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Psalms, Hymns, And Spiritual Songs, Vol. 1 by Shane & Shane Psalms, Hymns, And Spiritual Songs, Vol. 1 by Shane & Shane

I was introduced to the worship duo Shane and Shane (Shane Barnard and Shane Everett) at the 2018 Getty worship conference Sing! For the time that I have followed them, the duo has released...

Live In Denver by TobyMac Live In Denver by TobyMac
TobyMac, who is currently charting high with his single “Help Is On The Way (Maybe Midnight)” has released a new live album Live in Denver.  The project features 15 songs from...
Chris Tomlin & Friends: Summer EP by Chris Chris Tomlin & Friends: Summer EP by Chris
Chris Tomlin follows up his chart-topping 2020 album Chris Tomlin & Friends with this new EP featuring three new songs, as well as two previously released songs from the album. The EP is produced...

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New Release of Original Material from Shane and Shane | Posted July-26-2021

I was introduced to the worship duo Shane and Shane (Shane Barnard and Shane Everett) at the 2018 Getty worship conference Sing! For the time that I have followed them, the duo has released projects covering hymns and modern worship songs. Their last album of original material was 2015’s Psalms Vol. 2. Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs, Vol. 1 is a welcome return to original material, and it’s one of my favorite releases of 2021 thus far. The thirteen modern hymns are consistently excellent. It was hard to pick my favorites.   

The album’s title comes from Colossians 3:16:

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

Here are a few brief comments about each song:

Psalm 42 (Loudest Praise) – This song was written by Shane Barnard and Bryan Fowler. The song, which starts slow and builds, features acoustic guitar, backing vocals, drums, bass and organ.   

Key lyrics: 

Come thou fount of living water

Tune my heart to bless Your Name

Streams of trouble never ceasing

Call for songs of loudest praise


My Portion – This song was written by Shane Barnard, Bryan Fowler and Grayson Kessenich. Our heart and flesh may fail, but Jesus is our portion. The song, which gently builds, features strings, piano, guitar, bass and backing vocals.  

Key lyrics:  

Yet no thought so precious

So full of joy to me

Is this Thou art my portion

And shalt forever be


Psalm 90 (Satisfy Us with Your Love) – This song was written by Shane Barnard. The song is a prayer, which builds powerfully, features piano, backing vocals, organ, guitar, bass, drums and a choir.  

Key lyrics:

When the sun comes up, satisfy us

Before the day has passed us by

Before our hearts forget all Your goodness

Satisfy us with Your Love

Hallelujah, Christ Will Come Again – This song was written by Shane Barnard, Robbie Seay and James Tealy. The song features guitar, backing vocals, organ, drums, bass, and builds powerfully with a choir. The chorus uses the “Memorial Acclamation”.  

Key lyrics:

Christ has died

Christ is risen

Hallelujah, Christ will come again


Psalm 8 (How Majestic Is Your Name) – This song was written by Shane Barnard. The song, which builds powerfully, features keys, piano, guitar, backing vocals, bass and a choir.

Key lyrics:

So we'll sing of Your name

Live our lives for Your greatness, oh God

And Your glory and honor


Only There – This song was written by Shane Barnard, Bryan Fowler and Grayson Kessenich. The song, which builds powerfully, features keys, piano, backing vocals, guitar, bass, drums and choir.    

Key lyrics:

Only there, only there

Love and mercy flow for me

Only there, only there

Can I find my rest in Thee


Song in the Night – This song was written by Shane Barnard and Adam Westlake. The song features bass, drums, keys, guitar and backing vocals.  

Key lyrics:

I will cling to the lover of my soul

Letting go of the rudder in the storm

I will call on the name of the Lord

You're my song in the night

Oh, Jesus Christ


Psalm 84 (I'm Home) – This song was written by Shane Barnard, Jimmy Needham and Bryan Fowler. The song, which builds powerfully, features keys, piano, backing vocals, guitar, bass, drums and a choir.   

Key lyrics:

When I sit at Your table

I am right where I belong

In the doorway of my Father's house

I'm home


How Awesome Is Your Love – This song was written by Shane Barnard and Grayson Kessenich. This joyful song features acoustic guitar, drums, bass and backing vocals.    

