The Truth by Gary Chapman | CD Reviews And Information | NewReleaseToday

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The Truth [edit]
by Gary Chapman | Genre: AC/Inspo | Release Date: November 05, 2013

In addition to this blend of bold and thought-provoking lyrical statements, The Truth is hands down Gary Chapman's most diverse and ambitious musical exploration to date.

"I'm not sure if it's a weakness or a strength, but I've always been a man without a genre," he adds with a laugh. "On one hand, I think the Christian market could embrace this because there are plenty of songs that are overtly spiritual without any apologies whatsoever. In that sense, it's probably more spiritual than anything I've ever done before, and sonically, it's probably leaning more country than anything I've done before, which is where my roots lie. A lot of the songs are pop country, but there are three or four songs that could definitely be called aggressive pop music, not unlike 'Sweet Glow of Mercy,' but with a little more seasoning."

Even with all the time he's spent diving in other directions, Chapman undoubtedly fires on all cylinders throughout The Truth, sounding much richer vocally and seeming even more comfortable in his own skin than he did while topping the charts countless times throughout the 1990s and 2000s. The fact that affirmations have poured in like lightening on social media have only confirmed his calling to continue making music and even begin writing his highly anticipated memoirs (slated to hit shelves next year).

"People are so supportive it's ridiculous, and they're also curious about what it will sound like and what I have to say," he observes. "I would say my audience appreciates family, abhors pretense and posturing, loves to laugh alongside 'Duck Dynasty', likes to dance during a fast song, wants to cry during a sad song and doesn't mind failure as long as you're honest about it. They are forgivers because they are forgiven. I think probably to my detriment, I sort of chose to embrace the rebel or bad boy moniker many years ago for reasons that will come out in the book I'm working on. I don't regret the choice because it has put me in a position to help a lot of hurting people, but it does have a downside. People assume you're darker than you actually are, and I really want this particular musical statement to set the record straight in that regard."

While The Truth is without a doubt the most transparent window into Chapman's heart and soul in his entire career thus far, he simply hopes it will show listeners his true self. "My family and friends are my life, they're everything to me really, and my local church is also a primary focus where I serve as an elder," he asserts. "I'm excited for people to hear what I have to say about it all and I'm also very anxious to get back on the road, not only to play, but also to connect with everyone again after all this time."

Track Listing
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01. Freedom
02. Where Youíre Going
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03. If God Had a Front Porch (featuring Alison Krauss)
04. Ainít Got a Prayer
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05. How Great a God
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06. Safe from the Wind
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07. Widow of the South
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08. Put it in His Hands (featuring Sarah Chapman)
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09. All About a Baby (featuring Cassie Chapman)
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10. Wisdom of Age
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11. Everything I Know
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12. When I Say (featuring Rebecca Lynn Howard)
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13. I Didnít Find Jesus
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14. That's God
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15. Twenty Bucks Away
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16. The Rough Crowd (featuring Tanya Tucker and John Rich)
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Entry last edited by Dawno on 11.05.13

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Dawno (57)

The Wisdom of Age | Posted November 22, 2013

Everyone loves an underdog. We welcome the topsy-turvy triumph of the "David" over the "Goliath." But when it comes to the prodigal, we are often too quick to judge and too slow to forgive. We cry foul at God's upside-down grace.

Enter Gary Chapman, a Texas-raised preacher's son with a rebellious streak seemingly a country mile wide. He's been judged by many according to a bad boy reputation, partly earned but never wholly deserved. He's widely recognized as a funny man, but seldom is seen for who he is behind the joke – a candid, whip-smart, worldly-wise, big-hearted, fiercely loyal friend, family man, and follower of Christ.

There is no better place to discover and understand Gary Chapman than on The Truth, his first recording of new music since 2002. To date, the sixteen tracks on this album are the most personal and honest reflections of his life, philosophy, and values.

Life can be messy, and Chapman's never pretended to be perfect. His mistakes and missteps are well-documented. "This road that I am traveling is steep and it is rough / and I wonder every morning if I'll have strength enough," confesses Chapman on "Freedom." So begins the album, with Chapman "choos[ing] to lean into [God], forsaking all the rest," and finding freedom.

"Where You're Going" gives voice to Chapman's gratitude for the purposeful direction that this God-found freedom provides, while encouraging the listener to do the same: "Stop and thank God for the day / for every step along the way / ‘cause not one goes to waste."

