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Departures by Jon Departures by Jon
This is the first solo album for the multi-talented leader of Switchfoot, after releasing multiple EPs, the latest being 2015’s four EP collection The Wonderlands. The album features 12...
Skin and Wind by Charlie Skin and Wind by Charlie
I’ve appreciated Charlie Peacock’s music for many years, dating back to his late-night concerts at the Cornerstone Festival when it was held outside of the Chicago area, and his West Coast...
Happy Thoughts EP by Andy Happy Thoughts EP by Andy
This seven-song EP from Andy Mineo, the follow-up to his Works in Progress album, is his gift to his fans to try to lift their spirits a bit after such a difficult 2020. It was inspired by a trip...

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Jon Foreman's Best Solo Work Yet | Posted February-12-2021
This is the first solo album for the multi-talented leader of Switchfoot, after releasing multiple EPs, the latest being 2015’s four EP collection The Wonderlands. The album features 12 new songs, which I assume were all written by Foreman. The mostly acoustic songs feature excellent musicianship, and I particularly liked his use of strings.

Foreman has said that this is an album “born out of the turmoil and desperation of the last year, (and this year, too). It’s an album that's born from the journey, not the destination.” This is an excellent album with themes such as doubt, fears, lessons learned, thanksgiving, love, loss, and those things that really matter. I’ve always enjoyed Foreman’s solo work, and feel that this is his strongest release to date.

Below are a few comments about each song:  

The Ocean Beyond The Sea – This opening song is somewhat different musically from what we normally get from Foreman, and it’s actually my least favorite on a very strong album. The song builds as he sings softly about forests, valleys and highways. The song features some excellent strings.  

Key lyric:

Beyond the tyrant

Beyond the sirens

Beyond the silence

I heard a whisper

As soft as thunder

As cold as fire

By the ocean beyond the sea


Education – This is an upbeat song, with a good drum beat, guitar, horns and backing vocals. Foreman has said that the lessons that have stuck with him most in life have been the ones that have cost him pain, time and loss. He sings that the scars are teachers that you're never gonna forget. Love is the hardest lesson you have to learn.

Key lyric:

Most things worth doing in this life

Are gonna kill you in the end

And the things worth fighting for

Are the things that you can't defend

Side By Side – This easy-going love song features Madison Cunningham. The song features acoustic guitar and bass. Foreman’s and Cunningham’s voices blend well.

They are as different as snowflakes, but side by side they start to melt into something wonderful. Foreman has said that the song is an attempt to sing out the truth against a backdrop of his fears and doubts.

Key lyric:

Oh, the irony, friends and enemies

We'll all be buried side-by-side

A Place Called Earth – This song was written by Jon Foreman, Tim Foreman and Lauren Daigle. Daigle sings the third verse, and her and Foreman’s voices blend well on the chorus. He longs for Heaven on a place called Earth, where every son and daughter will know their worth. The song features piano, strings, drums, bass and acoustic guitar.    

Key lyric:

Oh, how I long for Heaven in a place called Earth

Where every son and daughter would know their worth

Where all the streets resound with thunderous joy


Red And Gold – This song features acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass, drums, strings and backing vocals. The song was inspired as Foreman was on a hill in San Diego watching the sun go down and the car lights on the freeway below. The city glows, the traffic and rushing, of thirsty souls, hungry for meaning and love.

Key lyric:  

So, hold your faith, you're not alone here

Stay your pace, you're almost home

We're on our way, we're on our way home


Jesus, I Have My Doubts – Foreman has said that this is a song that steps into the ring with God. It is him asking the big questions at the end of a long, difficult season. It’s his honest attempt to sing into his doubts. The song features acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass, strings and light percussion. He’s been singing broken songs looking for the light for so long, but the pain goes on and on. Can God reach him in the silence?

Key lyric:

Jesus, feels like the world's in pieces

I'm sure You've got Your reasons

But I have my doubts

Jesus, I have my doubts


Thanks Be To God – This worship song of thanksgiving features strings, synth, drums, acoustic guitar, piano and bass. He loves the truth and has seen the light, but there is still sin (shadow) alive inside (Romans 7).   

Key lyric:

Christ, Christ alone come and set me free

Thanks be to God who delivers me 

The Gift – The beautiful song features acoustic guitar and strings. Our lives go through change, and love is what remains (1 Corinthians 13). The question is whether we will recognize the gift before it's gone.

Key lyric:  

May the wind that blows the hardest bring you home

Weight Of The World – This song addresses his doubt as he asks where God is now. He doesn’t understand how these difficult times fit into God’s plans. The song features acoustic guitar, light percussion, bass and some excellent strings.

Key lyric:

I’ve been waiting for

Your capable hands to come down

I’ve been praying for

Your capable hands to come down and turn this around

Your capable hands

Could carry the weight of the world


Love Is The Rebel Song – After a short opening, this musically upbeat song features acoustic guitar, backing vocals, strings and drums. Even if hate is the loudest song, he refuses to sing along. In a world at war love is the rebel song.