Key lyrics:

Your love, Your love

How deep, oh, how wide

And oh, my soul is satisfied

Your love, Your love

Is better than life


Living Water – This upbeat song was written by Shane Barnard and Bryan Fowler. The song features drums, guitar, backing vocals and a choir. We can never have too much of God’s love.    

Key lyrics:  

Living water

Deep within me

Saturate my soul

Like a river

Break the levee

Let it overflow



Greatest Love I've Ever Known – This song was written by Shane Barnard and Bryan Fowler. The song features keys, bass, acoustic and electric guitar, drums, and backing vocals. The song samples Isaac Watts’ hymn “Alas, and Did My Savior Bleed”.



Key lyrics:



With open arms

Upon the cross

You paid it all

At the highest cost

You gave Your life

To save my soul

Oh Jesus, You're the great love I've ever known



Steadfast Love – This song was written by Shane Bernard and Robbie Seay. The song features keys, acoustic guitar, backing vocals, bass, strings, drums and piano.



Key lyrics:



Your steadfast love never ceases

Your goodness God

Calling me to rest

Your mercy just when I need it

How great is Your faithfulness



Your Nearness – This song was written by Shane Barnard and Bryan Fowler. The song features acoustic and guitar, keys, bass, organ, drums and backing vocals. The song concludes with a nice instrumental section.



Key lyrics:  



Your nearness

Oh, Your nearness

Is my good



Best songs



Psalm 42 (Loudest Praise)



Psalm 90 (Satisfy Us with Your Love)  



Psalm 8 (How Majestic Is Your Name)



Only There



How Awesome is Your Love



Living Water



Steadfast Love




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TobyMac Live Album | Posted July-11-2021
TobyMac, who is currently charting high with his single “Help Is On The Way (Maybe Midnight)” has released a new live album Live in Denver.  The project features 15 songs from his Hits Deep early 2020 Tour, and includes collaborations with Terrian, Aaron Cole, Cochren & Co. and Ryan Stevenson. This follows his 2016 live album Hits Deep Live. Live in Denver is currently only available in a digital format. A CD/DVD version will be released September 10. 

The tracklist focuses heavily on later career songs, including “21 Years”, the 2019 song he wrote after son Truett died, 8 from 2018’s The Elements, 3 from 2015’s This is Not a Test, and 2 from 2012’s Eye on It. He also includes “Lose My Soul” from Portable Sounds.  

The complete tracklist and the album the song was originally on, is below:

I just need U. - The Elements

Everything - The Elements

Love Broke Thru – This is Not a Test

21 Years – Single

See The Light – The Elements

Move (Keep Walkin’) – This is Not a Test

Lose My Soul (featuring Terrian) – Portable Sounds

The Elements – The Elements

Hello Future – The Elements  

Til The Day I Die – This is Not a Test

Starts With Me (featuring Aaron Cole) – The Elements

Overflow – The Elements

Edge Of My Seat (featuring Cochren & Co.) – The Elements

Me Without You – Eye on It  

Speak Life (featuring Ryan Stevenson) – Eye on It  

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New Summer Music | Posted July-02-2021
Chris Tomlin follows up his chart-topping 2020 album Chris Tomlin & Friends with this new EP featuring three new songs, as well as two previously released songs from the album. The EP is produced by Corey Crowder. If you already have the full-length album, you’ll want to check out the three new songs.

Below are a few brief comments about each song:

Good To Be Loved – This song about God’s love was written by Tyler Hubbard Chris Tomlin, Corey Crowder and Blessing Offor, and features Hubbard. God’s mercy is new every morning (Lamentations 3:22), is never ending, goes from east to west (Psalm 103:12), and is deep and wide (Ephesians 3:18). The song features piano, bass, drums, organ and backing vocals.

Key lyrics: 

It don't run out

It's never-ending

It goes as far

As the east is from the west


Talk To Him – This song about prayer was written by Chris Tomlin, Russell Dickerson, Tyler Hubbard, Corey Crowder and Ashley Gorley, and features Dickerson, who was formerly Tomlin’s guitar tech on the road for three years.

The song features guitar, bass, drums and backing vocals.  

