Rejoice: Live From Seattle is a live worship album recorded in Seattle, WA featuring worship leaders Dustin Kensrue, Cam Huxford (from Ghost Ship), Brian Eichelberger (from The Sing Team), and others!
The album showcases the radio singles “Made Alive” by Citizens & Saints and “Rejoice” by Dustin Kensrue, as well as “Grace Alone” by The Modern Post (Dustin Kensrue) and “In Tenderness” by Citizens & Saints.
The album also includes several rearranged hymns and favorites to the pacific northwest worship community and beyond.
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'Best Of' A Little Too Early?| Posted September 02, 2015
You've heard of Northwest Collective; you probably just didn't know it right away. The fast truth is that BEC Recordings' Rejoice: Live from Seattle project was a gathering of Mars Hill Music's incredible, indie-friendly worship musicians. Although Mars Hill is no more, the bands formed there continue to rise and make good music for the church.
Rejoice is a live, "best of" compilation of sorts that features the vocals of Dustin Kensrue (Thrice, The Modern Post), Cam Huxford (Ghost Ship), Hannah Garvey and Brian Eichelberger. It features songs from the aforementioned bands, plus flagship group Citizens & Saints.
Dustin Kensrue kicks things off with his uptempo and reverent song that serves as the namesake for the album, "Rejoice." With crowd vocals clearly involved in the mix and instruments downplayed a bit, the song sets the tone as a more intimate worship gathering, rather than the stadium-style recordings we're used to hearing. Whether it's the arrangement or the mixing, this song lacks a lot of the punch that Kensrue's studio version of the song carried.
Kensrue also sings on "Grace Alone," a song he previously recorded as part of his new worship band The Modern Post. Kensrue's voice is softer and more tender on this version of the song, which declares God's prevailing, saving love. He also provides the album highlight with the track "Oh God." It strikes the right balance between musical prowess, lead vocal power, and congregational participation. Garvey's harmony vocals complement it well, too, and hearing the crowd passionately shouting out, "Oh God, you never leave my side," elicits goosebumps.
Singer Hannah Garvey has an accessible worship leader voice--probably the most mainstream sounding voice of the bunch--and her style takes the indie rock edge off the several songs and makes them seem a little more like a regular Sunday morning at any number of evangelical churches. She sings songs typically fronted by males, changing up the vibe even more. She covers Citizens & Saints' "Jesus!", Kensrue's "Rock of Ages" and, best of the three, Citizens & Saints' "Made Alive."
With her version of "Made Alive," Garvey reimagines the song that introduced the world to Citizens & Saints, providing a folksier vibe. The song's trademark pinging riff is missing, but instead we hear lots of singing, B3 organ, and energetic handclaps.
A band called Solid Rock sang, appropriately, a rendition of the old hymn "The Solid Rock." It's driving yet simple, artful yet accessible. There's a great piano and bass interlude between sections, and the male and female voices play off each other well. I hope to hear more from this Solid Rock group in the future.
The Sing Team's Brian Eichelberger emerges on another Citizens & Saints song, "In Tenderness." It's a slowed down, more subdued interpretation of the song that features a lone electric guitar strumming as steadily crescendoing crowd voices present a choir to Brian's passionate, if not melancholy lead vocals. Whereas the original song was celebratory in nature, this one is more humbled and repentant sounding. It's a creative, simplistic take on the tune. He also provides a solid performance of "Oh! Great is Our God."
Cam Huxley provides something as close to the recording as we've seen yet as he performed his band Ghost Ship's "Mediator." The four-on the floor hit, provides a much needed jolt of energy after the more melancholy section. Huxley's worship style involves lots of encouragement, shouts of exortation, and firm nudges. He brings the powerful album closer, "Christ is Risen," which brings about the powerful declaration that "Jesus Christ rose again from the grave!" and that "Christ is risen and my soul knows sweet salvation!"
While Rejoice: Live from Seattle features talented musicians, singers and songwriters, I'm not entirely sure this album needed to be made yet. And with the felt absence of Citizens & Saints, it wasn't exactly a "best of" from the former Mars Hill bands. At times the mix felt awkward, with overpowering bass plucks and inconsistent crowd vocals.
There indeed were some good moments on the record, but it was almost as if we were listening to the audio feed from a live church service. That's not bad, but not quite up to the level we're expecting, especially after the bands involved have released such well produced studio projects.
Songs to Download Now:
"Oh God" (Get it on iTunes here.)