I first heard The Michael Gungor Band at the "Beyond Music Conference" in Anchorage this year (2008). These guys were one of the worship bands, and, despite the fact that I was not feeling terribly good the night they played, they absolutely blew me away. I bought "Ancient Skies" from the booth they had at the conference, and highly recommend it.
Blending some of the best guitar work ("Fly" and "Say So" in particular) I have ever heard in Christian music -- or any other genre, for that matter -- with passionate vocals, strong arrangements and truly creative music, "Ancient Skies" is an awesome CD, and has rarely been out of the CD player in my truck since I bought it. While, in my opinion, a lot of Christian bands often sacrifice the music for the sake of the lyrics, I never felt like the songs on "Ancient Skies" were compromised to get a point across. The lyrics are meaningful, but always fit the music, and the music itself...well, it's a crime that I've never heard this band on Christian radio.
I don't know for sure what musicians influenced The Michael Gungor Band, but to my ears, the music at times reminds me of everyone from The Beatles, to Yngwie Malmsteen, to The Cars, to ColdPlay. That's a diverse mix, but these guys (and lady ;) pull it off, and it *works*.
Highlights? "Say So", "Be Praised", and my favorite, "Glory is Here". As I mentioned above, the guitar work at the end of "Fly" is nothing short of amazing. I've played guitar...well, probably since around the time Michael was born...and I still can't play like that. "Say So" is a raw, straight-ahead rocker, and is easily my 2nd favorite track on the CD. It's got so much energy, you can't help but be pulled along by the music. "Glory is Here" is an intense, deeply moving song. It's a lot slower than most of the other songs on the album, but twice as passionate. Every time I hear the song, I find myself choking back tears, and when they played it live...well...hearing a huge auditorium full of worship leaders singing along with the wordless cry at the climax of the song was a tiny glimpse of heaven.
In short, if you even think you might possibly be interested in this CD, just buy it. You will be glad you did.