Key lyrics:

Just talk to the One who created the Heavens and Earth, yeah

He's always there waiting and always will be

Yeah, He made you, He knows you

He loves you, He's for you

He already knows what you need, so just

Talk to Him, talk to Him, talk to Him


Love People – This song about loving each other was written by Chris Tomlin, Tyler Hubbard, Corey Crowder, Dave Barnes, and features Jimmie Allen. Love doesn’t see color, and underneath the surface we’re all the same. The song includes a part of 1 Corinthians 13. The song features piano, bass, drums and backing vocals.

Key lyrics:

We didn't all come up the same way

But we're all in need of the same grace

Thank You Lord – This song was written by Tomlin, Thomas Rhett, Tyler Hubbard, Corey Crowder and David Garcia, and features Florida Georgia Line and Thomas Rhett. Tomlin has said that to have a life of gratitude and thank God for all things – good and hard – that are around us, was a major theme of the full-length Chris Tomlin and Friends album. The verses have a country music feel, and the bridge is more worship music, featuring Tomlin. This is a feel-good, sing along song that features hand claps, backing vocals, guitar and drums.

Key lyric:

Praise up, eyes closed

One thing I know

I just wanna thank You Lord, thank you Lord

Sing – This song was written by Tomlin, Corey Crowder, Brian Kelley, Tyler Hubbard and Cary Barlowe, and features Russell Dickerson and Florida Georgia Line. The easy-going song features guitar, hand claps, backing vocals, drums and a memorable chorus.

Key lyric:

You make me wanna sing about Your love

Make me wanna tell the whole world what You’ve done

How You’ve turned my life around, I was lost but now I’m found

You’re the song stuck inside my head all day

Yeah, You make me wanna sing, sing

Sing all about You

Yeah, You make me wanna sing  

 

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One of the Best Albums of 2021 | Posted July-01-2021
I first heard Ellie Holcomb on the song “Elizabeth”, a song she wrote with Kristyn Getty and included on the 2017 album Sing! - An Irish Christmas: Live at the Grand Ole Opry House. Watch a live performance of the song here.

I was attracted to this album by a tweet from NEEDTOBREATHE indicating that lead singer Bear Rinehart had teamed up with Holcomb for “Sweet Ever After”. I’m glad I checked out the album, as it’s one of my favorites of 2020.

The album was inspired by a trip Holcomb took to the Grand Canyon last summer. She has said that the songs, born out of a season of a lot of personal and global (COVID-19, racial tension, etc.) loss, feel like a soundtrack to healing and hope.  

Canyon, produced by Cason Colley, is Holcomb’s follow-up to her 2017 Red Sea Road album. Holcomb’s father, Christian music veteran Brown Bannister served as executive producer.  

Here are a few brief comments about each song:

I Don't Want To Miss It - This upbeat song was written by Thad Cockrell, Cason Cooley and Ellie Holcomb. The song features drums, bass, piano, backing vocals, and banjo. She doesn’t want to miss God’s voice and touch.  

Key lyrics:

I don't want to miss a thing

So I climbed up in a sycamore tree

'Cause I don't want to miss a thing

And I don't want to miss it

I don't want to miss a thing

I don't want to miss the melody

That You've been singing over me


Canyon - This hopeful song was written by Thad Cockrell, Cason Cooley and Ellie Holcomb. The song features, banjo, backing vocals, drums, piano and bass. She found the Lord in the desert. Holcomb has said that this song, and the album, is about a deeper sorrow and a higher hope. There’s a river running through her deepest sorrow and pain. There’s a river running through every dream that never came true.

Key lyrics:

I walked into the desert and I found You

You set a table for me in the presence of my enemies

To share with my enemies

No longer my enemies


Color – Holcomb sings of stone-cold lonely nights when she built her house on sand. She thought the truth was black and white, but now sees it is made of color. The song, which builds powerfully, features keys, finger snaps, bass, guitar, drums and backing vocals.   

Key lyrics:

In the broken sanctuary light

I'm surrendered, I am hypnotized

I can see You even though I'm blind

This world is made of color


Bridge - This song was written by Jordan Reynolds, Ellie Reynolds, Ellie Holcomb, Carly Bannister and Alexandria Mowry. The song features piano, guitar, bass, drums and backing vocals. The song is about racial reconciliation, rebuilding what has been broken, repentance and forgiveness.  

