Multi-GRAMMY and Dove Award-winning Russ Taff will release his debut praise and worship album, Believe, Nov. 2 from Sweetwater Studios, a division of Sweetwater Sound, and with global distribution from The Fuel Music. His first new album in over seven years, the full-circle, 12-song project features new recordings of the hits for which Taff is best-loved, including his iconic “I Still Believe”.
“There was a day when I didn’t think I’d ever be able to sing or record again,” reveals Taff. “Grace from above, and from my wife Tori and friends coming alongside me, has breathed new life into my spirit. I’m so grateful for this season, and this new recording is my worshipful offering and heart’s cry.”
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A Strong Return for Russ Taff| Posted November 03, 2018
I’m a long-time Russ Taff fan, having seen him in concert several times and following his music since his days with the Imperials. Amazingly, he has been inducted into the Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame an unprecedented three times – as a member of the Imperials, a member of the Gather Vocal Band and as a solo artist. This is his first worship album and the first new album in seven years for the soon to be 65-year-old singer. The album sounds great, being well-produced by Phil Naish and Mark Hornsby. It comes on the heals of the documentary Russ Taff: I Still Believe, and ahead of a book titled I Still Believe: A Memoir of Wreckage, Recovery, and Relentless Love, to be published February 26, 2019.
This album is a welcome return for Taff, who is one of contemporary Christian music’s great vocalists, who sounds better than ever. Below are a few comments about each song: Your Love Never Fails – The opening song is an excellent cover of the Jesus Culture song written by Anthony Skinner and Chris McClarney. The song has high energy from the beginning note with Taff bringing his strong vocals over a driving beat led by guitar, organ, drums and backing vocals. I Still Believe – This song was written and originally recorded by The Call, and was included on Taff’s excellent 1990 self-titled album. On this new version Taff sings his heart out, backed by an excellent accompanying band, featuring a good guitar solo and backing vocals. About the song, Taff said “It meant the world to me back when I was struggling trying to find my way and I was screaming at the sky, but today it's a joyous anthem. I'm up here singing again for Jesus. I survived."
Key lyric: But I still believe I still believe
Through the pain,
And through the grief,
Through the lives,
Through the storms,
Through the cries,
And through the wars.
Oh, I still believe! Don’t Try So Hard – On this beautiful midtempo song, Taff is joined by Amy Grant, who herself was accompanied by James Taylor when she originally recorded the song. I enjoyed the organ on this track, with also features a nice guitar solo.
Key lyric: Don’t try so hard God gives you grace and you can’t earn it Don’t think that you’re not worth it Because you are He gave you His love and He’s not leaving Gave you His Son so you’d believe it You’re lonely even with your scars Don’t try so hard Same Power – This is an excellent cover of the joyful Jeremy Camp song. Taff brings a powerful vocal to the song over organ, guitar, piano, drums and backing vocals. There is victory in singing that we will not be overtaken, we will not be overcome.
Key lyric: The same power that rose Jesus from the grave The same power that commands the dead to wake Lives in us, lives in us. I Am – This is a cover of Crowder’s song which appeared on his 2014 debut album Neon Steeple. Crowder joins Taff on this excellent version. A guitar solo replaces the banjo on Crowder’s version. The song also features some excellent drums. Crowder has said “Standing and singing ‘I Am holding onto you in the middle of the storm’ alongside Russ is one of life’s greatest memories.”
Key lyric: I am Holding on to You
In the middle of the storm
I am Holding on Be Still My Soul – This is a song that Taff originally recorded with the Imperials on their 1980 album Priority. It was a song, written with his wife Tori, during a time when he was making the difficult decision to leave the Imperials. The beautiful song features piano, strings and some excellent backing choir vocals.
Key lyric: Be still my soul and know that He is God Stand quietly - He is the Lord
If God is for me who can be against me?
Be still my soul, He is the Lord No Longer Slaves – This is a cover of the Bethel Music song written by Brian Johnson, Joel Case and Jonathan David Helser. It opens with a brief female vocal. The joyful song builds with a powerful vocal from Taff, drums and strong backing vocals.
Key lyric: I’m no longer a slave to fear I am a child of God When I Hear Your Name – This beautiful song features strings, piano acoustic guitar and backing vocals. It is about the impact of God’s name. His whole world is changed and he is changed when he hears God’s precious and beautiful name. There Is a Fountain – This is a cover of William Cowper’s classic 1772 hymn. Taff delivers a passionate vocal over piano, drums and some excellent strings.
Key lyric: Redeeming love has been my theme And shall be till I die There’s a Hallelujah – This song features a driving beat from the beginning, featuring guitar, bass, drum and some excellent guitar. No matter what happens, he will worship Him the same. Hallelujah when I rise, hallelujah when I fall, Yes, there’s a hallelujah in it all. Isn’t the Name – This is a cover of the Bethany Worship song written by Jonathan Stockstill. This song features piano, as well as some excellent strings that were recorded at the legendary Abbey Road studio in London. The name of Jesus is all we need. We Will Stand – This song was originally recorded on Taff’s classic 1983 album Walls of Glass. The song features guitar, organ and builds powerfully with Taff’s vocal and a backing choir. Taff has said about the song "It's a message that is important to the Church, especially today. Politics are tearing the body of Christ apart. People are losing friends and walking away from each other because of who they voted for. We've got to rise above that, love one another and allow another person to have their own feelings and beliefs.”
Key lyric: But I, I don't care what label you may wear If you believe in Jesus you belong with me