Chè Sarai is on a mission to present truth to this generation, and she's...
Cameron Worship leader Cameron Moore's sophomore release Alpenglow is a passionate worship album. Hope and love are consistent themes that bind the project together. Cameron Moore expands his worship...
Come What May EP
Tommy Worship leader Tommy Faulk returns with his latest release Come What May. His newest EP may be short, but that does not take away from its power.
Chè Sarai is on a mission to present truth to this generation, and she's equipped to do just that with intense lyricism and her own unique style. Her latest release is titled Prinzess Diary: 1, and it serves as a great introduction to this rising artist.
What it Sounds Like:
At the intersection of pop and rap you will find Chè Sarai's album Prinzess Diary: 1. Her lyrics and delivery are smooth, making it apparent that she fits right into the genre.
Prayer, forgiveness of sins, and spiritual healing are all main focuses. Chè Sarai raps about how it's important to pray until something happens, because this life isn't easy. She emphasizes that our sins are forgiven and forgotten by God, and they do not define you. Chè Sarai adds her voice to the #MeToo campaign with her track "Me Too." Whether it is her story or the story of someone else, it brings to light to the fact that even Christians are not immune from sexual assault. She also brings attention to the importance of "Mental Health Awareness."
The album does come with a note of caution for some listeners, as her track "Regulate It" uses a quote from the movie Young Guns seeming to infer that Satan is "d**n good" at taking things that don't belong to him so Christians need to pay attention.
Best Song on the Record:
"Complete Feat. Ikea Wilson" ultimately talks about how people can be made whole in Christ. This track also touches on the importance of reaching those who might otherwise be unreached by the church because they're the outcasts of society. It says that Christ is able to complete everyone, no matter where they are in life.
Lyrically, there are tough topics addressed, which tends to be a hallmark of hip-hop. The topics themselves are very important to talk about, and Chè Sarai presents them in a way that will reach a number of people while including the hope we find in Christ.
Bringing Worship Home | Posted February-28-2018
Worship leader Cameron Moore's sophomore release Alpenglow is a passionate worship album. Hope and love are consistent themes that bind the project together. Cameron Moore expands his worship leader role beyond the walls of the church and into the places people do life while listening to music.
What it Sounds Like:
Alpenglow brings back memories of spontaneous worship sessions from the early 2000s. The lyrics are original, and the instrumentation is characteristic of contemporary worship with drums, keyboards and guitar. Cameron Moore's vocals are consistent with worship leader style (and his range is pretty impressive on a couple tracks).
Alpenglow is a solid reminder of the love that God has for everyone, no matter the trials or pain in their life. Romans 8:39 makes an appearance in one track as a Biblical backing for this reminder. There is also the concept of searching and longing for an eternal home that can only be found in the Lord.
Best Song on the Record:
"Storm the Bastille (20 Years a Slave)" is a powerful cry for God to ease the pain of past mistakes and broken hearts. There is a freedom felt in the lyrics that gives hope to those who are hurting and feeling the burdens of life wearing them down. With the freedom given by God, anyone can claim the final line of the chorus as their own: "Here I am alive."
Alpenglow brings the worship experience to listeners, no matter where they roam.
Simple, Heartfelt Worship | Posted February-02-2018
Worship leader Tommy Faulk returns with his latest release Come What May. His newest EP may be short, but that does not take away from its power.
Upon first listen, Tommy Faulk's Come What May does not play like anything musically massive--and that's OK. The power comes across in the lyrics. Sometimes the best worship is the simplest because it is the most heartfelt. Come What May is a five song project packed with serious praise to the God of power.
"Powerful" is a song of adoration and appreciation for who God is: He is our Rock, our refuge, our Savior. "Come What May" is definitely a strong worship track that is perfect not only for Sunday morning, but any day of the week. Even when it feels like the world is drowning out God, "Your Glory" reminds listeners that God is "my defense, my battle cry." No one can stand against God.
The Bottom Line: I would love to hear an acoustic take on the songs on Come What May. Tommy Faulk's worship leader roots shine as he ushers listeners into worship of our "Powerful" God.
Ushering in God's Glory | Posted December-21-2017
Anabeth Morgan has a heart for worship. She is currently the Worship Pastor for Mile High Vineyard in Colorado, and she has been featured on several recordings from Vineyard Worship. Now she's venturing out solo with her debut album A Place Your Glory Dwells, a combination of original and traditional worship songs. As Anabeth Morgan pours her heart into the music, she ushers listeners into a worship experience that will bring them closer to God's glory.
Opening the album is the track "Fix Our Eyes." This song is the perfect opening to a worship album because it focuses the listener's attention in the right place, reminding listeners that no matter what is happening in life, God is the one who brings peace and comfort. "Fix Our Eyes" is a prayer that God would "Come, be Lord of this heart."