Key lyrics:

I wanna listen, I wanna repent

It's time to rebuild what's been broken

Teach me to love, help me learn to forgive

And when hate melts it down, we'll rebuild it again


Paradox - This song was written by Natalie Hemby and Ellie Holcomb and features Hemby. She thought see would see God clearly from the top of the world, but now that she is in the valley looking up God has never felt so close. The song features piano, keys, backing vocals, bass and drums.  

Key lyrics:

And now I'm in a valley, looking up

You have never felt so close

Canyons all around me, stars above

Meet me in the depths below

Where the lost is found

Where the broken is crowned

Where the souls rise up

From the ground

You got me in the valley, looking up


Brand New Day – This song was written by Jeremiah Dunlap, Matt Wertz and Ellie Holcomb. We all fall down and get banged up. There’s a storm, but you’ve not going under. It’s a brand-new day. I really enjoyed the musical arrangement on this song, featuring guitar, hand claps, bass and backing vocals.

Key lyrics:

Mercy new, don't miss the way it shines

It's a brand-new day

Sweet Ever After – This song was written by Bear Rinehart and Ellie Holcomb, and features Rinehart of NEEDTOBREATHE. The song references the tornado that struck Nashville in March, 2020, and features banjo, bass, backing vocals, drums. The sun is coming up on the stairway to Heaven in the sweet ever after.                 

Key lyrics:

Got a lot of bad days still coming our way

But a sweet ever after

Wind and waves breaking over our walls

But the ship, it don't shatter


Stronger - This song was written by Nicole Witt, Ellie Holcomb and Christa Wells. The encouraging song is about being stronger than your fear. It features piano, drums, guitar and backing vocals.  

Key lyrics:

Go fly away my dear, up to the golden sun

Don't build your home right here, you were made for love

Worry whispers lies but let the truth be clear

You are stronger, love, you are stronger than your fear


Mine - This song was written by Ellie Holcomb and features Drew Holcomb. It’s a beautiful piano and strings driven song for their children.  

Key lyrics:

Before I held you, I knew I loved you

Before I saw you, I was sold out for you

I was writing lullabies

Before I ever heard your cry

I've been here the whole time

You always have, you always will be mine


I Will Carry You - This song was written by Ben Glover and Ellie Holcomb. The song could be addressed to a friend who is tired, hurting and full of anxiety. It features piano, guitar, banjo, drums, and backing vocals.

Key lyrics:

I will carry you

Through your darkest night

When you're terrified

I will carry you

When the waters rise

When your hope runs dry

I will carry you


Gold – This song was written by Ellie Holcomb and features Carly Bannister. It sounds like a love song to Holcomb’s husband Drew, as she sings that she learned to sing so she could sing right next to him. The song features acoustic guitar, pedal steel guitar and backing vocals.  

Key lyrics: 

You are wonderful, you are kind

You are patient, you are humble, and you are wise

You don't see it with your own eyes

But you are gold to me and I love the way you shine


Constellations - This song was written by David Leonard (Christian), Ellie Holcomb

and Jon Guerra. The piano driven song features a passionate vocal from Holcomb

as she cries out to God to promise her that she is not alone.  

Key lyrics: 

'Cause out here in the dark

Underneath a canopy of stars

Constellations falling from Your heart

They tell me that I'm not alone

'Cause honestly I'm so alone

But promise me I'm not alone


Best Songs

All

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Excellent New Release From Crowder | Posted June-11-2021
Milk & Honey is Crowder’s fourth studio album and his follow-up to 2018’s I Know a Ghost. Crowder has written that the title Milk & Honey is about promise. The album is a celebration of the future we are marching towards together and a prayer that each of us can live in this promise in the here and now. It features a variety of musical genres, though less of the swamp rock and bluegrass that his previous albums have included. Several of the songs are about Jesus and will make find themselves into worship services. This is one of my top albums of 2020 thus far.   

Below are a few comments about each song:

Good God Almighty – This song was written by Jeff Sojka, Ben Glover and Crowder, and produced by Sojka and Glover. The song has charted high on Christian radio. Crowder describes this song as some good old-fashioned group singing, people singing in harmony. An excellent opening song.

