Have you ever been driving in the dark when you look up and see a house with all of its drapes open and blinds drawn up? The inside lights reveal the life of the occupant and you are drawn in by the intimacy and honesty of that stranger’s world. Sober opens up all of the windows and doors of Rusty Golden’s heart and draws you into his world of addiction recovery, faith, relationships and all the stuff that is life.
Golden has shared with me in the past about his battle to reach recovery, and though I could write word upon word about the darkness that addicts experience and what it means to reach the Light, nothing I write could help you understand this journey as much as Sober. From “Out of My Hands” through to becoming “Stoned on Love,” the emotion and the expression of Golden’s gravelly vocals will speak to your heart. If you can listen to this CD all the way through without tears falling, you are made of stronger stuff than I am. You can hear a sampler of the album here.
Golden has always reminded me of Elton John with the way he interprets music, and I can hear this influence throughout. I love the piano riffs, the incredible saxophone and the driving guitar beat. Just like Sir Elton’s music, you will not get bored or have that déjà vu feeling that every song sounds the same. Golden is gifted and musically articulate.
Each time I have listened to this album, I have been grabbed by the message in a different song. Beginning with “Out Of My Hands,” Golden shows us what it takes to maintain recovery from addiction. However, each track speaks to events that all of us experience. From lines such as “the fine line separating right from wrong that oughta be obvious is all but gone” from “Things I Lean On,” to “…sinning faster than Momma was praying,” the “God-shaped hole” of “Hollow Man,” and the enthusiastic “Stoned on Love,” we can relate to times when we felt ‘hollow’ to times when we were so filled with the love of Jesus, we had a natural high.
Rusty Golden has written many songs for Southern Gospel artists, but fans of “John In The Jordan” should be alerted that this CD is not filled with quartet-style songs. In my opinion, perhaps only a couple of the tunes are playable on Southern Gospel Radio: “The Reason Why I’m Here,” “Thank You Lord For This Day,” and perhaps “Living Right Now.” However, if you enjoy variety and gutsy vocals, this CD is for you. If you feel the relief in “I found Heaven in the hell I raised, in the not-so-good-old, ‘good old days…'”; pain in “though I love you I have to give you up;” and the dependence in “show me how to walk on feet of clay,” then this is an album you want to add to your collection immediately.
From an Inspirational Country and regular Country music radio point of view, most of these songs will appeal to a wide demographic. “Things I Lean On” has an easy feel, perhaps this is one that should introduce listeners to the world of Rusty Golden. This world is intense, provocative and edgy, but not one to be ignored. Sometimes we think we should present a picture with all the right pieces in place. Golden is not afraid to let you know that, like most of us, some of the puzzle pieces are still in the box.
This album is for those who are sober and those who want to be, for those with family who are addicted and those who have ever prayed for someone to find freedom. For the small minority of people whose lives have never touched those in need of recovery, you will find your own lyric on this album that will speak to whatever you are going through.
For monthly reviews of Gospel CDs, see the latest version of the SGN Scoops digital magazine, found on the SGN Scoops mainpage.