocals are truly rocker quality. But it’s the closest you’ll get on this cd to rock and roll. Contrast that with “Your Eyes”, a piano driven ballad about how God will someday wipe every tear from our eyes, and you’ve got a melting pot of top quality, contemporary music. The Grafting reveals John Schlitt’s tender side, but John Schlitt the rock star can’t help but slip out from time to time.
Tracy Darlington is a freelance writer, and her work has appeared in Brio, Breakaway, YS, CCM Magazine, Insight, Susie Magazine, and other publications. She has interviewed countless Christian musicians including Rebecca St. James, Delirious, Newsboys, Leigh Nash, Barlowgirl, Krystal Meyers, Joy Williams, Pillar, Michelle Tumes, and many others. In her spare time she can be found riding horses or listening to music and sipping a Venti 3-shot sugar-free vanilla latte. Visit her online at her blog where she talks about Music, God, dogs and coffee. You can also look her up at Twitter and Facebook.