Catch the moment. The moment has passed!
This is a law of loveliness: we love what never lasts.

So begins “Cricket in a Jar,” the first of five songs on this mini-album by Tennessee schoolteacher Chris Slaten, recording here under the moniker Son of Laughter. It’s a little gem of a CD. Slaten has the bright, lush sensibility of Paul Simon in the seventies and an appealing voice that sounds a bit like The Lovin’ Spoonful’s John Sebastian, and puts his gifts to use on a short song cycle about contentment and the dangers of looking too far away from the small treats of everyday life.

“The Mantis and the Moon,” the title track and centerpiece, anchors the collection with characters who are “dreaming of praise,” “dreaming of escape,” and following their hearts, but who find that these dreams might ultimately lead to loneliness and loss of community. “The Fiddler,” probably the EP’s highlight, is about a poor violinist in a subway whose gracious gift of music is mostly unnoticed by the harried commuters who only care about catching their ride. In this song in particularly, Slaten manages the perfect tone: compassionate, observant, but never preachy.

Every day he descends to this maze underground.
He raises his violin and summons its sound.
The arias echo down the long tunneled halls.
He creates a cathedral from the subway walls,
and a distant light arrives through windows
wrought in melodies that
we had long forgotten.

This deft and refreshing touch is put to good effect throughout the five lovely songs. The recordings are neither too sparse nor over-produced. It’s no surprise that Son of Laughter is choosing to promote this CD by offering a series of house concerts in the southern states.

Son of Laughter doesn’t very often get explicit with Christian themes, but this CD is a wise reminder about the virtues of contentment and the hidden blessings all around us. It’s well worth a listen, and will more than reward the $5 it costs to buy it on iTunes. In the last week I’ve probably listened to it a dozen or more times, and it still feels fresh and full of life.

Please note: I received this CD free from the author and/or publisher through the Speakeasy blogging book review network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.