October 01, 2012
Jonathan Butler - Grace And Mercy [Review: Soul Tracks]
Jonathan Butler has come a long way since his self-titled 1987 album brought him fame in America that matched if not exceeded his status in his native South Africa. Back then, folks heard Butler’s guitar riffs and his vocals and saw the second coming of George Benson. Butler certainly had no problem with the comparison (who would?). Butler’s picking on instrumentals such as “Going Home” and the way he verbalized the guitar notes he played on tracks like “Lies” came right from the Benson playbook.
There were always differences, however. Butler, I think, is a more refined singer with a wider vocal range than his guitar hero. The two artists also have one major thematic and topical difference: Butler accepted Christ into his life when he was a youth trying to deal with the anger he felt growing up as a poor black person in apartheid era South Africa and he has released several recordings that are overtly and unapologetically Christian. Grace and Mercy, Butler’s latest record, falls into that category.