|More Than Rubies [More Than Rubies] | Posted March 26, 2013
After several years of touring and writing together, Christa Wells & Nicole Witt offer their first full-length joint recording project, More Than Rubies. Wells and Witt decided it was time to release a full-length album under a joined name – More Than Rubies – inspired by Proverbs 3:15 which declares that “wisdom is more precious than rubies.” Since their common purpose in writing and performing is to speak truth in song, this resonated with them deeply. From the beginning, Wells and Witt have shared a desire to make music that matters, that stretches beyond entertainment but also stretches the parameters of popular worship music. They strive to be listeners first, and then to create music that reflects the Gospel and communicates honest experience in a fresh and artful way.original worship songs, all produced in the stripped down piano/violin style their live audiences love. The stirring song “Image of God” was written for a retreat Christa & Nicole hosted along with author/speaker Ann Voskamp (One Thousand Gifts). These songs were written from a place of worship and are intended to lead listeners to that place.
“Image of God” opens with a stirring violin part, and is an incredibly tender worship offering to God and a beautiful song. The song has a gorgeous blend of violin, piano and Christa’s stellar vocals. I really love the chorus—"we come in pieces, we come in fragments, we come discolored to the foot of the Cross...our Maker sees us, all that we have been, bonds us together...the image of God." The song is profound and moving. If you like prayerful songs that bring you to the Throne Room in worship like “Blessings” by Laura Story and “Your Great Name” by Natalie Grant, then don’t miss out on this incredible song for the Church. Nicole sings lead on the next song “Set Free.” The song is upbeat with a hooky hand-clap melody and features the celebratory lyrics—“we’re set free, free, the ‘let my people go kinda set free,’ set free, free, by the Love that came and died and rose again so we can be set free…let them see we have been set free!”
I find myself raising my hands in worship after those opening tracks, and then I’m compelled to reach out horizontally to help show others the love of Jesus. “Dawn of Grace,” “Lay Us Low” and “Pray” are also incredible worship songs. “Dawn of Grace” features Christa’s piano-based prayerful confession where she proclaims “and once I looked on Jesus’ face, it was the dawn of grace.” Nicole weighs in with the second verse and it is a truly moving song that ends with Nicole’s beautiful violin playing. “Father we confess, oh we confess, we have loved You less than ourselves” is the opening line of “Lay Us Low” which is the type of “gourmet” humble offering of praise I’ve longed to sing to God. Settle in and really allow yourself to experience these songs. I get completely overwhelmed in the emotion of this song. When Nicole and Christa together profoundly proclaim “So take us down and lay us low, leave ashes in place of gold, Life Giver, Sustainer, let nothing remain of our pride, from Your mountain on high, lay us low” I well up and the tears start streaming down my face. This song has become my personal anthem as I consistently pray for God to remove all trace of pride before Him. As if those songs weren’t incredible enough, Christa stops me in my tracks with the compelling song “Pray” which is an amazing re-write of The Lord’s Prayer. All believers looking for the words to pray to their Heavenly Father can tenderly and sincerely sing along with Christa and Nicole, “teach us to pray.” Amen. They perform on each other’s songs, Christa primarily on piano and vocals and Nicole on fiddle and vocals. The distinction between Christa’s folky-piano-pop and Nicole’s country-bluegrass style gives their collaborative work a uniquely textured sound for the simple instrumentation.
“Visible Invisible” challenges listeners that if we as a Church body can rally around the idea that we are admittedly and without shame in need of a Savior, we can trust wholly in Jesus to make us whole. Then we can impact the world as a body of believers. It's our humility in Christ that can speak loudly in this broken world. As the song boldly proclaims, “We are the visible invisible, we are the flesh and bone, Of Your redeeming love, we are, we are Your kingdom unshakeable, Jesus Christ alive in us, the visible invisible.” Amen to that! “Live And Breathe” and “Shepherd God” are encouraging anthems of hope and healing that listeners can cling to in their own trying times. Don’t miss the beautiful harmony in the bridge of the gorgeous song “Even Though” where these anointed women sing in faith: “His grace is like an ocean / His gifts are overflowing / He will care for those who know Him / His promises are certain / we will not walk alone.” I know that many of us struggle with the idea that our past and present mistakes are unforgivable, yet the Bible tells us that isn’t true. Read the great translation in The Message of Matthew 11:28-30. Jesus tells us: “Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest.” What an amazing comfort to know that when we struggle with our pain, pride and unloving natures, we can all lay it at the feet of Jesus. A great cover of Matt Redman’s “10,000 Reasons (Bless The Lord)” and the upbeat “Coming To The Light” close out this powerful worship album.
Singer/Songwriter Christa Wells is best known for writing Natalie Grant's hit single "Held," but her albums leave you breathless. More Than Rubies is a profound listening experience. Nicole’s violin and voice blend seamlessly with Christa’s piano and voice, which is soothing like Sarah McLachlan, Brooke Fraser and Sara Groves. “Image of God” is one of my favorite worship songs. You can’t help but want to reach out and be the Kingdom of God on earth as beautifully expressed in the song. This album grabs me with every song. Truly, every song is amazing, especially “Lay Us Low,” “Visible Invisible” and “Even Though.” Christa has always had a knack for hitting me where I am spiritually and expressing the prayerful yearnings of my heart. This album is no exception as I get welled up praying along with several of the songs and most of all, I am stirred with compassion to love people as Jesus loves us. That’s the heart behind this album, and thank you Christa and Nicole for blessing us with your music and for singing the Truth of the Gospel for the Kingdom of God. This album soothes, moves and challenges listeners. More Than Rubies by Christa Wells & Nicole Witt is an excellent set of songs that focus on the central themes of asking God to inhabit our inner being and truly allow the power of the Holy Spirit to sanctify us along with relying solely on the love of Jesus to truly mold our hearts and make us more like Him. This album is what Christian music is all about—Jesus.
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