Key lyrics:

Good God almighty, I hope You'll find me

Praising Your name no matter what comes

'Cause I know where I'd be without Your mercy

So I keep praising Your name at the top of my lungs

In the House – This song about the church was written by Jeff Sojka, Ben Glover and Crowder. The song features banjo, drums, bass, backing vocals and hand claps.

Key lyrics:

Doesn't matter if you're rich, you're poor, whoever you are

This is where we all find grace

He Is – This song about Jesus was written by Hank Bentley, Jeff Pardo and Crowder, and produced by Bentley and Pardo.  The song, which builds throughout, features piano, acoustic guitar, bass, banjo, drums and backing vocals. It would be an excellent song to sing in a worship service.

Key lyrics:

He is hope for the hopeless, rest for the weary

Help for the hurting, He is, He is

Mending the broken, bearing the burdens

All that you're needing, He is


Milk & Honey – This song was written by Seth Philpott, Hank Bentley and Crowder, and produced by Zach Paradis and Bentley. This song is about heading to the Promised Land. The upbeat song features Crowder’s swamp sound, banjo, hand claps, percussion and bass.  

Key lyrics:

Choirs will be singing, saints on bended knee

Angels will be dancing, we will all be free

God in all His glory as far as you can see

It's like every day is Sunday in the land of milk and honey


Higher Power – This song is written by Solomon Olds, Rebecca Olds, Jeff Sojka, Crowder, Hulvey and Ben Glover, and is produced by Glover, Sojka and Solomon Olds. This song about the power of God’s gathered people, features Hulvey on vocals. The high energy song is driven by guitar, drums, bass, a heavy beat and backing vocals.    

Key lyrics: 

Higher power

We stronger, we louder

Put your robe on we the choir

We champions, throw the flowers


Sweet Jesus – This song was written by Solomon Olds, Rebecca Olds, Jeff Sojka, Crowder and Ben Glover, and produced by Glover and Sojka. The song features, guitar, finger snaps, bass, drums and the excellent backing vocals of Maverick City Music.  

Key lyrics:

Say His name, say His name

The name above all names 

God Really Loves Us – This song was written by Jeff Sojka, Crowder, Dante Bowe and Ben Glover, and produced by Glover and Sojka. The song features Dante Bowe and Maverick City Music. The song is driven by piano and builds beautifully with the backing vocals.   

Key lyrics: 

Hallelujah

We are not alone

God really loves us


Who's Gonna Stop The King – This worship song was written by Jordan Sapp, Jeff Sojka, Crowder, Colby Wedgeworth and Ben Glover and produced by Glover and Sojka. The song begins with hand claps, and builds, with bass, percussion and backing vocals. No one is going to stop the King.  

Key lyrics:  

Praise Him, praise Him

Praise the everlasting King

Better Than Sunshine – This song was written by Jeff Sojka, Crowder and Ben Glover and produced by Glover and Sojka. The song about Jesus features acoustic guitar, percussion, bass and backing vocals.  

Key lyrics:

My Savior is better

My Jesus is better

His love is forever

Glory, Glory (God Is Able) – This gospel song was written by Ed Cash and Crowder and produced by Ben Glover and Jeff Sojka. The toe-tapping song features piano, bass, percussion, backing vocals and banjo.

Key lyrics:

I feel better

So much better

Since I laid my burden down


Hallelujah For Every Broken Heart – This song was written by Ed Cash, Crowder and Bear Rinehart of NEEDTOBREATHE, and produced by Ben Glover and Jeff Sojka. Jesus uses all of the pain and hurt in our lives. The song features bass, piano, hand claps and backing vocals.

Key lyrics:

Hallelujah for a broken heart

Hallelujah when I'm falling apart

There's a sun rising when the sky is dark

I'm singing, hallelujah for a broken heart


The Anchor – This song was written by Tommee Profitt and Crowder and produced by Profitt. The song, about Jesus, features piano, a passionate vocal and builds powerfully with a chorus.  

Key lyrics:

He is the anchor

He is the anchor of my soul

Best songs

Good God Almighty

He Is

Milk & Honey

Sweet Jesus

God Really Loves Us

Glory, Glory (God is Able)

The Anchor

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Mat Kearney at His Best | Posted May-24-2021
Mat Kearney returns with January Flower, his sixth studio album, and first since 2018’s CRAZYTALK. The new songs are primarily relationship driven acoustic songs with a beat. His sprinkles in references to his faith throughout the album.

