Like Dr Who, Mike Farris must have two hearts. How else could he exude such emotion? Whether aching for the hurting or celebrating God’s mercy, a visceral fervour drives his music.

Farris has been on a roll ever since his solo Christian debut with Salvation in Lights, my 2007 Album of the Year. It certainly helps that his voice is swathed in authentic, soulful gospel backing vocals (and this time, even
some polished strings).

Head-turners include Barry Norman’s theme tune, ‘How it Feels to be Free’, and an intense take on Mary Gauthier’s ‘Mercy Now’.

Farris slowed the tempo a bit for these songs of grace and introduced a wider palette of colours, such as the mariachi flavour to the horn section on the traditional ‘River Jordan’. He even gives ‘His Eye is on the Sparrow’ a rollicking New Orleans swagger, and suddenly it is reborn.

But it is really all about that voice, which passionately conveys both the ex-addict’s experience of pain and the joy of release.

DEREK WALKER is an Anglican lay minister and blogger