Ceili Rain Review - ChristianMusic.com
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The Ceili Rain I MADE LEMONADE Christian Music Review

  
MISSION STATEMENT /GOAL: To encourage listeners to Trust On-Love On-Joy On!

To inspire the listener to persevere through life's troubles, depending and trusting on the Lord, and stepping out in faith and love.
To encourage the listener to develop a grateful heart toward the Lord for all He does for us.
The songs presented were to be simple without being “dopey”.
This album, I MADE LEMONADE would be a bigger sounding record, with song compositions that listeners could turn up loud.

MEMBERS OF CEILI RAIN

Raymons Arias - Electric guitar.
Bil l Bleistine - Drums and percussion
Burt Mitchell - Tin whistles, villeann pipes, Highland pipes, harmonica.
Joe Davoli - Fiddle and mandolin
Bob Halligan jr., - Lead and back-up vocals, acoustic and electric guitar, bass, keyboards, harmonica

Matt Mason - Bass on "Me-est Me I Can Be"
Kevin de Souza - Bass on "I SEE A HALO"
Max McKee - Bass on "KING OF EVERYTHING"

Produced by: BOB HALLIGAN JR. and CEILI RAIN
Mixed and mastered by: Roman Klun


Dedication: "I MADE LEMONADE" album was inspired by "the debates, the troubles, and the love from the Lord that surrounds BHjr and Ceili Rain."

Music Review: I Made Lemonade

WOW! what an album; full of encouragement, hope, mixed with a touch of humor, sure to put a smile on the face and provide inspiration for developing a grateful, thankful heart! For Bob Halligan Jr. and crew have surely created a collection of songs that are the perfect remedy for life's potholes, bumps in the road, painful, scary storms and high adventures that all of us face and go through, sooner or later in our life-time in this world. For the love, mercy, faithfulness and greatness of our Lord as being the ultimate solution is the underlying theme that runs throughout the songs, especially when we  "Trust on, love on and joy on!"

TRUST ON -  (THE KING OF EVERYTHING * I MADE LEMONADE  * SO BEYOND IT * I'LL FIND YOU)

LOVE ON - (HUG OF WAR * GOD IN THERE * RIGHT ON THE MONEY * I SEE A HALO * LETS DO THIS THING)

JOY ON - (ME-EST ME I CAN BE * * GOOD OL' GOD * JOY ON)

All of the above goals have more than been met in this Halligan and Ceili Rain produced, rip-roaring with the spirit, musical presentation of twelve songs, much to the benefit of the listener. It all begins with the musical compositions, and the energy and powerful spiritual essence present throughout the album. Not only is the listener treated to Ceili Rain's infectious, high-energy, musically creative  joy monster sound that they are known for, that intuitively blends pop-rock music, with touches/undertone of Celtic /Irish instrumentation, but the quality of the music is even better on this album, I MADE LEMONADE, for a variety of reasons.

Additional musical elements found in blues & Gospel; (THE KING OF EVERYTHING), harder rock and funk; (RIGHT ON THE MONEY), and jazz(ME-EST ME I CAN BE) are enthusiastically added to the compositions of various songs to further liven up the joyous musical mix. Needless to say, spiritual energy flows through the album, adding an underlying, irresistible force to the album's variety of heart-catching, spirit lifting melodies, exciting rhythms and Bob Halligan's  dynamic vocals that express the lyrical messages so well.

The musicians involved are truly gifted and full of the spirit, bringing the music roaringly to life. They play like a tight unit together, paying heed to dynamics, having no trouble playing any kind of music presented. Especially give kudos to the drummer, a talented fellow indeed!

With these compositions that you will want to crank up in volume, and perhaps will be inspired to dance around the room as well, the listener is not only entertained musically, but also encouraged and uplifted by the messages of the songs presented. The lyrical messages explore various issues such as personal courage, trusting in the Lord and stepping out in faith and love, and recognizing in gratitude and praise what the Lord does for us out of his love, faithfulness and mercy.

