January 30, 2024

Mark Bishop "Home"

“Every new recording project takes on its own personality, even after nearly forty years of recording music,” says GRAMMY-nominated artist Mark Bishop. “It never grows old. New songs, new ideas, different combinations of singers and musicians… they all come together to make a whole new thing.”

The truth and wisdom of this observation are borne out on Home, the singer’s first album since 2021’s Some Distant Mountain. For where that album reflected Bishop’s deep love and respect for a “mountain music” rooted in folk songs, Celtic sounds and timeless ballads, the new one takes a different, though no less creative — and rooted — approach that wraps the enduring messages of God’s love and Christ’s redemption in moments of startling musical vision. Opening with an up-tempo affirmation of faith that can triumph over Satan’s efforts:

The story of old Job shows Satan comes to everyone.

When he comes to you, well you can make the devil scat

By saying, “I found something better.

I found something better…

I found something better than that.”

Home introduces an accomplished crew of musicians — along with background singers Amber Eppinette Saunders (11th Hour) and Freddie Ratliff — capable of delivering inspired and soulful backing no matter which direction Bishop’s creativity takes them. Nowhere is the breadth of that creativity, and the depth of that talent, more evident than in the title — and focus — track, an evocation of generations of joyous African-American gospel that features a remarkable set of harmonies by Ratliff that surround Bishop’s exuberant lead.

Still, whether it’s the minor key groove of rising first single, “I Met Someone On The Way To The Cemetery,” the Beatles-esque sophistication of “If We Can’t Be Happy Here,” which includes some deliciously appropriate whistling by Bishop himself, the duet with Karen Peck Gooch on a foreboding “But There Is A Cross” or the magnificent closing, “Ten Thousand Witnesses,” with its swelling orchestral passages and celebratory choir, all of these are performances and songs — all written by Bishop — that perfectly match the living message of God’s grace to compelling music.

“With Home, we explore through music and lyrics how God moves through our lives, through big moments and little ones,” says Bishop. “He’s there in our love of family. He’s there through the ups and downs of life. He’s weaving a grand tapestry that one day will be revealed to us. We will see what at the time only He could see, on that day when we finally make it ‘home.'”