The Story of the Cross
Posted April 11, 2013
By KevinDavis_NRT, Staff Reviewer
Citizen Way was formed in 2004, when two sets of siblings, Josh and Ben Calhoun and David and Ben Blascoe, crossed paths while in college. Their camaraderie made for a foundation that went beyond their biological connection and combined their vision for ministry with their passion for music. The result is Love is the Evidence, an infectious pop-rock project with sensibility. It is the byproduct of years spent honing their skills; playing at camps, retreats and youth group events; investing in the fans; and building a faithful following. The music has a driving momentum. In the end, the guys of Citizen Way really just want to have a conversation with people, sharing stories that reflect Scripture, reveal the heart of God and speak to honest, human struggle.
The opening songs are all among the best songs I've heard on any album in the past few years. From the beginning notes of “Nothing Ever,” I was hooked by the lyrical and musical intensity of the album. The opener kicks off the musical journey immediately relating to believers who have put all of their hope and trust in Jesus Christ, "Not even death could pull me from Your arms, nothing ever could separate us now…when I can’t see You, I know You are near…even in death we won’t be torn apart." The great Brit-rock style guitar riffs are found throughout this substantive album. “Evidence” has excellent Kingdom-focused lyrics: “It’s not a sign in my yard, not a cause that I’ve joined…it’s the change in my heart, mercy and grace and compassion, they’re only words without action." That leads to the convicting lyrics we can all proclaim as believers in the sincere chorus, "I need hands that are open reaching out to broken hearts, cause that’s the only way this world could ever know who You are / Love is the evidence." Amen! “All Things” is another catchy and confessional song highlighted by Ben Calhoun’s passionate vocal delivery as he prays, “How much more does our Father provide for the ones He loves...in all things give thanks to the One who meets our need before we even know we need it." All of these songs are poignant and powerful with earnest worshipful lyrics.
Hit song “Should’ve Been Me” boldly declares a statement of faith: “All of these years never heard it like this / It should’ve been me, it should’ve been us, should’ve been there hanging on a Cross, all of these shames, all of these scars, should’ve been stains that were never washed, why do I hide, why do you try, over and over and over again, I guess it just leaves me sayin’ thank God, leaves me sayin’ thank God for the should’ve been.” Amen! This worship anthem is just the type of infusion that the church needs with its honesty and bold lyrics. The song has quickly become a prayerful anthem in my daily devotional time. The opening tracks set the tone brilliantly for this exceptional debut album, one of the best of the year.
“Lights On” is an unashamed declaration of faith to God. Calhoun belts out the sincere chorus, “With You, You turn the lights on the lights on / and You open my eyes, and You shine on, You shine on, I come alive.” What a great reminder that everything we have is a gift from God, the Light of the world. That Truth is manifested in the catchy bridge: “Out of the grave, out of the dark, out of these chains, into Your arms, I am awake, I am alive, forever safe.” I love the next song, “How Sweet The Sound,” paraphrasing several Scriptures and the lyrics of the world’s most famous hymn, “Amazing Grace.” “Even though I walk through the valley I know that You are always right beside me…Amazing Grace how sweet the sound, I hear You singing over me, I once was lost but now I’m found, and it’s beautiful…and it’s a beautiful sound” is the bold testimonial of this great anthem for Christians everywhere expressing gratitude for God’s Amazing Grace.
“Fall Like Rain” is another standout songs filled with the comforting lyrics, “Why is healing so painful, It feels like I’m losing this war…there’s a peace that’s perfect, a hope that is real, there’s a plan and a purpose, no matter how you feel…when you fall like the rain, you’re going to rise like the sun.” It is a great reminder of God’s purpose and great plans for His followers from Jeremiah 29:11. I am very moved and challenged by these great songs, especially “Love is a Mess” which proclaims “I used to think that Love should never have to bleed, I used to think that life was all about the dream…love is a mess, the story of the Cross.” Amen. I find myself raising my hands in worship, and then I'm compelled to reach out horizontally to help show others the love of Jesus. Epic closing track “Sing, Sing, Sing” is a soaring, melodic anthem that sings about the hope of heaven imprinted on our hearts before the foundation of the world. This is a signature tune by this incredibly talented band wrapped around gorgeous and moving Brit-Rock guitar riffs and Coldplay-esque harmonies.
Love is the Evidence contains catchy and worshipful songs with lyrics that point to the wonders of our God combined with sweeping melodies and infectious choruses that will be replayed in your mind over and over again. Experience the majestic nature of God in the music of Citizen Way. As the song “Love is a Mess” declares, this album is “The Story of the Cross…the beauty of the Cross.” What’s most impressive is how these catchy songs will have you singing along at the top of your lungs after just a couple of listens. This is the best new band I’ve heard since Tenth Avenue North. Citizen Way has a great opportunity to reach the lost for the Kingdom of God with their transparent lyrics and incredible musical talent. Love is the Evidence is a great collection of confessional and authentic expressions of faith. All of the songs are catchy, exciting and worshipful. After listening to the album, I am stirred with compassion to love people as Jesus loves us. That's the heart behind this album, and thank you Citizen Way for blessing us with your music and for singing the Truth of the Gospel for the Kingdom of God.
Song to download now: “Should’ve Been Me” - https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/shouldve-been-me-single/id536606167
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