Key lyric:

Sing to me a melody for the ones who will never win

Songs of dreamers In-betweeners the ones that will never fit in

Where the wars go on and on

Love is the rebel song


The Valley Of The Shadow Of Planned Obsolescence – On this song, Foreman is feeling disposable and old. He’s looking back at old girlfriends, friends, social media, his music CD’s, and the Internet, the things he used to prize. He encourages us to focus on the things that will last (relationships), singing What would we do if we finally saw the light? If we dropped this accursed pride could we make amends? The song features cello, horns, acoustic guitar, whistle and a stringed instrument.

Key lyric:

On the day my heart beat dies

I want to be with you

The rest is just pretend

Just make believe


Last Words – This song seems to be about a friend who died in the COVID-19 pandemic, as the song begins and ends with ambulance sirens. None of the words he heard made sense of his friend leaving. The song features acoustic guitar, synth, backing vocals, light percussion and bass.  

Key lyric:

Your last words to me were keep breathing

So I’m breathing in the breath you left behind

Best Songs

Education

A Place Called Earth

Jesus, I Have My Doubts

The Gift

Weight of the World

Love is the Rebel Song

The Valley of the Shadow of Planned Obsolescence  

 

 

 

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New Vocal Album from Charlie Peacock | Posted January-17-2021
I’ve appreciated Charlie Peacock’s music for many years, dating back to his late-night concerts at the Cornerstone Festival when it was held outside of the Chicago area, and his West Coast Diaries releases in the late 1980’s. The multi-talented (artist, producer, author) Peacock writes all of the songs on Skin and Wind, his fourteenth vocal album, and the follow-up to 2019’s Lil’ Willie. In addition, he produces the album, handles lead vocals, and plays multiple instruments (piano, Rhodes and Wurlitzer electric piano, drums, bass, acoustic and electric guitar and percussion). Backing him are son Sam Ashworth (acoustic guitar and background vocals), Ruby Amanfu (background vocals), Bridget Ashworth (background vocals), Jerry McPherson (electric and acoustic guitars and ukulele), Andy Leftwich (fiddle and mandolin) and Dan Dugmore (pedal and lap steel). The album cover is a 1986 photo of Peacock backstage at the Filmore Auditorium in San Francisco.

I thoroughly enjoyed this excellent new album, which features excellence in vocals (Peacock’s voice is still an incredible instrument), production, musicianship, memorable hooks and poetical lyrics. Here are a few comments about each of the ten songs:

Skin and Wind is a Mind Bend – This beautiful and lyrically rich song is driven by acoustic guitar, light percussion and backing vocals. It begins with references to rain: A rainstorm of righteousness is dripping from the ceiling, yet do not fix that leak it’s all we have to quench the thirst of the need to be known, the need to be heard. He sings Let’s see where the water goes, and then brings in the wind: There is a wind an untitled wind, a friend to every color of skin. A great opening song.

Key lyric:

I say to myself, don’t you dare ever think

What you see will always be

As it is even now in the summer of ‘20

When you’ve still got more than plenty


Call It Destiny – This song features acoustic and electric guitar, piano, backing vocals, and Sam Ashworth on drums. The song is about a life of contentment. He has no more lust for spinning plates. Every day is a homily.    

Key lyric:  

There’s no reason to think this season

Is anything but a gift, not a battle hard won

Sing It Blue – This song is driven by acoustic guitar, and features backing vocals, Jeff King on electric guitar and Sam Ashworth on drums and bass. Peacock sings that we should all do our part to be a heart that beats in time with the truth.

Key lyric:  

Too many beaten down

Ignored or written off

What happened to the gold

In the rule, did it stop?


Waiting is the Plan – This song features acoustic and electric guitar, bass, and backing vocals. This is a song about supporting someone who is waiting. They are angry. Waiting is not the easiest thing to do, but it’s the plan. 

Key lyric:  

I’ll be standing on the shore

Waiting to see some history

Watching the sun set in the west

Hoping to God for the best

And waiting, oh waiting

Waiting is the plan


Even When You’re Not – This is a love song that is different musically from the previous songs on the album. It is driven by a bass beat, with backing vocals, guitar, organ and drums. 

Key lyric:

There’s nothing that could ever break apart 

What we got when you’re near to me

Even when you’re not


Is There Anything – This is a love song that has a country music feel, featuring drums, guitar, organ, backing vocals, and Matt Slocum (Sixpence None the Richer) on cello. 

Key lyric:  

I’ll wrap my heart around you baby

You wrap your heart around me too

Let’s be the answer to the question

Is there anything that love cannot do?


Never Be Another One – This is a love song, with a good beat driven by acoustic guitar, and featuring backing vocals. She has other lovers lining up, but needs to keep in mind that they once had a good time and there is no reason they can’t have another one.   

