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Charlie Peacock

No Man's Land – 2012 (101 Distribution)

Reviewed by Lee Zimmerman

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CDs by Charlie Peacock

Over the course of the past 20 years of so, Charlie Peacock's transitioned from widely respected Christian artist into a singer/songwriter of proven pop distinction. Along with a string of solo albums, he's written songs for numerous other artists in the Christian community, including Amy Grant, whose recording of Every Heartbreak provided him with one of his first certifiable hits. Likewise, his much lauded production of The Civil Wars' critically acclaim debut, "Barton Hollow," further boosted him towards the big time and brought him the widespread recognition that's long been his due.

In truth, Peacock's never been shy about breaching different boundaries, what with material that embraces jazz, gospel, bluegrass and country along with his more mainstream fare. Despite that, the readily accessible "No Man's Land" - his first album with vocals since the mid '90s - serves to spotlight his penchant for wistful homegrown sentiments that are as affecting as they are engaging. Anyone put off by the implications that might accompany his status as a so-called Christian artist who wears his religion on his sleeve need not worry; even though certain songs such as Mystic, Voice of the Lord, Kite in the Tree and Till My Body Comes Undone drift towards more spiritual realms, the sublime melodies ensure a universal embrace. Peacock's plucky rhythms, propelled by a reliable blend of banjo and fiddle, give a general back porch feel, one that's charming and disarming right from the initial encounter.

Consequently, there's no denying the ready appeal of the ramshackle ramble Death Trap and Ghost of the Kitty Cat, the reassuring refrain of Beauty Left the Room or the tender entreaty and hushed harmonies accompanying Let the Dog Back in the House. Religious implications aside, "No Man's Land" could be considered an album for the ages.