On The Truth, God is not a theological construct represented by clichés. Rather, He is a living presence that can be understood in everyday terms. Chapman enlists Alison Krauss on "If God Had a Front Porch," a standout song that demonstrates God's nature through tangible, realistic hypotheticals: "If God had a telephone / it'd be a number everybody knows / You'd never fail to get Him on the line / You could call in the middle of the night / Just to laugh or just to cry / And He'd never be the first to say goodbye."

"Ain't Got a Prayer" relates that in hard times, community is stronger than government. However, while we all "do our best to do our part...we ain't got a prayer without Jesus."

"How Great a God" is quintessential Gary Chapman. The clearly autobiographical song is an unashamedly honest account of an imperfect man, as well as a testament to an infallible, but merciful God. And since, invariably, we've all failed God, we can relate to Chapman as he sings, "I can't help but sing / How great a God do we serve / that we don't get what we deserve."

Experience informs faith on verses that more than hold their own alongside a magnificent chorus on another classic Chapman tune, "Safe From The Wind": "Life is mostly so uncertain / I'm most certain that's the case / And I know that most of what I'm seeing will soon be replaced / But I still believe that true love never fails / and that you and I could weather any gale."

Between the atmospheric tale of an antebellum spirit, "Widow of the South," and the Christmas-focused duet between Gary and wife Cassie, "All About a Baby," lies "Put It in His Hands," a song inspired by Gary's father's frequent response to his boy's vocalized concerns: "Son, put that in God's hands." Daughter Sarah's voice beautifully supports Gary's on this emotional song about surrender. Gary succinctly captures how God cares for his children: "Little boy with a toy, broke it like little boys do / Daddy can't fix it ‘til the little boy's willing to / Put it in His hands."

"The Wisdom of Age" is an homage to Jesus that embraces the knowledge gained through experience: "He's in every breath / He's in every touch / When we receive the Lord's saving grace / We walk the road to glory in the wisdom of age." The song is peppered with life lessons, as is the stunner "Everything I Know," in which Chapman avows, "every stupid thing I've done so far has taught me nearly everything I know." While space limitations prevent me from sharing too many lyrics—I could quote nearly the whole song!—suffice it to say Gary's words of wisdom, earned through struggle, failure, and heartache, are immeasurably valuable and comforting.

Rebecca Lynn Howard guests on "When I Say," Chapman's exploration of what he means when he professes to be a Christian. It's an unpretentious, humble acceptance and declaration of his own need: "When I say I am a Christian / I'm not shouting, ‘I am Saved' / I am whispering, ‘I get lost sometimes' / That why I chose this way." It feels at once like an apologetic to his detractors, as well a song that lets a jaded soul who views Christians as judgmental hypocrites see the truth: We are all broken people in need of a Savior.

The remainder of the album's songs remain grounded in real life and venture beyond the walls of the traditional church. "I Didn't Find Jesus" is a story song that teaches us that God sometimes shows Himself in unusual ways or through unexpected people. "That's God" finds God in the every day, using numerous ways to show He cares: "There's nothing He won't do to say, 'I love you.'" "Twenty Bucks Away" urges us to live more simply, reminding that security is found in God, not money.

Chapman calls upon his friends one last time for the final track, "The Rough Crowd." Tanya Tucker and John Rich effectively lend their weather-beaten, world-weary voices to this number that ends with the words, "I thank God Jesus runs with the rough crowd," significantly recalling, lest we forget, that Jesus came for the lost and the broken, not the righteous.

Closing Thoughts:
Few sing with as much sincerity and conviction as Gary Chapman. And vocally, the seven-time Dove Award winner is still at the top of his game. He's always had a special kind of voice with an inviting warmth that pulls you in, reminding you that you're not alone. Over the last few years, with his A Hymn a Week project, Chapman has used his voice to encourage many by singing hymns. Forty of those hymns are available for download on four volumes titled Simple Truth.

Though it's been over a decade since his last studio offering, Gary Chapman's songwriting pen is as sharp as ever. Perhaps inspired by the hymn writers in whose work he has been immersed, on The Truth he reaches out specifically to the searching and the hurting, sharing the truth in everyday language. Christian music needs more albums like this, songs that look beyond the church pews to offer shelter to people on the margins. So, Gary Winther Chapman, I entreat you, "Don't be a stranger."

Song to Download Now:
"If God Had a Front Porch" (Get it on iTunes here.)

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