Key lyric: 

There will never be another one who can open my door, so wide

24 Hour Parade – This song features acoustic guitar, bass, drums, backing vocals and cello. This day is another 24-hour parade of everything he believes. You can always be ready to be anything you need to be, or need to do or say, come what may.    

Key lyric: 

I see the lion on the prowl

I drop a knee and say a prayer

Come Light, true Truth

One Life, in You

The Captain – This upbeat song features piano, backing vocals, Mark Hill on bass, Steve Brewster on drums, Jeff Taylor on accordion and whistle, and Bryan Sutton on acoustic guitar. He keeps a close watch on how fast he’s sinking, but he still rises and prays thy will be done as he navigates the lane between sadness and delight. An excellent vocal from Peacock. 

Key lyric:

I’ve got the least amount of time that I’ve ever had

My heart is full, my mind is quick

My body wants to lay it down

I’m a riddle, I’m a puzzle, I’m a quandary all around

I’m the Captain of a ship that’s going down


Faith, Hope & Love – This song is a prayer, and features acoustic and electric guitar, Mark Hill on bass and Nir Z on drums. He is waiting for the helping hand of love to lift him up and put him down on solid ground.

Key lyric:  

I am down on my knees 

Right where I need to be

There’ll be time enough to do

All I’ve dreamed of

But right now what I really need

Is faith, hope and love


Best songs:  

Skin and Wind is a Mind Bend

The Captain

Faith, Hope & Love

 

  

 

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Excellent EP from Andy Mineo | Posted December-12-2020
This seven-song EP from Andy Mineo, the follow-up to his Works in Progress album, is his gift to his fans to try to lift their spirits a bit after such a difficult 2020. It was inspired by a trip that he took with his friends to Japan before the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. His next release will be the Neverland II, the sequel to his successful 2014 release Neverland - my favorite Mineo project – anticipated in the first half of 2021.  

Here are a few comments about each song on the new EP:  

Shibuya Roll Call – This song was written by Daniel Steele, Wordsplayed and Mineo. It was produced by Steele and features Wordsplayed, who collaborated with Mineo on the 2017 project Andy Mineo & Wordsplayed Present Magic & Bird. This is an encouraging mid-tempo song about how far they've come and pursuing your dreams. They encourage us to not wait to pursue our dreams.    

Key lyric:

If you got a dream, don’t sleep on it

Herman Miller – This song was written by Vory, BEAM and Mineo and produced by Mineo and BEAM. The short song features fast rapping and a good beat throughout. Mineo has said that it celebrates his recent love of fine furniture (Herman Miller is a furniture manufacturer company), and also the excellence in craftsmanship that he looks to bring to his music.

Key lyric:

Sellin' shows, I never had to sell my soul out

Mangia (Ramen and Rhymin’) – This song was written by Mineo, Hulvey and Daniel Steele and was produced by Steele. The mid-tempo song features drums and guitar. Each verse is different musically, almost like separate songs. The song has Mineo reflecting on New York on his recent trip to Japan, eating ramen and other Japanese foods.

Key lyric:

Lord, we need direction, would You send the coordinates?

Momma Taught Me – This song was written by Joel McNeill, Mineo, Hulvey and Carvello, and was produced by McNeill and Carvello. The song features a good beat, and includes some lessons that his mother, who died in 2018, taught him.

Key lyric:

Got the Holy Ghost with me, I can never be spooked

Jackson Pollock – This song was written and produced by Mineo. The confident hard-hitting song, featuring a good bass beat and guitar, was inspired by Jackson Pollock, a 20th-century abstract expressionist painter.  

Key lyric:

When it come to the flow, I'm Pro Bowl with it

Willy – This song was written by Mineo and nobigdyl, and produced by Carvello. The song features nobigdyl, has a good beat, and includes several references to actor and rapper Will Smith, specifically his album Big Willie Style.

Key lyric:

If my brother in need a dollar, he gonna get a tenner

Yeshua of Nazareth was not a penny pincher

Always in a Rush – This song was written by Mineo and Daniel Steele, was produced by Steele and features Mez. The song features a bass beat and slow rap about how he feels that he is never doing enough to reach his dreams, goals and aspirations. This has made him a workaholic, and he finds it difficult to relax or enjoy things.    

Key lyric:

You won't take no shots, if you scared, you'll miss

Best Songs:

Shibuya Roll Call

Momma Taught Me

Jackson Pollock

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Excellent Acoustic EP Featuring String Quartet | Posted November-21-2020
Matt Redman released Let There Be Wonder, one of my favorite albums of 2020, in January, before the COVID-19 pandemic swept the world. He recently released this six-song EP Let There Be Wonder (Acoustic), featuring five songs from that album, plus his classic “Blessed Be Your Name”. What holds all of these stripped-down songs together is that they are all about Jesus, and praising his wonderful name.  

