Leaving Safe Anchorage

Here is my latest album review for BBC Radio Cornwall – it features Leaving Safe Anchorage by The Harbour Lights (ICC0968D)

I have always admired those people who are quick to spot a trend – or even start one. You know the type: the first to wear the latest fashion, or have the latest gadget. My way has been to trail along after them, eventually plumping for something …….. probably just as the trend-setters are moving on to the latest, even newer and even more exciting fad.
So it’s not a real surprise that I should discover this week’s album – Leaving Safe Anchorage by The Harbour Lights – just as they are about to bring out their next CD. I picked it up at Spring Harvest this year and found it a really pleasant surprise.
This is not a shout it from the rooftops offering nor a praise and worship festival. Neither is it really folk-rock; actually there’s no easy pigeonhole to slot them into. Put simply, Leaving Safe Anchorage is a slice of high-quality music topped with the most sublime honey-rich voice.
That voice belongs to Bethan Court and is just gorgeous. Her tone perfectly captures the mood of the songs and holds that sense of yearning for something which must be better than this.
The song-writing credits go to Phil Baggaley – one half of 80s duo Phil & John – and Ian Blythe and reflect a sense of journey into an existence where the destination is known but still emerging in all its fulness. It’s clearly a statement of faith – of travelling in faith and in hope of arrival safely at the last port of call.
The album cover quotes Christian writer Brian D McLaren, who says: “I don’t know where this path will lead. It’s like we’ve come to the edge of the map, and all familiar paths are behind us, but a new world is out there ahead of us. I feel this urge to find other people who are on the edge of the map too, and maybe if we travel on together we can make some new discoveries … There aren’t any footprints to follow but there’s light ahead and there’s a certain beauty in it all.”
That really could be a text for this album.
Apple Day is an intriguing number. Phil Baggaley takes a traditional Derbyshire custom built around collecting windfall apples and weaves it into a song about how faith and life meet; how we say forgiveness is the key but questioning if we ever really know it.
After all, for many people faith is not encountered in blazing lights and sudden dramatic conversions but in a gentle growing of conviction that there must be something more and God must be at the heart of it; or as the song says, “not a message from a burning bush/but a quiet change of season”.

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One thought on “Leaving Safe Anchorage”

  1. I agree – like you I got my copy at Spring Harvest (having caught their gig in ‘After Hours’ there).
    Superb music, although I’m not sure I agree with the blurb on the sticker on the CD case which said something about “a cross between Fleetwood Mac and Simply Red”….what??? Maybe a hint of Fleetwood Mac on ‘The Traveller’ I suppose.

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