Josh White [Achor]
Posted December 15, 2010
By KevinDavis_NRT, Staff Reviewer
In the spring of 2009, Josh White decided to take a huge step of faith. Previously the lead singer of the band Telecast, White quickly became a church planter and worship leader in Portland, Oregon. His church is located in the Hawthorne District of Southeast Portland, a bohemian part of town, known more for its hippies and hipsters than churches. “I met my wife Darcy in this neighborhood 14 years ago,” recounts White. “We know the culture and the people. Which in turn fuels the heart and vision of the church: to preach the gospel to the some of the most un-churched people in the country.” His church Door of Hope offers the inspiration for White’s solo debut Achor, a folk/bluegrass project with BEC Recordings. The meaning behind both the church name and the album title come from Hosea 2:15. The valley of Achor is the valley of trouble; so named after Achan’s sin was discovered and judged in the days of Joshua. The prophet Hosea proclaimed that the God’s restoration would transform the valley of trouble into a door of hope. It is this restoration that White and Door of Hope aim to see in their neighborhood.
From my first listen, I was totally hooked by this album. The opening track “He Who Feeds The Ravens” has a folk music feel like Bob Dylan and is such a fresh worship song, I can’t get enough of Josh’s emotional vocals and the deep and Biblical lyrics “He who feeds the ravens will give His children bread.” The next song “Holy Ghost Revival” has a blues rock musical style and I could imagine singing it at a Southern Gospel revival gathering. The musical diversity is just one of the many attractions to savor about this phenomenal worship album. “I Love My God” switches to more of an acoustic folk ballad style and I feel like I’m eavesdropping on Josh’s prayer time. The stand-out song “You Amaze Me” is next and I can’t get enough of this song. The musical style switches to more of what I’ve come to expect from Josh with strings, guitar picking and Josh’s tender vocals rising to an emotional crescendo that gives me goose bumps every time I hear this incredible song of worship. The chorus is completely worshipful, “I’ve been swallowed up by You, there is nothing I can do, You amaze me.”
There are several acoustic guitar and piano-based ballads including “To Burn In You,” “Our God Is Present,” “This Better Part” and “He Is Able” which are all prayerful and gorgeous songs. “Let Me See Your Hands” includes a great banjo intro and will have you singing and clapping along with this blues-inflected gospel song. My other favorite song is next, “The Wall,” which I would love to sing with fellow believers. It is a totally vertical worship song sung directly to Jesus, “the wall has been torn down by Your blood and as our lives collide with Your love, we pray tear down those walls that keep us from You.” “Awake” is a worshipful chorus sung by a church choir and “Be Still” closes out this excellent album with another personal prayer directly to God.
Don’t miss out on this incredible album. More than just a collection of great songs, Achor is a deep meaningful worship experience unlike any other I’ve heard this year. This is one of my top 10 “gourmet” albums of the year. I truly enjoyed the Brit-Rock and worshipful songs on Josh’s three Telecast albums. Josh White is at the top of his singer-songwriter profession with this gem of an album. If you feel like most of what you hear on the radio sounds the same and want to experience a fresh, deep, introspective and completely worshipful album, then look no further than Achor. My favorite songs are “He Who Feeds The Ravens,” “I Love My God,” “The Wall,” “Be Still” and the stand-out song “You Amaze Me,” which has quickly become one of my all-time favorite worship songs. If you like The Glorious Unseen, John Mark McMillan and Robbie Seay Band, you need to check out Josh White.
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