Anabeth Morgan also urges listeners to press into the good God who never fails us. "We Press In" expresses the heartfelt cry that we trust in the One who is powerful beyond compare. It is by His power that He can "Transform My Heart." This is a passionate prayer for God to take the lives and hearts of listeners and make them more like Him. Rounding out the album is Anabeth Morgan's take on the classic hymn, "Amazing Grace." Some versions of the song leave much to be desired, but not this one. Her passion extends throughout the album to close it out just as strong as it began.
Musically, A Place Your Glory Dwells sounds like everything you'd expect from a Vineyard album. It's like a worship band in your speakers: passionate, yet still soft and introspective. This is something you could play before and during your quiet time because it wouldn't be distracting.
The Bottom Line: You won't want to miss Anabeth Morgan. Her passion for worship overflows in her debut solo album A Place Your Glory Dwells.
Fresh Church Songs | Posted October-18-2017
The folks from Cherry Hills Community church hail from Highlands Ranch, Colorado. Their self-titled debut release Cherry Hills Worship is a collection of 13 original songs of worship to God. The Cherry Hills worship team strives to reminder listeners of the power of God who is working in our midst, even when we do not recognize His hand.
"Stronger than the Grave" opens the album with a potent reminder of what Jesus did and continues to do for us. If the not even the grave could hold Him, what is stopping Him from being strong enough to meet our needs? Continuing in that theme is "Rest," a call for listeners to fall on Jesus in the hard times so that they can experience His peace and rest.
The Bottom Line: Upbeat and contemplative, the songs on Cherry Hills Worship definitely sound like something you'd hear in a contemporary church service Sunday morning. Overall, the album is centered around the message that God is there when we need Him, if we just call on His name.
Song to Download Now:
"Stronger Than the Grave" (Get it on iTunes here.)
Comedy with a Heart | Posted October-06-2017
Tim Lovelace is a multi-talented, award nominated artist. He can work the keys, strum the strings, tickle funny bones and inspire souls. On May 7, 2017 he recorded his first release with StowTown Records at Lee University in Cleveland, TN. Living in a Coffee World is a combination of his many talents that will make you laugh until you cry, tap your toe and nod in agreement.
For all the coffee lovers of the world, Tim talks (and sings) about what makes the United States tick: coffee and sugar. He also sings a hilarious song about why tomatoes taste different than they used to. Face it, things just aren't as good as they were back in the old days!
The most impactful message Tim relates to listeners comes during "Black Belt to Black Eye Anti-Bullying Talk." He tells a story about a kid who bullied him when he was in elementary school. The story is quite funny, but at the end it gets serious when he calls everyone, especially kids in school, to do something about the bullying that goes on today. He ends the message with the most important words some people will ever hear: "Do not give up on hope. You are valuable, and God made you for a special reason."
The Bottom Line: If you like Mark Lowry, try Tim Lovelace. Not only is he funny, he's got a powerful message.
Song to Download Now:
"Black Belt to Black Eye Anti-Bullying Talk" (Get it on iTunes here.)
A Lot to Love | Posted August-11-2017
Mark Lowry is known in the Southern Gospel genre for being the hilarious yet sincere baritone for Gaither Vocal Band (and for having a hand in writing the beloved Christmas song "Mary, Did You Know"). In 2015, Lowry was inducted into the Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame, an honor bestowed upon those who have profoundly impacted Christian music. There is no debate that Lowry's work, in both music and comedy, has made a lasting impression on listeners of all ages. His latest release from Daywind Records, What's Not To Love?, is no exception. This 12-track album with songs co-written by Lowry, Reba Rambo-McGuire and Dony McGuire conveys the message of Christ's love in signature Lowry fashion.
Title track "What's Not To Love" asks that very question about God's grace. God sent His Son to die for us even though we didn't deserve it. How can anyone not love that through Jesus' sacrifice we are able to be adopted into God's family? "What's Not To Love" is a fun, upbeat take on the awesomeness of what God has done for us from the very beginning.
Everyone goes through hard times, some harder than others. "Feels Like I'm Already There" is a song for those who are broken and feel like they can't go on. Sometimes all we can do is hit our knees and cry out to God that we can't do it anymore. In this prayer of brokenness, Lowry sings the words that many people feel on a daily basis: "Said you wouldn't give me more than I can bear. Lord, it feels like I'm already there."
"So You Will Know How To Pray" sounds like a show tune. There's a splash of humor mixed in with the vital message that prayer, done the right way, is important. It paves the way for Lowry to sing "Mama Prayed," a song in which he talks about the impact a mother's prayer has on her children. We may not see mountain-moving results, but that doesn't mean our prayers aren't working.
The Bottom Line: What's Not To Love? is a vitally important message of God's love and grace. Lowry's newest release is thought-provoking and moving, with little splashes of his signature humor along the way.
Song to Download Now:
"So You Will Know How To Pray" (Get it on iTunes here.)
Ballads of Hope | Posted June-14-2017
Brian Free of Brian Free and Assurance is known for his powerful ballads. After 23 years of amazing work, Daywind Records and Brian Free have released a compilation of the most requested ballads throughout his career. These 12 songs have touched many lives, and they're now on one album to reach even more people for Christ.