The results are the creation of  wonderful musical platforms for the deeper spiritual messages, to a degree that surpasses any of their other albums. From lively anthems (GOOD OL' GOD) to poignant ballads (HUG OF WAR), the compositions are well-paired with meaningful, heart-felt lyrics, wrapped in a touch of humor, and poignancy.  For the inspiration for the music  and lyrical messages come from the realization of the faithfulness, mercy and love of The Lord, through personal relationships that have grown with the Lord, because of the challenges in teaching  children, life's bumps in the road, disappointments, losses and frustrations that the  members of Ceili Rain and Bob Halligan Jr. have experienced; issues we all can relate to in our lives.

This album explores such themes as: Trusting the Lord to see us through (KING OF EVERYTHING * I MADE LEMONADE); Turning to God with our disappointments and heart-wrenching losses (SO BEYOND IT * I'LL FIND YOU);  Showing his love (I SEE A HALO * GOD IN THERE * LET'S DO THIS THING); Enjoying the blessings we do have (ME-EST ME I CAN BE); and remembering to be grateful to the Lord (JOY ON * GOOD OL' GOD * RIGHT ON THE MONEY).

As Bob Halligan Jr uses a variety of musical genres in these songs, He has the ability to sing in the appropriate vocal style, as well as composing parts for back-up harmonies and on several songs, a chorus reflecting the blues and Gospel sound.  Besides being a talented story teller, Bob Halligan Jr. has long had a great talent in expressing heart-felt expressions in his vocals without getting "sappy";(SO BEYOND IT * LET'S DO THIS THING),as well as the ability to add a humorous flair to the presentation of some lyrical messages; (RIGHT ON THE MONEY). The effect of adding an emotional layer to his ballads/anthems, further makes many of the songs most enjoyable and relevant to the listener. His Humor, and wit are showcased in his vocals and lyrics as well, making the listener chuckle, yet making the point of the song very clear and relevant.

RIGHT ON THE MONEY - Begins with a rock guitar slide into rhythmic rock guitar style chords that establish the rhythm and spirit of this song with a vigor that stimulates the senses. In a rock style, vocals carry the melody. Music builds in the bridge, resulting in a fabulous sound in the chorus. Vocals are humorous, yet get the point across, about the clash between political correctness and  having God in our lives be made public.   Also, song has some fun about the materialistic standards in our society. Interlude features a smokin' guitar solo with funky overtones.

"Ya wanna rewrite the books/ Cause you think nobody looks/ Well I'm watching. and I'm not as dumb as I looks - Right on the money"...

Chorus: "You're right on the money-every day/ Right on the money-in every way/ YOU'RE in my pocket/ in my spirit/ in my soul/ I'm gonna love ya  'til I'm gray & tired & old/ Cause You're right on the money"//

Favorite verse: 3. "We spend it all/ we spend it tall/ Cause life is rough/without all that stuff/We've got two jobs - got three jobs/With all we make/still ain't enough/Before we spend/ One quick Amen /Cause... Chorus

The songs on this album, fit well with any age group, and make great family music. The main theme of each song is clearly stated in each song's chorus, that are easy to remember and sing along with in the spirit of the song.

JOY ON, GOD IN THERE, and LET'S DO THIS THING are ballads about teachable moments with children and teens, and what a parent learned in return.  

JOY ON, is a ballad that's full of joy-monster energy rock and a spirit of jubilation, tells the tale of a teen or pre-teen named Johnny, who is suffering through the angst of puberty, and is influenced by a spiritual song he hears on the radio.  A great harmonica interlude brings sparkle to the song.
Chorus: "Trust on - Love on - Joy on."

GOD IN THERE - A ballad with a  rock-propelled melody, animated by an interesting rhythm, with a Gospel-style chorus. Sound builds in the bridge, exploding into the joy monster machine' music mode in the chorus. It is a ballad that explores 3 situations, and how a Christian should show by example in demeanor and action, in order to do our share showing the world Jesus:
On a job interview, in helping a stinky homeless man, and in a world meeting with Russia and France.  This theme relates to our other meetings of importance with people who don't know God.