I really enjoyed this album. Below are a few comments about each song:

Powerless – This song was written by Kearney and Eli Teplin and produced by Robert Marvin. The song begins with acoustic guitar and then adds percussion and backing vocals. The song references beginning to work on the album in the desert when they encountered record rainfall. It is about losing control and being powerless.

Can't Look Back – This mid-tempo song was written by Kearney and Trent Dabbs, and produced by Kearney and Robert Marvin. The song, about a relationship, features guitar, keys, drums, backing vocals and a memorable chorus. There’s no future in the past and you can’t look back.

Grand Canyon – This song, about a distance in a relationship, was written by Kearney and Eli Teplin, and produced by Kearney, Robert Marvin, Teplin and Gabe Simon.  The song features synth, guitar, percussion, keys and bass.

Pontiac – This song was written by Kearney, Robert Marvin, Eli Teplin, Ruslan Rov and Rob Resnick, and produced by Marvin, Teplin, Rov. The upbeat song features keys, percussion, and has Kearney looking back on their relationship driving in her Pontiac.  

They Don't Know – This song is about what it takes to keep a relationship together (faith, a love that comes from above, etc.). She is his heart. The song features acoustic guitar, percussion and keys.

Anywhere With You – This love song was written by Kearney, Robert Marvin, Eli Teplin and Trent Dabbs, and produced by Marvin. The song features a good beat and memorable chorus driven by guitar, synth and percussion.

Say It Now – This song, about falling in love, was written by Kearney, Eli Teplin and Trent Dabbs, and produced by Robert Marvin, Teplin and Ruslan Lov. The song features keys, backing vocals, bass and percussion.  

Stuck in the Moment – This song finds Kearney looking back on a love that has moved on, though he can get caught in the moment, just for a moment. The song features acoustic and electric guitar and percussion.

I Don't Really Care – This upbeat song features keys, hand claps and percussion. He wishes that they could just watch the sunset, and not their phones and worrying about how they compare with others.

Running In Circles – This upbeat song features percussion, keys, hand claps, a memorable chorus and a good beat. He can’t get any peace. She has him running in circles. He’s tired of waiting.

Boulder – This song is about a coffee shop in Nashville, now closed, when Kearney would bring his child as a newborn. The song features acoustic guitar, backing vocals and bass. You can’t stop a boulder when it starts.

Blame - He was the one to blame, he was the one who changed and lost his way. He knows that that Lord forgives him but it doesn’t make what he did right. The song features acoustic guitar, bass and percussion. 

Something Beautiful – This is a beautiful acoustic love song. Way back when,

they knew their love could be something beautiful  

Best songs:  

Grand Canyon

Can’t Look Back

Pontiac

They Don’t Know

Blame

Something Beautiful

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High Energy Live Album from NEEDTOBREATHE | Posted April-16-2021
NEEDTOBREATHE follows their previous live albums – 2015’s Live from the Woods and 2018’s Acoustic Live Vol. 1 – with Live from the Woods Vol. 2, recorded outdoors March 13 and 14 at The Caverns in Pelham, Tennessee. This is their first live project since founding member Bo Reinhart left the band, the band now consisting of vocalist-guitarist Bear Rinehart, bassist Seth Bolt and keyboardist Josh Lovelace. The songs on this collection focus on the band’s most recent album, with 8 of the 17 tracks coming from the band’s August 2020 album Out of Body, which the band didn’t get to tour behind because of the pandemic. Three songs come from their 2009 album The Outsiders, 2 from 2014’s Rivers in the Wasteland, and one from 2016’s Hard Love, 2018’s EP Forever on Your Side, 2011’s The Reckoning and 2007 The Heat.

NEEDTOBREATHE has always been known as an excellent high energy live band, and they prove it again on Live from the Woods Vol. 2. It’s obvious that they are energized to be performing in front of a crowd again. I enjoyed every song on this album, which features more than an hour and a half of music. Highlights for me included a blistering version of “Prisoner” from their 2009 album The Outsiders, “Who Am I” from 2020’s Out of Body, “Feet, Don’t Fail Me Now” from 2014’s Rivers in the Wasteland, the rarely played “Garden” from The Outsiders, “Brother” from Rivers in the Wasteland, and the unplugged Encore Medley: “Something Beautiful” from The Outsiders, “White Fences” from 2011’s The Reckoning, and “Washed by the Water” from 2007’s The Heat, with the audience singing along.  

