The Twenty-First Time

by: Monk & Neagle

John Mayer fans may roll their eyes at the frequency with which acoustic pop artists are compared to the bluesy guitarist, but Monk & Neagle without a doubt deserve to be in the same conversation. From the first sprightly chord of "Beautiful You," the Amarillo, TX duo prove a sensibility for crafting catchy pop that incorporates a wealth of jazz and folk influences. The CCM artist who comes to mind almost immediately is Bebo Norman. This is not just because of their flare for mixing odes to the Divine with tender love ballads. It is also a credit to Norman's longtime producer Ed Cash for once again squeezing out every last drop of pop appeal on The Twenty-First Time. The album title refers to how often we come across those less fortunate and don't feel like making an effort to help them. The social commentary comes across as sophisticated, not preachy. The rest of the album reaches out to emotions we feel toward God or our loved ones. First single "Hallelujah, Jesus" is no more challenging lyrically than the title infers. The same could be said of "Wonderful Angel" and "Yours Forever," but the duo manages to make them infectious with their passionate vocal delivery. Overall, The Twenty-First Time is a highly accessibly collection that builds on the duo's self-titled debut. ~ Jared Johnson

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