Even if you are familiar with these songs, I think you’ll enjoy these new versions. What really stood out for me was the use of strings on these songs. The EP was produced by Steve Marcia, who had the idea to use a string quartet as a signature sound for this project. Recorded during the lockdown, we hear four different string players who recorded themselves in four different locations, with beautiful results. I also enjoyed the backing vocals.   

Below are a few comments about each song:

Let There Be Wonder (Intro) – The EP begins with the chorus of “Let There Be Wonder”, written by Redman, Joshua Silverberg, Jacob Sooter and Corey Voss. The brief song features keys and strings.  

Key lyric:

Let there be wonder, let there be wonder in this place

Let there be worship, let there be worship for Your name

Come Holy Spirit, how we need Your fire again

Let there be wonder, let there be wonder


We Praise You – This song was written by Redman, Brandon Lake, Brian Johnson and Phil Wickham. The song, about praising the Lord, features acoustic guitar, strings, piano and backing vocals.  

Key lyric:

We’ll see You break down every wall

We’ll watch the giants fall

Fear cannot survive when we praise You

The God of breakthroughs on our side

Forever lift Him high

With all creation cry, ‘God, we praise You’

Oh, we praise You


All Praise (Sing Praise) – This song was written by Redman, Andi Rozier and Jason Ingram. The song features piano, acoustic guitar, strings, and some wonderful backing vocals. God’s amazing grace far exceeds our past mistakes. God brought us back to life again and we will rise with Jesus from the grave. He is coming soon. His promises all come true and He deserves all praise.

Key lyric:

Your name, Your name always

Jesus, You alone deserve all praise

Upon Him – This song was written by Redman, Andi Rozier and Jon Guerra. The song features acoustic guitar, piano, and backing vocals. There is no greater name than Jesus. One day every knee will bow and every heart confess (Philippians 2:10-11).

Key lyric:

Christ has died, we are forgiven

And Christ alive, we are the risen

And He shall come again

Praise the King, praise the King


Jesus Your Name – This song was written by Redman, Lindsey Sweet, Joshua Silverberg and Jacob Sooter. The song features backing vocals, piano, acoustic guitar, strings, and is about Jesus’s wonderful name.

Key lyric:

Jesus Your name, when the whole world shakes

Jesus Your name, I will ever praise

My battle cry every night and day

I’ll sing Your name over everything

I’ll sing Your name over everything


Blessed Be Your Name – This song was written by Beth and Matt Redman a few weeks after the tragedy of September 11, 2000, when they were in California for the start of a sabbatical break. The Redmans have said that this is “a song born out of the whole of life- a realization that we will all face seasons of pain or unease. And in these seasons we will need to find our voice before God. The Church (and indeed the world) needs it songs of lament." This version of the song has a slower pace than usual, and features strings, piano, acoustic guitar, backing vocals.  

Key lyric:

You give and take away

You give and take away

My heart will choose to say

Lord, blessed be Your name


Best songs

All

 

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Lecrae Releases a Deluxe Edition of Restoration Album | Posted November-14-2020
Lecrae adds six songs to his excellent Restoration album in this new Deluxe Album edition. Read my review of the original edition of the album here.

Here are a few brief comments about each of the new songs:

10 Toes – This song was written by Carvello, Tray Haggerty, Ace Harris, Kyrie Briana Chalmers and Lecrae. It was produced by Harris and Carvello. This is a hard-hitting song, both musically and lyrically, driven by synth and percussion. He mentions Breonna Taylor and Black Lives Matter. He indicates that he is too black for his white friends. But as bad as things seem, he still has hope and needs to stay close to the Shepherd.

Key lyric:

Earth is a mess, but He still rose

Long as the tomb is empty, I got hope by plenty, ain't nobody can steal those

Rich and Famous – This song was written by Carvello, Ace Harris, Dave James, Zach Paradis, Torey D’Shaun, SAK PASE, WHATUPRG, Ty Brasel and Lecrae. It was produced by Harris, Epikh Pro, KheilStone and SAK PASE. The song has a driving beat and shows that a “rich and famous” lifestyle of money, drugs, success doesn’t satisfy. It features WHATUPRG and Ty Brasel.

Key lyric:

Sell my soul to sell a song

I have bunch of stuff I can't take when I'm gone 

Come Thru Jesus – This song was written by Carvello, SAK PASE and Lecrae. It was produced by Carvello and SAK PASE. This hard-hitting song, featuring percussion and bass, is a cry out to God to come through during times of struggle.  

Key lyric:

I ain't into praying to the universe

But I'm known to follow what the Son say

Deep End Remix – This song was written by Rapsody and Lecrae. It was produced by Anthony Gardner and features Rapsody. Different from the original album version, this version features a new verse by Rapsody. Lecrae is transparent about the pain and trauma he has experienced as a black man when he has seen black people gunned down in the street.

Key lyric:

Do you love black or just listen to it?

Are you for the movement or only music?

