One of Britain’s great fingerstyle acoustic guitarists, Gordon Giltrap has long hoped to parlay his instrumental music into songs. To this end he recruited his friend, the Reverend Martin Green, to write lyrics to some of his melodies, and talented vocalist Carol Lee Sampson to sing them. The fruit of their efforts, Echoes Of Heaven is a beautiful, elegantly produced set of 14 devotional songs.
Praise Him is adapted from Giltrap’s Roots, with lyrics taken from the Psalms; Mary sees Night enhanced with the story of Mary Magdalene’s visit to Jesus’s tomb, and Christmas Carol is given a suitably holy script. The uplifting Heartbeats gets a lovely vocal treatment here.
There’s an ease, a like-mindedness between these three talents, and it flows through the music. Sampson’s vocals are, well, heavenly, conveying clear-eyed Christian sentiment with conviction. Giltrap’s fluid style is as strong and mesmerising as ever, and Green’s religious texts suit the acoustic accompaniment perfectly.
But for all the expertise and thematic unity here, how you engage with Edge Of Heaven may depend heavily on how much you share their sense of spiritual wonder.