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Chris McClarney [Defender]
Posted July 27, 2010
By christianmusicreview,


[MAIN REVIEW]
Nashville-based Chris McClarney’s first full-length studio CD, Defender, is set to release Aug. 10 from Kingsway Records. Packed with songs inspired by real life, lessons learned and the truth of Scripture, McClarney delivers this collection of soulful modern worship as a triumphant proclamation that God’s got his sleeves rolled up and He’s working it all out for our good - even if we can’t see it. A worshipper dedicated to drawing the eyes, heart and minds of the church toward its heavenly Father, Chris McClarney’s songs caught the attention of the Redding, California-based Jesus Culture youth movement. An “army” of believers in the movement has adopted McClarney’s “Your Love Never Fails” as its theme song. An “overnight” sensation after having led worship for 15-years, McClarney has spent the last six years at Grace Center church in Franklin, TN. He resides in nearby Nashville, TN with his wife Jasmine, and two small daughters.

If you like soulful and message-driven songs, then you should enjoy this collection of songs. The collection begins with “Your Love Never Fails,” which I would love to sing with fellow believers. The song is a great worship anthem with the bridge “All things work together for my good” which is framed by the biblical Truth “I know that You love me, Your love never fails.” I really enjoy this song and keep playing it over and over. “That whole Job story is often misunderstood,” McClarney shares in relation to the song and just a few short days after flood waters ravaged thousands of homes in Nashville. “God didn’t do bad things to Job. All the horrible things: floods, Katrina, earthquakes, economic fallout, oil spills... God has not forgotten us. He’s not mad at us. He’s got great plans for us. His love and grace are endless.”

“Still Saving Me” includes the bluesy musical style found throughout the album and is a great prayer song along with “Who Is This Love Amazing” and title track “Defender.” If you like the classic hymns and you are looking for new congregational songs and new arrangements of great worship songs, you’ll really enjoy this album. Chris sings his heart out on Fanny Crosby’s “Immortal, Invisible” and that is one of the stand-out songs on the album. The album also includes “Across The Universe,” which sets the tone for the album with the cry out to God “let Your Kingdom come.”

Chris has a vocal style similar to mainstream artist Gavin DeGraw and a bluesy-rock infused musical style, which reminds me of the softer songs by Todd Agnew and NEEDTOBREATHE. The album includes a great recording of Fanny Crosby’s “Blessed Assurance” which has an organ-based musical style and a very relatable theme “this is my story, this is my song, I’m praising my Savior, all the day long.” Another highlight for me is a cover of Matt Redman’s great song “God Of Our Yesterdays.” The 16 song collection closes with “Rescuer,” another vocally vulnerable song which again highlights his excellent singing voice. Chris is one of the rising stars in the Christian music worship scene in my opinion. I expect a GMA new artist nomination for Chris and a worship song nomination for “Your Love Never Fails.” Don’t miss out on this album if you like to discover new worship talent.

CLOSING THOUGHTS
If you like Todd Agnew’s worship-style songs and the bluesy-rock musical style of NEEDTOBREATHE, then you should enjoy Chris McClarney. My favorite song on the album is “Your Love Never Fails.” I would love to sing that song at my church as it is catchy, personal and biblical. Some other stand-out songs for me are “Defender,” “Immortal, Invisible” and “Blessed Assurance.”

Rating: 8.7 out of 10 (87%, B+)

Review written by: Kevin Davis | Review can also be found here.

This review has been reprinted on NRT with permission from ChristianMusicReview.org. Click here to visit ChristianMusicReview.org today!

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