I Am Restored Remix – This song was written by Carvello, Taylor Hill, Ace Harris, 1K Phew, Wande, Hulvey and Lecrae. It was produced by Hill, Carvello and Harris, and features   Hulvey, Wande, and 1K Phew. This hard-hitting song features percussion, bass, keys and backing vocals. The song addresses being attacked by Satan and hurt, hatred and abandonment. Ultimately, it is the journey of being restored.

Key lyric:

I lost a lot, but got too much to gain, I'll probably never be the same

But I ain't worried, 'cause I know He restoring me

Celebrate More – This song was written by S1, Hulvey, WU10, Epikh Pro, Dave James, Andy Mineo and Lecrae. It was produced by S1, WU10, Epikh Pro and James. This upbeat song with an infectious chorus, was previously included in the compilation Summer Twenty. It features Andy Mineo and Hulvey, and has a positive message of not wasting another day. We should worry less and celebrate more.  

Key lyric:  

Tell me what it's all for

When you get what you want and you still want more

In the end, you know that life's the reward


Best Songs:

10 Toes

Come Through Jesus

I Am Restored Remix

Celebrate More

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Excellent Introduction to Mat Kearney's Music | Posted November-14-2020
Until We Meet Again features songs from Kearney’s second acoustic tour, his winter 2020 Revisited tour. These songs were recorded in January and February before the COVID-19 shutdown. Many of the songs are from early in his career, with five of the eleven songs from his 2011 album Young Love and three from his 2009 album City of Black and White. Most of the songs, are about love and relationships, with other themes including encouragement and trust in God.  

If you are not familiar with Kearney’s music, this would be an excellent project to check out. Below are a few brief comments about each song:  

Fire and Rain – This song was written by Robert Marvin and Kearney and originally appeared on the 2009 album City of Black and White. They may not be together anymore, but his love for her will not fade. The song features acoustic guitar, drums, bass, and backing vocals.

Key lyric:

My love will not fade

Through the fire and rain

Kings & Queens – This song was written by Judah Akers, David Garcia and Kearney, and originally appeared on the 2018 album CRAZYTALK.  The song features acoustic guitar, bass, percussion, backing vocals and an infection chorus. Kearney has said that the song is about how there are moments when you can be doing well commercially, but feel totally worthless, and also moments when no one cares about your music but you feel fulfilled. The latter is what the song is about.   

Key lyric:

Richer than Solomon with you by my side

We’ll be kings and queens in our mind

Count on Me – This song was written by Jason Lehning, Robert Marvin and Kearney and originally appeared on the 2011 album Young Love.  The song features some excellent acoustic guitar, backing vocals, bass and drums. In this song he tells her that he loves her and that she can trust him.      

Key lyric:   

When your number's called

Back's against the wall

Pick you up when you fall

Be there when you call


Learning to Love Again – This song was written by Kearney and originally appeared on the Young Love album. Acoustic guitar, bass, piano, drums, backing vocals. The Young Love album, and likely this song, were inspired by conversations Kearney had with passengers as he worked as a cab driver in Nashville.

Key lyric:

Hey brother, we're all learning to love again

Closer to Love – This song was written by Robert Marvin, Josiah Bell and Kearney and originally appeared on the City of Black and White album. The song features acoustic guitar, bass, percussion and piano. We are all just one phone call from bad news that drives us to our knees in prayer. The song is about love, strength and hope.

Key lyric:

Oh, it's your light

Oh, it's your way

Pull me out of the dark

Just to show me the way


City of Black and White – This song was written by Michael Logan and Kearney and originally appeared on the City of Black and White album. The song features acoustic guitar, piano, bass, light percussion and backing vocals. This love song tells how she opened his eyes. He wants her to stay.   

Key lyric:

I don't want to wait until tomorrow

To tell you how I’d feel the rest of my life

Sooner or Later – This song was written by Josh Crosby, Robert Crosby, Robert Marvin, Jason Lehning, Nate Campany and Kearney, and originally appeared on the Young Love album. The encouraging song features percussion, bass, acoustic guitar and some excellent backing vocals. Though times are difficult he assures her that sooner or later they’ll get there.    

Key lyric:  

Baby, it's like we're walking on a wire thru the fear

Take my hand, we'll get there

Air I Breathe – This song was written by Seth Mosley and Kearney and originally appeared on the 2015 album Just Kids. The song features acoustic guitar, bass, percussion, and backing vocals. Kearney has said that the song is about his journey battling perfectionism, being in control, and ultimately his trust in God.  

Key lyric:

You are the air I breathe

You are the song I bleed

You are the war that I can't win

This is my white flag in the wind

Every word You speak

Is the air I breathe


Ships in the Night – This song was written by Jason Lehning, Josh Crosby, Robert Marvin and Kearney and originally appeared on the 2011 Young Love album. The rap/pop song features acoustic guitar, drums, percussion, backing vocals and some excellent piano. This is a song about a relationship in which they avoid their problems, instead wasting their time trying to prove who is right.   

