|Faith That Moves | Posted April 29, 2013
For Steve Hare, faith is an action verb. His philosophy--love God, love others, and help someone--is more than talk or ideology. He has worked tirelessly to make God's love a tangible reality within his church and well beyond its walls.
Hare serves as Senior Pastor and Worship Leader at Faith City Family Church in Newark, Del.--a diverse congregation of 3,000 members located just outside Philadelphia. He is also CEO and founder of the Reach Radio Network which, since 1994, has grown from a single local station to 23 outlets in 11 states and Canada. Additionally, beginning in 1995 Hare has served the greater Philadelphia area through Project Restoration, Inc. Twelve months a year, this outreach ministry buses kids and families from the inner city and at-risk urban areas to a safe environment in the suburbs where they can enjoy Sunday afternoon rallies with food, games, and live music, and participate in tutoring and mentoring programs.
Heart Like Your Own, Hare's debut with Dream Records (though not his first recording), reflects his heart for service. Working with friends and writers Chris Sligh, Beckah Shae, and Manwell Reyes (Group 1 Crew), as well as producer Seth Mosley, Hare has crafted a relevant, and danceable!, collection of songs that share God's love and hope while encouraging listeners to put their faith to work.
Lead single "A Heart Like Your Own" takes the vanguard position in a trio of songs that each speak about the need for personal surrender to God's will. Using heavy beats and autotune vocals, Hare tells God, "Break my heart / Won't You take it apart / and replace it with a heart like Your own." Fans of Newsboys and tobyMac will embrace this pop gem. Similarly themed "Back to Your Heart" is full-on dance pop bubbling over with energetic vocals and a bouncy rhythm that gets you on your feet. The melodic "Take It Over" again touches on the need to submit our lives to God. The song has a Brandon Heath vibe, and Hare's voice is genuine and passionate as he asks God to take control.
Hare maintains the high energy level with "See You Shine." Boasting strong verses and an infectious chorus, Hare's baritone rings out as he professes: "Everywhere I go / I want the world to know / I wanna see You shi-i-i-i-i-i-ine."
"Hold Nothing Back," a song about living for God, should find favor with fans of Matthew West. Keeping things fresh and interesting, the lyrics use a different connector into the chorus from each verse.
"What's a faith when its behind our walls?" asks Hare in the next track, "Reach a Heart." About helping others and actively demonstrating God's love, the tune uses a rap break to encourage listeners to action. While the message is vital, upon first listen I found the music difficult to embrace; its video game-like pips and squeaks were a tad too far outside the box for my taste. Still, the chorus is undeniably catchy, and after repeated listens the song grew on me.
Featuring a melodic bass line and sitting in the middle of the album, "You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet" shakes things up. Sung from God's point-of-view, the track has some attitude--a swagger--as the Lord promises "the best is yet to come," and reminds us that "even when you and life don't see eye-to-eye / there's a reason why / Don't forget / you ain't seen nothin' yet."
"On the Edge" relies on a dance beat, synth chords, and airy vocals to establish its atmosphere. However, while hooky, the music is somewhat repetitive and can distract from the lyrics (which lend a positive twist to living on the edge where "fear and grace collide").
On "I Will Not Be Moved," Beckah Shae's powerful guest vocals add variety and a needed oomph to lift the album as it's beginning to sag. Shae enters the song at the first chorus, then takes the lead on the second verse. The momentum continues with the Moseley-written Phillips, Craig, & Dean hit, "Our God is Here," which extends the theme of God as unshakeable Protector and Defender.
The Chris Sligh-penned "Beyond Our Wildest Dreams" beautifully communicates the love, hope, and peace offered by God and His grace. The verses seamlessly mesh into the spirited choruses, and the result is a joyful, near-perfect Christian pop tune. A definite album highlight!
Hare channels '80s synth-pop (in the best way) on the worship track, "Your Fire Is Here." With a winning chorus and a strong vocal, you'll be inspired to worship an ever-present, all-consuming God.
"Heaven Bound" closes the disc by taking a glimpse at what Heaven has in store: "No more pain, no more tears / no more loneliness, and no more fears / Only love and perfect peace." The track is a bundle of irrepressible energy that leaves the listener with heart and eyes uplifted, awaiting our King who is coming "on clouds of glory."
David Crowder isn't the only ginger in the business. Steve Hare has his own brand of red-haired musical evangelism. If you are unfamiliar with Hare but enjoy listening to creative, upbeat pop like Newsboys, tobyMac, Brandon Heath, Matthew West, or Owl City, I promise you'll find something to love on this disc. Dream Records continues to showcase talent and produce relevant, cutting-edge music.
With its solid set of songs, top-notch production, and passionate performances, Hare's Heart Like Your Own is no exception. Don't miss lead single "A Heart Like Your Own", Beckah Shae's guest spot on "I Will Not Be Moved", or Chris Sligh's writing contribution, "Beyond Our Wildest Dreams." Go grab a copy, turn it up, and dance!
Song to Download Now:
"A Heart Like Your Own" (Get it on iTunes here
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