I Am Alive

I Am Alive CD cover

Fran Reagan is an experimenter who tries to blend musical and verbal expressions of his faith with contemporary music forms. I Am Alive is a self-portrait of a man wrestling with himself (including his art form) and God. Here are some glimpses of that self-portrait:

"Miss You" (which is easily missed, because it's the second of three sections of Track 11 [CD only, not available as a digital download]) is the most minimally orchestrated on the album, but all we need is the pang of loss carried by Fran's voice and his rhythmic plucking. He sings, "You're never coming back it's understood, but to give you a better "bye" you know I really would – but I miss you." The sentiment is so purely stated that I don't consider Fran's humility false, even though I believe few songs about loss rank as "better [good]byes" than this tribute to his late brother.

Most people are surprised that Fran's musical training is in the drums (his easy melodocism is a gift of nature). And "The Healer", unlike any other track on this disc, is built around his heartbeat-like pounding on the drums. It's a manic voice that speaks words of reassurance? "We could not walk and you gave us legs to run. We could not see every image with clarity ... you are the only one who heals us ..." It's an unsettling song because of Fran's ambivalence; and it's affecting because of our own.

"The Healer" runs almost six minutes and it's followed by a sea of gorgeous harmonies on a simple liturgy-like refrain called, "Lamb of God," which ends quickly (the song is just over a minute). The track reminds me of a more religious Brian Wilson snippet. It feels full of love on the order of Wilson's "Meant for You".

Purchase the CD ($15.99 + $2.99 shipping). Or buy the album or tracks as immediate mp3 downloads.

"The Healer" mp3 sample

"Lamb of God" mp3 sample

"I've Got to Pray" mp3 sample