Key lyric:

And if it all goes crashing into the sea

If it's just you and me

Trying to find the light

Like ships in the night


Hey Mama – This song was written by Kearney and originally appeared on the Young Love album. The upbeat song features, drums, acoustic guitar, bass, backing vocals and audience participation. This love song seems to tell the story of Kearney and his wife meeting and falling in love.   

Key lyric:  

Hey lover, don't want no other

Finger for my ring 

Nothing Left to Lose – This song was written by Kearney and originally appeared on the 2006 album Nothing Left to Lose.  This song is about his move from Oregon to Nashville, where he would pursue his calling as a singer-songwriter. The song features acoustic guitar, bass, backing vocals and piano.

Key lyric:  

And here we go, there's nothing left to choose

And here we go, there's nothing left to lose

Best songs:

Kings & Queens

Air I Breathe

Hey Mama

Nothing Left to Lose

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A Good Addition to Your Christmas Music Collection | Posted November-12-2020
Australian duo for King & Country, comprised of brothers Joel and Luke Smallbone, follow their best-selling 2018 album Burn the Ships with their first full-length Christmas album, based around their popular version of “Little Drummer Boy”. The album is comprised mostly of well-known Christmas carols, opening and closing with verses from “In The Bleak Midwinter”. There are two new songs included - “Heavenly Hosts”, and “The Carol of Joseph (I Believe In You)”. Bear Rinehart of NEEDTOBREATHE guests on “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” and country singer Gabby Barrett guests on “Go Tell It On The Mountain”.

The duo brings their signature high energy sound to these songs. In addition, there are two monologues included. A Drummer Boy Christmas was produced by Tedd Tjornhom and for King & Country, and co-produced by Benjamin Backus, with Matt Hales handling executive production.

A Drummer Boy Christmas would be a good addition to your Christmas music collection. Below are a few comments about the two new songs on the album:

Heavenly Hosts – This joyful song was written by Benjamin Backus, Joel Smallbone, Luke Smallbone, Aqualung, Tedd T and Tony Wood. The song starts with piano and then builds with bass, strings, drums and choir. The song is about when the angels met the shepherds in Luke 2.    

The Carol Of Joseph (I Believe In You) – This song was written by Joel Smallbone, Luke Smallbone and Aqualung. The piano and strings driven song is about Joseph’s reaction to the birth of Jesus, which reminded me of Michael Card’s classic “Joseph’s Song”.  

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Strong Album from Social Club Misfits | Posted November-11-2020
Shortly after the release of Feared by Hell, Social Club Misfits (Fern and Marty), won the Dove Award for Rap/Hip Hop Album of the Year for Mood//Doom, which had actually been released as two separate EPs during 2019. Feared by Hell, a strong album, features a number of guest artists and musical genres, such as Latin, Contemporary Christian and Hip-Hop. Themes on the album include Jesus, family, being yourself, trust in God, fun and the love of a wife.

Below are a few comments about each song:

Act of God – This song was written by Fern, nobigdyl., and Marty. It was produced by DJ Pez, Dirty Rice and Marty and features nobigdyl. This mid-tempo song about thankfulness recognizes that God has brought him through so much, and he doesn’t deserve it.   

Key lyric: 

Looking at my life, it's an act of God

Never thought I would make it this far

Is That Okay? – This song was written by Marty and Fern and produced by Jimmy James and Marty. The song features an infectious beat, with keys, bass, percussion, hand-claps, horns, and some excellent guitar. The song has a good message about being yourself. Being different is a superpower. He’s always being himself, and has no time to be anyone else, and God blesses him for who he is.

Key lyric:

I know I’ll never be picture perfect

But can I be myself, is that okay?

Conmigo – This love song was written by Fern, Marty and Jay Kalyl. It was produced by Sam Ash. The song features Kalyl and Ash. Some of this song is sung in Spanish. The title translates to “With Me” in English.

To the Top – This song was written by Fern, Foure and Marty and was produced by Juice Bangers and Dirty Rice. The song features 1K Phew.  The song features an excellent beat driven by bass and percussion. The only direction is up. Every day they are making history.

Key lyric:

When there was nowhere to go

You redirected my feet

God on My Side – This song was written by Ty Brasel, Fern and Marty. It was produced by Juice Bangers and Marty, and features Ty Brasel. The song about trust in God, features a mid-tempo beat, with bass, percussion and hand-claps.  

Key lyric:

Yeah, I know who to call when I need help

Savior – This song was written by Fern and Marty and produced by Tommee Profitt. This prayer about Jesus being Savior, and His life for ours being the payoff, features Jeremy Camp. The song features acoustic guitar, drums, bass, backing vocals, hand-claps.    