Chorus:"If He looks you in the eye-better hope he sees God in there (Love, Love), Better hope he sees God in there (Love, Love), Well I hope he sees God in there (Love, Love)/ Cause if he sees God in there- you'll get to do your share."

LET'S DO THIS THING - Another, lively Ceili Rain melody with a nice blend of Celtic instrumentation, keys and guitars, held together with another interesting rhythm, and joyous enthusiasm by all involved.

A meaningful ballad with a wonderful theme statement, cleverly put together in the chorus. Each of the three verses tells a story about a father and child named Li, and how they encourage each other. First verse has the father and child up on the high dive board over a pool, 2nd verse has a father encouraging a young driver who has suddenly lost his courage while practicing driving a car, and the third verse tells the tale of the young person driving his father to the father's doctor appointment, and encouraging his /her dad to have the treatment.

Chorus: "Let's do this thing / Let's do this thing / We'll take our chances / and dance our dances/ Let freedom ring / Let's do this thing".//
Turning to the Lord when challenges and losses appear in real life has brought forth spiritual meat that in turn comes out in the lyrics and the vocal presentations so delightfully.  What was learned from  personal experiences has been lovingly tied into the theme of each song, making all the songs impressive testimonies to the love and faithfulness of the Lord who cares for us and will see us through anything. (Psalm 32:10b-The Lord's unfailing love surrounds a man who trusts in Him.)

My favorite songs on this album have got to be KING OF EVERYTHING * GOOD OL' GOD * I MADE LEMONADE * LET'S DO THIS THING * I'll FIND YOU * SO BEYOND IT * I SEE A HALO)

KING OF EVERYTHING - A moving ballad that has a strong, well-written composition, with a 3/4 meter, blues/Gospel mix, complete with some interesting guitar interludes. Dynamics in music and vocals are terrific, vocals very expressive, with powerful lyrics. Gospel flavor is especially felt in the choral back-up in the chorus. Ends with a gospel VAMP.

Favorite verses:
1:"The rage and the rhapsody/the rock and the roll/The wave of tragedy/ that swamps my poor soul/ But the smile that's climbin' back up from my toes/ You have made/ all these things//

2. "Friends are dyin'/ same age as me/ Cyclones draggin' little kids out to sea/ But I think I'm cryin'/(be)cause I believe/ You cry too/At all these things / But You bring us through!!!!!!!

CHORUS: You're the King/The King/ The King/ Of everything/ You're the King/the King/The King/ Of everything//
I MADE LEMONADE - Title song: Begins this album with a joyous burst of jubilation, portrayed musically and verbally,  proclaiming a victory over the lemons in life, with the Lord's intervention. It has a great, irresistible melody, rhythm, lively composition, semi-humorous lyrics and terrific vocals by Bob Halligan Jr, who does both the lead vocals and the harmony vocals, that add so much to the presentation of the message.

Favorite verses:
1. "Shoulda-coulda-woulda made big money/ Tasted the honey, but i got sour/ Bitter situations / great frustrations/ but somehow in the 11th hour"...
Chorus: "I made lemonade from the lemons You sent me/ Lemons You sent me day after day/ I made lemonade tho the lemons were plenty/ They never could tempt me to fade in the shade / I made lemonade"//
Bridge: Sour puss, sour face, whining was my biggest waste of time/ Lemons here/ Lemons there. Lemonade is everywhere / It's mi-ee-i-ee-ine!

2. Speaking to God - "Ya shoulda-coulda-woulda left my flailing/ Barely sailing/ heart to sink/ But You came to the rescue/ And what's best/ You were so slick that now I think"// Chorus
The three most poignant ballads;( I'll FIND YOU * SO BEYOND IT * I SEE A HALO), also are the most prettiest compositions, that use mostly Celtic instruments, supported by keys and acoustic/electric guitar. The combination of instrumentation in the compositions, lyrics and Bob Halligan's wonderful vocals tug on the heart, as the songs expose our need for the Lord, seeking him out.