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Wilder Woods EP | Posted April-11-2021
Bear Rinehart, the lead singer of NEEDTOBREATHE is Wilder Woods. The name comes from his two sons Wilder and Woods. During the pandemic, he wrote between 70-80 songs. Five of the songs are included on The Work Tapes EP, and more are planned to be released. Rinehart, who possesses one of the most distinctive and powerful voices in music, has been busy with NEEDTOBREATHE, as well as adding vocals to songs from Chris Tomlin, Carrie Underwood and We the Kingdom. He wrote, recorded and produced The Work Tapes at his home studio. The EP is a follow-up to his 2019 solo debut Wilder Woods.

Themes on the project include change, love, fear, sin and getting better.

Below are a few comments about each of the songs:  

Long Night Coming – This upbeat song features guitar, backing vocals, light drums and keys. He needs a change. He needs to get back on the road and play music, because that’s where his soul is uplifted.

Key lyric:

I wanna sing in a crowd of people I’ve never met before

It makes me love and remember what I’m working for  

Sink Our Love Now – This passionate song features acoustic and electric guitar, bass, keys, and backing vocals. Their love may not be what it once was, but they have persevered and are committed to each other. As long as they are together, they’ll be able to figure it out.

Key lyric:

If the ship’s still floating, you can figure it out

It’s gonna take a lot more to sink our love now

Heavenly Light – This song features keys, percussion, backing vocals, guitar and bass. It is a song for his wife. She is his heavenly light.

Key lyric:

Baby I could die with you by my side

I could do so many wrongs by you’d make them right.

What Are You Afraid Of? – This song features acoustic guitar, keys, and backing vocals. It is a tender song written for his wife about helping her with her fears.    

Key lyric:

Trying to be the right kind of lover and friend

So, won’t you let me and Jesus carry your troubles again?

Man Made Weather – This song features keys, acoustic guitar, percussion, backing vocals and guitar. This song finds Rinehart reflecting as a father on the times we are living in. The song addresses sin such as crime and hate. It’s not a foregone conclusion that we’re going to be fine, but he has hope that we can get better.  

Key lyric:

I know we can be better

Gotta find some way to get better

There’s a cloud hanging over our kids

And its man-made, man-made weather

Best songs:

Long Night Coming

Man Made Weather

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First Mixtape from NF | Posted March-27-2021
Rapper NF (Nathan Feuerstein), follows his 2019 album The Search with his first mixtape. NF released a mixtape indicating that he didn’t want to release a full-length album if he couldn’t tour behind it due to the pandemic. The project features guest artists Hopsin and Tech N9ne, and debuted at number one on the iTunes Top Albums chart. Musically, NF continues with transparent lyrics, simplistic string arrangements and classical music influences. As a Christian, NF continues to be a light and a leader in his craft in a genre where most of the music is marked “explicit”.

Below are a few comments on each song:

Clouds – This hard-driving song was written and produced by NF and Tommee Profitt. Mixtapes aren’t his thing, but it’s been exhausting during the pandemic. He doesn’t like to hang on to songs, so thus the mixtape. He’s going to rock the boat and press the envelope with his music. He always delivers, raising the bar and topping the charts.     

Key lyric:

I don't know why God chose me (I don't know)

That’s a Joke – This hard-hitting song was written and produced by NF and Tommee Profitt. NF fast raps on this track. People see him as a joke and underestimate him, but he always proves them wrong. The way he connects letters you would think he created the alphabet.  

Key lyric:   

I'm not on your radar? Then your radar's broke

Just Like You – This song was written and produced by NF and Tommee Profitt. This is a slower and more serious track, with NF rapping over piano, strings, and a hand clap beat. He’s speaking to those who are alone, afraid, who fall and are not okay. He wants you to know that you are not alone, there are millions just like you.  

Key lyric:

It's the lows in life that make you cherish the highs

And if it isn't, I guess I'll be fine believin' a lie

Story – This song was written and produced by NF and Tommee Profitt. The song has NF telling a story about Erin, hiding in a gas station, that is being robbed by her roommates' boyfriend.  