"Calvary's Cry" is one example of Brian's message of love and hope, showing that although some people think that what happened back in Bible times doesn't apply to life today, the sacrifice Jesus made for everyone when He died on the cross still applies. What was done on Calvary was done out of love and grace for us, and it's the only way to be saved. As Jesus said, He is the way, the truth, and the life, and that is exactly why "He Still Saves."
When we read the stories of the Bible, stories about seas parting, people being thrown into a fire and not being burned or walking on water, some of them seem unbelievable. "I Believe" should be the cry of every believer because it culminates in affirming that even the most miraculous story, that of Jesus' death and resurrection, is true.
Everyone in life goes through hard times. "He Will Carry You" is a song for the hurting, reminding us that we don't have to be the ones to put things back together. You may not be enough, but "He will be your strength when your strength is gone."
The Bottom Line: You might be thinking that all ballads are cheesy and emotional, but Brian Free's Signature Ballads flies in the face of ballad expectations. Every single track is the complete opposite of cheesy, even while being emotionally compelling. The lyrics by themselves are amazing reminders of God's goodness and love, but when combined with the stellar vocals and accompaniment, these ballads blow you away. Tissues are optional, but highly recommended.
Powerful Songs of Hope | Posted April-21-2017
Joseph Habedank hasn't always been a solo artist. In 2003, Joseph joined The Perrys as their new baritone after Curt Davis resigned. Three years later, he became the lead vocalist of the group. Joseph stunned fans in 2013 when he announced that he was stepping down from his position. After a battle with prescription drug addiction, Joseph released a very personal first solo album titled Welcome Home, a project which earned him Singing News Magazine's New Soloist of the Year award in 2014. Not only is Joseph Habedank an accomplished vocalist, he is also a talented songwriter, and he helped write two #1 nationally charting songs. His latest release Resurrection is more proof that he not only knows what he's doing, but he does it with a passion to reach people for Christ.
With ear-catching, attention-grabbing orchestration, Habedank opens the album with "Here He Comes." The song is a 4 minute and 17 second summary of the life of Christ. From His birth in Bethlehem to His second coming, "Here He Comes" is a song of hope and expectation that Christians around the world can relate to. In case anyone say that they can't relate because they've messed up too many times, Habedank's "Just When You Thought" that addresses that very thing. Written from his unique perspective, "Just When You Thought" reminds listeners that Jesus loves them too much to turn His back on them.
If anyone wonders just how much Jesus loves them, "I Love You (From An Old Rugged Cross)" paints a touching picture of that love. The lyrics "I gave all I had to give and it was worth the cost, to say I love you from an old rugged cross" make for a goosebump-worthy and tear-inducing chorus, especially when combined with the accompaniment and Habedank's strong vocals. From an old rugged cross to an empty grave, "Long Live the King" closes out the album with a song fit for Easter morning. The end track is a victorious anthem for Christians to sing until He returns.
The Bottom Line: Resurrection is a stunning album of hope. Joseph Habedank writes from a unique place of vulnerability that makes his songs that much more powerful. If you want a great summary of the Gospel in music form, Resurrection is a great place to start. There is no doubt that this album will reach people who can relate to, or are inspired by, Joseph's story.
Song to Download Now:
"I Love You (From An Old Rugged Cross)" (Get it on iTunes here.)
Worship with a Pop Flair | Posted March-22-2017
It's been five years since the world was presented with an album from Christian pop icon Jaci Velasquez. In that time, she's been busy being a wife, mom and radio host, just to name a few of her many hats. Jaci is a woman of many talents, and her new album Trust is just more proof of that. Trust is not only her first solely worship album, it's also her first album to be released in English and Spanish at the same time (its counterpart is Confío).
We all go through struggles and trials in life, and Jaci has let the world know with her newest release exactly who has sustained her during some of the dark days of her own life. Jaci has shared from her own experience just how important it is to know that God is the one in control. When her oldest son was diagnosed on the Autism spectrum, it was a time when her own faith and trust were tested. It is out of those days of learning that Trust was formed.
"Trust You" kicks off the album by lifting up praise to God for always being there with us no matter what, an anthem for those going through trials. He is the "God Who Moves the Mountains" in our lives. When we're broken and call on Him, all He asks of us is to trust Him, because He's capable of changing those things we can't.
In those hard moments, sometimes we come to realize that one of our mountains is just being too busy. Jaci sings "Rest" from a place of vulnerability. As any parent knows, sometimes there are days where you're just on the go constantly. Unfortunately, those can be the days where we don't take the time to pray or spend time with God. "Rest" is not only a reminder for us, but a prayer to God to help us remember to take the time to just stop and rest in Him.
The Bottom Line: Jaci has done a spectacular job sharing her heart with the world through her album Trust. Her honesty shines through her music, and her willingness to listen when God prompted her to go in a new direction are what make for a stunning work to add to her collection. God will do big things through Jaci's newest work.
Song to Download Now:
"God Who Moves Mountains" (Get it on iTunes here.)