Key lyric:

Eternally grateful

When I needed you most, you came through

Luau – This song was written by Fern and Marty and produced by Marty. The song features Hulvey. This song has an easy-going beat, featuring guitar, bass, and percussion. The song is about a summer day hanging with friends by the pool.

Key lyric:

Go and call your friends, I hope summer never ends

Night Glow – This song was written by Marty and produced by Ray Rock. This easy-going song has a beat driven by drums and bass. His faith was tested, but he never wavered. His only friend was Jesus, the night glow when he didn’t have hope.

Key lyric: 

You look inside

My God lives there

I might fall down

But can't stay there
  

Young Gunz – This song was written by Fern, Evan Craft and Marty. It was produced by Sam Ash and Juice Bangers and features DAViES.  The song features an infectious chorus sung by DAViES, as well as guitar, keys, hand-clap and percussion. The song is about Social Club Misfits being young gunz, who have a fire in their soul, are running wild lifting Jesus high.

Key lyric:   

Every L I took, that's a lesson that I needed

And every time I win, I give them something to believe in

One day we gon' look back and say that it was Jesus


I Need You – This love song was written by Fern and Marty and produced by Marty. The song features a dance beat, with bass, percussion and keys.   

Somos Familia – This song about always being able to count on family was written by Andy Alemany, Sam Ash, Evan Craft and Marty. It was produced by Ash and features Blanca.  Some of the song is sung in Spanish. The song’s title in English means “We are Family”. The upbeat song features guitar and drums.  

Key lyric:

My Lord, I just wanna tell the world looking for remedies

None of it will work unless love is inside the recipe

Without You – This song was written by Fern, Marty and Colby Wedgeworth. It was produced by Dirty Rice and features Riley Clemmons. The up-tempo song features bass and percussion. God is the anchor of his life. He’s lived too many days far from God. There’s no way he’s ever going back to that life.    

Key lyric:  

Without You

I'm just a house of cards 'bout to fall down

Best songs:

Act of God

Is That Okay?

Savior

Young Gunz

Without You

 

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Worship-Flavored Release from KB | Posted October-30-2020
This is KB’s fourth studio album, his first album since 2017’s Today We Rebel (see my review here), and also his first since leaving Reach Records. The new album features God-centered lyrics, samples from several worship songs, and contains themes including praise and worship, being a father, and race.    

Below are a few comments about each song: 

Let it Reign – This song was written by Tee-Wyla, Michael Farren, Cardec Drums, Bizzle and KB. It was produced by Tee-Wyla and Drums. The song features Bizzle and begins with a sample of Michael W. Smith’s song “Let it Rain”. The song then moves into a hard-driving beat as he calls for Yahweh to reign over all.

Key lyric:

Your throne won't end, Your crown won't move

Lil Boy – This song was written by Cardec Drums and KB and produced by Drums. The hard-hitting song is about the example KB wants to set for his two sons. He wants them to be men of character and integrity. 

Key lyric:

God got a plan, stand up and act like a man

10K – This song was written by Jonas Myrin, Quinten Coblentz, Matt Redman, Wes Writer and KB. It was produced by Coblentz and Writer. This is a worship song that is based on Matt Redman’s song “10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)”.    

Key lyric:

I got a God don’t change with the seasons

Ten thousand reasons I can believe in

This is Life – This song was written by Michael Fatkin, Benjamin Hastings, Cardec Drums, Quinten Coblentz, Joel Houston, Wes Writer and KB. It was produced by Drums, Coblentz and Writer. The song samples Hillsong UNITED’s worship song "So Will I (10 Billion X)" The song is about our life praising God, just as the stars, mountains and oceans do.

Key lyric:

‘Cause if everything exists to lift You high, so will I

Armies – This song was written by Wes Writer, Scott Cash, Mashell, Ed Cash, Chris Tomlin and KB. It was produced by Mashell. The song, in which KB expresses his confidence in the Lord to fight his battles, is hard-driving, and features backing vocals. The song samples Chris Tomlin’s “Whom Shall I Fear (The God of Angel Armies)”

Key lyric:

When you come to handle me

There’s another hand on me.

Masterpiece – This piano-driven song was written by Quinten Coblentz and KB and produced by Coblentz. It is a song for KB’s newborn daughter. She is a masterpiece. The song builds with backing vocals.

Key lyric:

There's nothin' that you have to be

Already, you're a masterpiece

Libre – This Latin influenced song was written by Wes Writer, Cardec Drums, Tommy Royale and KB. It was produced by Drums and features Royale. The song is about KB’s freedom in Christ.

Yes Song – This worship song was written by Jonathan Smith, Mia Fieldes, Eddie Hoagland, Jason Cornet, Swoope, Cardec Drums, Tee-Wyla and KB. It was produced by Drums and Tee-Wyla. The song samples “Yes I Will” by Vertical Worship and features Eddie Hoagland. The song begins with piano and builds with backing vocals.

