A Delightful, Soulful Surprise
Posted August 15, 2011
By KellyS, Staff Reviewer
Since a young age, William Matthews has had a passion for leading people into God’s presence through song. Over the past couple of years, he has seen this passion come to fruition by becoming a worship leader at Bethel Church in Redding, Calif. In addition, Matthews just released his first album, Hope’s Anthem, and as a result, he says, “Not only do we get to minister locally to our church here in Redding, but we get to impact nations with the good news of the kingdom.”
The first song on the album, “I’m Free,” starts things off with high energy and immediately grabs the listener’s attention. The song has a real bluegrass flavor by including banjos and piano, as well as foot-stomping and hand-clapping to keep the beat. The Southern feel combined with pop vocals is unexpected, but works well together. This is probably one of my favorite tracks on the album.
Both “I Just Want You More” and “This One Thing” calm things down a bit and serve to lead the Church in calling for God’s presence. The lyrics are extremely worshipful and easily promote quiet reflection on the need for God in our lives. In “This One Thing,” Matthews sings, “All I want is just your heart, yes I am living just to see your glory.” Whether used for the church during a worship service or in your own personal quiet time, these lyrics come from the heart.
“We Believe” could easily be an anthem for the church. By declaring “We believe” in what God has promised in His word, the Church can stand on the truth together as one body. This song, like all others on this album, are easy to understand and sing along to, making them accessible to churches and their congregations. I could definitely see churches, from a variety of backgrounds, taking a hold of these songs and making them their own.
Matthews praises God for his personal faithfulness in “So Good To Me,” and brings the energy back with a gospel and soulful sound. This song gets ya movin’ and anyone with a head to bob can’t help but sing along.
“He put a new song in my mouth and a crown upon my head, He gave me life forevermore,” proclaims Matthews. The lyrics in this song and “The Lord Is My Shepherd,” which quotes Psalm 23, are straight from scripture and contain truth of why God should be praised. With electric guitar, keyboard, and background vocals, Matthews could easily be featured on Mary Mary’s next album. Now that would get ya movin’!
“My Great Reward” and “Deep Cries Out“ really exhibit Matthew’s genuine passion for God and desire to lead the Church in praise. Listeners can sense Matthew’s heart for God while he sings, “Jesus you are my great reward, you are the prize worth living for.” His call for a deeper relationship with God is evident and infectious.
The album’s title track, “Hope’s Anthem,” aids in not only recalling God’s promises to us, but declaring our promises to Him. “I am steadfast, I will not be moved, I’m anchored, never shaken, all my hope is in you.” This song and the final track, “Bridge Over Troubled Waters,” leave the listener with hope, knowing God will do what He says and we can live with confidence and joy knowing this truth.
“Hope’s Anthem” is a fitting title for this album, since each song is filled with hope and speaks God’s truth over His people, while praising Him for what He’s done and will do. Every lyric reminds us of God’s promises and helps us declare our praise for Him through song. While this album doesn’t necessarily bring anything new to the table lyrically, it’s clear Matthews has a heart for the Church and speaking truth into their lives. The sound on this album is more unique and soulful than your average worship CD, which is a definite plus.
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