Too many times, when a successful songwriter becomes a recording artist, it only serves as an example of why some writers should never perform their own material. A notable exception is contemporary Christian hit maker Chris Rice. Possessed of a smooth, assured tenor voice the equal of label-mate Michael W. Smith's enviable pipes, Rice delivers his tunes with a passionate conviction and obvious love of singing. That said, the real star here is the stunning songcraft. Rice not only uses his McCartney-esque sense of perfect pop melody to great effect, but has a real knack for ear-perking turns of phrase. His greatest accomplishment however, may be that he is able to employ these talents in the service of songs that are as overtly religious as anything in Christian music, yet, due to their easy-going, friendly feel, never oppressive-sounding to the non-Christian listener.