Personnel: Chris August (vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, keyboards, programming); Chris Lacorte, Mike Payne, Drew Ramsey (electric guitar); Josh Moore, Tim Lowry (keyboards); Ben Phillips, Jacob Schrodt (drums, percussion).
Audio Mixer: Neal Avron.
Recording information: Holiday Ian, Franklin, TN; Stereophinic, Nashville, TN; Warner Bros. Studio, Nashville, TN.
Editors: Aaron Shannon; Marc Lacueta.
Photographer: Tony Baker .
There are artists who play it safe with their album titles, and then there's Chris August. First there was the improper English of his debut, No Far Away, an album that netted him three Dove Awards -- CCM's version of the Grammy -- and the chart-topping "Starry Night," which cemented him as Christian music's latest radio fixture. This time around August delivers The Upside of Down, a play on words meant to serve as an observation on the paradoxes of the Christian faith, all set to the crooner's acoustic brand of spirit pop. In truth, nothing on The Upside of Down quite mines the complexities of the faith experience, let alone man's response to life's ups and downs. Instead, August scratches the surface -- he is as uncomplicated and MOR a CCM singer as they come -- almost like a lite version of Bebo Norman, Aaron Shust, or Brandon Heath. August actually sounds like Heath on the title track, an acoustic walk in the park that could pass for a B-side to Heath's own "I'm Not Who I Was." August veers left of center on cuts like "Amen" and "Unashamed of You," adding a dash of gospel and blue-eyed soul to a disc that, in the end, is far more "Hey There Delilah" than a nod to the likes of Jonny Lang or Dave Barnes. The Upside of Down may not be cause to do backflips about, but it's otherwise a pleasant, if largely indistinct, sophomore disc from this maturing singer/songwriter. ~ Andree Farias