Key lyric:

Now or never, God, if I had any blessings

Comin' in my future, could you send 'em to my present?

Prideful – This song was written and produced by NF, Tommee Profitt and Saint X. This is a slower song about an old business relationship that didn’t work out well.  

Key lyric:

How'd you go from bein' that somebody I believed

Into bein' someone doubtin' me behind the scenes?

Can't forgive a sorry that I ain't ever received

I mean least you coulda done was gave me an apology


Lost – This hard-driving song was written by NF, Tommee Profitt, Saint X and Hopsin. It was produced by NF, Tommee Profitt and Saint X, and features Hopsin.

This song is about being lost. A dark cloud is his residence. He is praying to the Lord. Demons are knocking at his door, but he doesn’t have to let them in.

Key lyric:

I used to be joyful and skip so merrily

But now I'm too cautious and tip toe carefully

Layers – This song was written and produced by NF, Tommee Profitt and Saint X.

After a piano intro, NF touches on a number of topics in his life including his plans, goals, deals, scars, his childhood and being in the rap game for the long haul.   

Key lyric: 

I'm thankful for the prayers, I need more of those

Put my hands together, bow my head and thank the Lord for

Everythin' He's done, yeah, ain't none of us immortal


Drifting – This song was written and produced by NF and Tommee Profitt. NF varies his vocal style throughout the song. He is drifting, sinking, dreaming and screaming for some truth. He prays that God will help him to see his worth, and to take a step forward.

Key lyric:

If feeling makes you stronger, I'm the weakest

That would mean that I would have to separate from my beliefs

Trust – This hard-hitting song was written by NF, Tommee Profitt, Saint X and Tech N9ne. It is produced by NF, Tommee Profitt, and Saint X, and features Tech N9ne. NF and Tech N9ne deliver fast raps about lack of trust, talking to the devil, and being different from other rappers.     

Key lyric:

And they wonder why the music has a huge effect?

Could it be 'cause I've been the go-to when it comes to depth?

Paid My Dues – This song was written and produced by NF, Tommee Profitt and Saint X. The song was released as a single in December, 2019, just a few months after the release of The Search. He addresses critics who will write anything about him just to get clicks on social media. He addresses his burdens and states that he has paid his dues. He’s made it through and is on the loose.

Key lyric:

People claim they're in your corner, but leave you in times of need

Clouds – Edit – This song was written and produced by NF and Tommee Profitt. This version eliminates the instrumental intro for radio play.   

Best songs   

Clouds

That’s a Joke

Lost

Layers

Paid My Dues

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First Gospel Album From Carrie Underwood | Posted March-26-2021
My Savior is the long awaited first gospel album by seven-time Grammy winner, country music superstar Carrie Underwood, and her eighth studio album overall. The album, a companion to her 2020 Christmas album My Gift, features thirteen gospel hymns that Underwood grew up singing in a very small Free Will Baptist church in her hometown of Checotah, Oklahoma. I believe that this album of hymns may have the same long-lasting impact of fellow country artist Alan Jackson’s hymns projects.

Underwood sticks to traditional arrangement on these hymns, which I appreciate, beginning with a harmonica driven instrumental version of “Jesus Loves Me”. CeCe Winans joins her on “Great is Thy Faithfulness”, Bear Rinehart of NEEDTOBREATHE provides backing vocals on “Nothing But The Blood of Jesus” and Buddy Greene plays harmonica on the opening instrumental “Jesus Loves Me”, “Blessed Assurance” and “Amazing Grace”. Underwood co-produced the album with David Garcia.

I really enjoyed this album of traditional hymns. Highlights for me included the harmonica from Buddy Greene on the instrumental opener “Jesus Loves Me”, “Great is Thy Faithfulness”, an upbeat “Victory in Jesus” (my favorite song on the album), “How Great Thou Art”, and a powerful “The Old Rugged Cross”.     

Here is the complete song listing for the album.  

Jesus Loves Me

Nothing But The Blood of Jesus

Blessed Assurance

Just As I Am

Victory in Jesus

Great Is Thy Faithfulness

O How I Love Jesus

How Great Thou Art

Because He Lives

The Old Rugged Cross

I Surrender All

Softly and Tenderly

Amazing Grace

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