SO BEYOND IT - You really need Kleenex on this song, if you are sensitive. It is a prayer of petition of a man who has hit rock bottom in a stormy sea of pain and neediness. Wonderful choral back-up of  dynamic main vocals, which express so vividly the state of mind of a person really in search of help from God.

Refrain: "You are so beyond it/ so beyond it/ So beyond it Lord."// repeat.
Favorite verse:"I'm stuck in my pain-I'm stuck in the rain/ I'm stuck in this ocean of foolish pride/ I'm bound by this earth/My fears of what I'm worth/ I'm bound by the ceiling upon my sky//

I'LL FIND YOU - Love the Celtic instrumentation throughout this  dynamic composition, with a memorable melody and poignant lyrics once again so beautifully expressed by Bob Halligan Jr., and the rest of the band singing in the bridge. Great ballad that speaks to a lot of folks with the same issues described in this message.

"I've searched the house for the glasses I'm wearing/ Turned the key twice to lock the same door/ Checked the top shelf for the things I've spread on the floor// Searched the desk for the notes in my pocket/ Read what I wrote but don't remember what for/ So much ocean, my poor boat can't find the shore"//

Chorus: "But I kno-o-ow where, yes I kno-o-ow where, Yeah, I kno-o-ow where I'll find You."

Bridge: "Gonna find You in the gutter( find you in the gutter) find You in the church (find you in the church)/ Find You in the best of us (find You in the best of us)/  And find You in the worst;(Find you in the worst)/ Find you in the cradle(find you in the cradle)/find You in the hearse (find you in the hearse) /Find You in the mirror/ Let me find You in the mirror".....

I SEE A HALO - A traditional, energetic Ceili Rain offering of Irish instruments intermingled with guitars, creating a happy upbeat tune of thanksgiving. Inspiring electric guitar interlude is entertaining.
Gives thanks to someone special who showed love to this person in all kinds of situations, acting like an angel, becoming the hands of the Lord.

GOOD OL' GOD - Album ends with this rocking, joy-monster broad anthem of faith and gratitude, with an infectious melody, beat, lyrics and vocals, that covers many blessings that the Lord offers is sure to get the listener singing along with this song of thanksgiving and praise. It is the perfect praise and worship song, with a simple, yet powerful chorus, cleverly worded lyrics, that are entertaining yet true, leaving the listener full of love and appreciation for the Lord. There are 12 things mentioned that good ol' God does for us, because He loves us!

Chorus: "Whoa-oa-oa, the only way I know/ Whoa-oa-oa's good ol' God!"

My favorites:
"Where's the place you go to hide/ When your life's a bumpy ride? / Good ol' God/ Good ol' God"//
"Who's the petrol in your tank/ Who's the money in your bank?/ Good ol' God/ Good ol' God"//
*(My personal favorite!)- "Every time you've lost your keys/He says, "Here they are / Get off your knees"/Good ol' God/ Good ol' God"//
"When your family fades away/Who's the one who says, "I'll Stay."/Good ol' God/ Good ol' God"//
"When good fortune waves good-by/gives you other fish to fry/ Good ol' God/ Good ol' God"//


The album, I MADE LEMONADE  is a musical joy that offers always interesting, spirit-lifting compositions, dynamic, expressive vocals and lyrical messages that bring a sense of hope and gratefulness  for who the Lord is and what He means to us. This album is a must-have musical tool of encouragement; a really delightful collection of songs that can blast away negativity and encourage a positive trust and faith in the Lord, through all of life's challenges and tragedies. This collection of songs encourages us all,to depend on the Lord, to get past life's troubles, and carry on, in showing love to others and enjoying the joy of the Spirit as we stay in God's will for our lives. "TRUST ON, LOVE ON, JOY ON!"

Julie Carr - Reviewer for ChristianMusic.com

SOURCES INCLUDE: ceili rain, and Frank Lewis.

CEILI RAIN VIDEO * "NO YOU - NO ME" VIDEO

Ceili Rain Review 1 * Ceili Rain Review 2

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