Arsenio Orteza

Arsenio is a music reviewer for WORLD Magazine and one of its original contributors from 1986. Arsenio resides in China. Follow him on Twitter @ArsenioOrteza.

Rock and roots

Music | Noteworthy new or recent releases
by Arsenio Orteza
Posted 4/08/21, 02:54 pm

Nature’s Light by Blackmore’s Night: Yes, the Renaissance-reenacting jigs and reels of the former Deep Purple and Rainbow guitarist Ritchie Blackmore and his wife have begun to sound like variations on the same theme. But, one, there’s nothing wrong with the theme. Two, “The Twisted Oak” belongs on the couple’s next best-of. And, three, Stevie Nicks could do wonders with “Four Winds.” Additionally, Blackmore occasionally still plugs in and solos, and not every song is a jig or reel.

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UMG

Faithful renditions

Music | Three albums surprise with new takes on classics, some with Christian roots
by Arsenio Orteza
Posted 4/08/21, 02:50 pm

Among the current bumper cover-version crop, none are more eye- (or ear-) opening than those of Harry Connick Jr., David Ramirez, and Paul Stanley’s Soul Station.

Connick’s is called Alone With My Faith (Verve), and a more accurate title you won’t find. Not only does Connick play every instrument and sing every vocal part, but all 13 songs address his rekindled faith in Christ. “I never took it seriously,” he sings in the funkily off-kilter “Look Who I Found,” “but you move mysteriously, Lord.” (A few verses later, he quotes John 14:6.)

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Listening to the calm

Music | Noteworthy new or recent releases
by Arsenio Orteza
Posted 3/25/21, 03:51 pm

Departures by Jon Foreman: “Departures from what?” you ask. The Switchfoot sound, for one thing. None of these introspective meditations on faith, hope, love, and mortality—not even the chipper ones—rock. And because they’re introspective, they depart from the typical Switchfoot perspective as well. Rather than aiming at the back row of sold-out arenas, Foreman lets his audience overhear one side of intimate conversations between himself and loved ones, himself and God, and himself and himself.

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