Paisley Yankolovich is an artist you can’t miss, should you ever get a chance to hear him! With a voice reminiscent of Bob Dylan and Tom Petty, Paisley sings a message of reality. There’s nothing sugar-coated about it. Summing up my first impression of him, he’s an honest, approachable, acoustic, computer-backed one-man band. I wasn’t used to his vocal style, but it very quickly grew on me.
Much of Paisley Yankolovich’s music, as heard on his Does God Sleep CD is thinking music. It throws a message at you and doesn’t give an obvious happy stereotypical answer.
The opening track, “There’s a Man” is a computer beat to a message of “There’s a man, going ‘round, taking names.” He sings of many names he’s taken down. I’ll admit my ignorance of this song, but Paisley doesn’t come right out and say who “the man” is. Whose list are you going to be part of? Track two sings of time without Jesus as being “Wasted Time”. The song’s got an intensity not often associated with an acoustic guitar solo. Paisley’s style begs the listener to tune in and hear what he has to say. “Cancer”, the third track starts off singing of hypocrites being a cancer on the body of Jesus Christ. He then goes into a theme switch that he sees himself in the hypocrite’s eyes, and how we’re all to get the planks out of our eyes before we start criticizing others.
“(We Just) Disappear” shows many typical Christians as feeling lonely, despite the fact that we’ve got Jesus. He sings of desperation, fussing, and so on. Then goes into how we often disappear when the going starts to get tough. We need to confidently fight the fight, and know Jesus is on our side! Track five is a bluesy, traditional-sounding acoustic solo of “Trampin’”, tryin’ to make heaven my home. “Sean Brown” is a haunting song of knowing about someone who’s searching, but not giving Jesus his life. Sean Brown died before making that commitment. The eerie minor-keyed song repeats the post-mortum question, “Sean Brown: where is Sean Brown?” Track seven challenged me a bit with one of the lines which give me a language-flinch. Is it cussing or not? I’ll let you judge: Paisley poses the question about worldly culture in “Ticket to Ride”: “Where the hell has our culture gone?” He also points out that there WILL be tears in Heaven, but Jesus will be there to wipe them away.
Track eight sings of suffering children. They may be victims of abuse, abortion, or maybe children who die without hearing the Gospel. He says, “Listen to innocence cry.” Yankolovich leaves a vivid picture when he sings, “They should be washed in the blood of Jesus Christ, and not their own.” More abuse comes out in “Don’t Touch Me Anymore”. It’s also a song of anger, frustration and forgiveness. He sings that God still loves the abuser and tackles an even more difficult point: “And He loves you, though I don’t know why… and He loves you. –And so do I.” The last track poses a question we all likely ask from time to time when life gets difficult, or when we don’t have all the answers. The title song, “Does God Sleep?” asks why God gave him the people in his life, then asks if God sleeps. He answers it with an obvious, “I don’t think so.”
Yankolovich’s musical style is one of pure honesty. He doesn’t hold back. With five CDs of his now out, I’ll soon be adding more of his work to my collection! Check him out! You won’t be sorry.