Keaggy, King & Dente (1997, Sparrow Records

By Victoria Moon

Okay: you're a fan of CCM music. You go to sleep one night and have this wonderful dream that the three top guitarists in Christian music decide to get together and put out an album. Not just some industry-conceived, thrown-together recording for a publicity stunt, but a real, honest album where they freely share licks, styles and songs, and their sheer joy and massive technique shines through. There would be the Beatlesque and classical influences of Phil Keaggy, touches of Wes King's rollicking folk-rock style and hints of Pat Metheney-like jazz and alternative music from the fingers of Scott Dente (the guitar playing half of CCM's bestselling duo Out of the Grey). There would be a few great rock songs, none of those soulful pop ballads CCM can too often produce, and lots of wonderful instrumentals to show off all that lovely, lovely guitar work. Upon closer examination of the album you would find it had been produced by none other than ex-Chagall Guevera member/producer extrordinaire Lynn Nichols.

Then you wake up, head to your nearest Christian bookstore and see "Invention" on the shelves. It wasn't a dream. It really is as good as the hype. Buy it: it will never be too far from your CD player. It very rarely gets this good in CCM-land--at least while you're awake.