Daniel Kirkley Proves Himself A Buried Treasure of Christian Music | Posted April 16, 2012 Staff Reviewer
Daniel Kirkley quietly released his national debut on Centricity Records back in 2007, entitled Let Love Win. It garnered him a single that got some moderate airplay on radio and on Christian music video channels, "My New Dawn." However, beyond that, the album seemed to fly completely under the radar and Kirkley and his label later parted ways. It was unfortunate because Kirkley had a captivating voice that some have called a cross between Josh Groban and Billy Joel.
In 2010, Kirkley began work on a new album independent of a label and released it in 2011. The album was called Where Healing Starts and it is definitely one of the best contemporary releases of recent years that nobody seems to know about.
While Kirkley's debut brought a polished, yet intimate sound with it, Kirkley's follow-up release takes that sound and expands it into a fuller and more orchestral extravaganza. It surprised me that going indie gave Kirkley's sound such a strong push.
The album opens with the instantly catchy "In-Between" that could've been a strong crossover hit for Kirkley. That leads into the album highlight "How You See It," which is a plea to God to be able to see things as He sees it and not in the light of our own prejudices. The song is musically rich and would sound great on the radio.
Kirkley then slows things down with "Surrender," a song sounding a bit more like what came on his first album, but still an overall strong offering. The anthems return with a cover of country hit, "There Is A God," which then moves into the superb "Like The Angels Do." After five tracks, the album still keeps delivering the memorable tunes.
After this, Kirkley brings out his self-declared "peppy, rainy-day song," written on such a rainy day, entitled "Way to Me." This song is also the album's radio single, which as of now is still being overlooked by stations. It's a shame, because the tune is impossibly catchy and makes it hard to not move your feet to the song's infectious melody.
The title track follows and slows things down again. The song ultimately winds up as a moving and comforting reminder of healing starting in the midst of our darkest hour, "in the middle of your brokenness."
This ultimately leads into a quieter second half of the album, with strong songs like "Quiet Place" and "Strong Enough" offering a soothing context to the radio-friendly anthems that dominated the first half. However, there is still a good upbeat tune left in "World Without You" that is one of the better love ballads released recently. "Love Remains" and the touching song about mothers--"A Mother's Song"--conclude the album quietly, offering a nostalgic recollection of the love of mothers for their sons.
Lyrically, the album offers little that's especially innovative or new, but its honest portrayal delivers an incredibly resonating message. Whether it's the emotional plea of "I don't think I want to know a world without you, because a world without you is a world alone," or the intense honesty of, "To walk through the rain and into the pain is sometimes the price of freedom," Kirkley's songs offer an enjoyable listening experience that combines strong music with well-written lyrics. In other words, it's exactly what a good album should be.
Daniel Kirkley has released one of the most solid contemporary releases of the past few years. It's disheartening that it has received so little exposure, because any of these songs should be welcome additions to many radio playlists. Hopefully Kirkley will break through to some success soon because Contemporary Christian Music could use a few more refreshing sounds like the powerful one that Daniel Kirkley brings to the table.