Key lyric:

Hand in my face, I can't see

I have nothing left to bring

Dark Skin – This song was written by Cardec Drums and KB. It was produced by Drums and features Black Violin. This song addresses racism, and the incidents involving George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery. Jesus is the answer. If we do what he commands and humble our pride, God can mend us. The song begins with piano, and builds with percussion, bass and horns.  

Key lyric:

Ain’t no left or right side in heaven 

We Right Here – This song was written by Cardec Drums, Quinten Coblentz, Wes Writer and KB. It was produced by Drums, Coblentz and Writer. A hard-driving song that is a rally cry for millennial-aged Christians. The song samples “KIDZ” by Andy Mineo and Wordsplayed.   

Key lyric:

They say millennials are leavin' God

I just smiled, like you really need to see the squad

Loyal Til the End – This song was written by Cardec Drums, DJ Pez, Jon Keith and KB. It was produced by Drums and Pez and features Jon Keith. It’s a hard-driving song about his loyalty to his friends that features some nice percussion.  

Key lyric:  

All of my dawgs defiant

Loyal ‘til the end

The Name – This worship song about exalting the name of the Lord, was written by Cardec Drums, Quinten Coblentz, Wes Writer, Koryn Hawthorne and KB. It was produced by Drums, Coblentz and Writer and features Hawthorne. The song features an instrumental break mid-song and some nice drums and vocals from Coblentz and Hawthorne.

Key lyric:

All my heavy chains gettin' broken

And my weary heart's given hope

Come exalt Your Name


Si Cancion – This is the Spanish language version of “Yes Song” and features Blanca and Musiko.

Best Songs  

10K

Yes Song

The Name

 

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Chris Tomlin's Fourth Christmas Release | Posted October-27-2020
Following close on the June release of his successful country music album Chris Tomlin & Friends, Tomlin is back with his fourth Christmas project, which includes two new songs – “Miracle of Love” and “All the World Awaits (Hosanna)”, along with the four songs from his 2019 EP Christmas Day: Christmas Songs of Worship,  and one song from his 2015 album Adore: Christmas Songs of Worship. If you have all of Tomlin’s previous Christmas music, you’ll want to download the two new songs.

Here are a few comments about each song:

Miracle of Love – This upbeat joyful song was inspired by the Tomlin’s third daughter, due this December, and the parallel story of the birth of Jesus. Tomlin has talked about how each line of the song has a double meaning. The song opens with piano, and picks up with drums, backing vocals and a nice use of horns at the chorus. The song was written by Ashley Gorley, Ed Cash and Chris Tomlin.  

Key lyric:

A baby born; a baby born

A miracle of love

A gift from God sent to us

From heaven above


All the World Awaits (Hosanna) – This praise song about the coming of the Savior was written by Tomlin, Jason Ingram and Matt Maher. The song begins with guitar and gently builds with piano, drums and backing vocals. The song is inspired by Matthew 21:9 and Isaiah 9:6.   

Key lyric:

Hail the heaven born Prince of Peace

Hail the Son of righteousness

Light and life to all He brings

Glory to the newborn King


Christmas Day – This song is written by Ed Cash, Scott Cash, Franni Cash, Martin Cash and Andrew Bergthold. This joyful song features drums, guitar and excellent vocals by Tomlin and We The Kingdom. Classic Tomlin, this song would be a good one for congregational singing.  

Key lyric:

Sing all you people

The Lord almighty reigns

Sing every creature of God

Come bless His name

For He is good, for He is good

He was born to conquer the grave

Light of the world

The reason for Christmas Day


His Name Is Wonderful – This song is written by Tomlin and Ed Cash with a chorus taken from Isaiah 9:6. The song begins with Tomlin singing over piano, and then builds with drums, strings and choir.    

Key lyric:

Come and adore Him

On bended Knee

He came to Ransom

Someone like me


Little Drummer Boy – This Christmas classic was written by Katherine Davis, Henry Onorati and Harry Simeone in 1958. The song features guitar, backing vocals and of course some excellent drum work.

Hope Of Israel – This song was written by Tomlin, Ben Fielding, Jason Ingram and Reuben Morgan. The song begins with Tomlin singing over piano, then builds gently with strings and backing vocals.   

Key lyric:

God is with us

Christ our Savior

Jesus our Emmanuel

He shall reign our King forever

The hope of Israel 


NoelThis song, originally included on Tomlin’s 2015 album Adore: Christmas Songs of Worship, features Lauren Daigle on lead vocals, and was written by Tomlin, Ed Cash and Matt Redman. Tomlin is known for sharing the spotlight with others, such as including Audrey Assad’s “Winter Snow” on his 2009 album Glory in The Highest: Christmas Songs of Worship. Since this recording, Daigle has gone on to great success with her Look Up Child album, which could be the reason this older song was added to the new EP.  

Key lyric:

Unto us a Child is born

He shall reign forevermore

Best songs:

A Miracle of Love

All the World Awaits (Hosanna)

Christmas Day

Noel



 

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