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Never Sounded Better!
Posted May 11, 2013
By KevinDavis_NRT, Staff Reviewer


Life looks a lot different for Shane & Shane from their days at Texas A&M University. In 15 years, the evergreen college favorites have toured with everyone from Mat Kearney to David Crowder*Band, garnered three Dove Awards and sold more than 500,000 records. The two men are not only husbands and fathers now, but they're also on staff at a local church in Dallas where they lead worship each month and teach a class at the church's ministry leadership school, allowing them to put down roots and be involved in true biblical community for the first time.

It's through the lens of fatherhood and community that Shane & Shane's new record, Bring Your Nothing (Fair Trade Services), was born. The songs from Shane Barnard's songwriting class comprise the DNA of this album. Every single song is filled with Truth.
 
The bluesy title track, "Bring Your Nothing," is based on Isaiah 55. Lyrically, the song speaks to what we have to bring to Christ--absolutely nothing. "What sets us apart as believers, what sets our message apart, is that you don't bring your ‘fill-in-the-blank' to make God happy," Barnard says. "You bring what you have, and what you have is nothing. That's all He requires of us."

"The One You'll Find,"  "I Came Alive" and "You Loved My Heart to Death" each include refrains of thankfulness for undeserved grace as described in Romans 5:8: "But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
 
"That's How You Forgive" defines grace in a powerful way. Shane Everett explains about the song: "it really resonates with people's hearts, especially if they know the Lord. And if they don't, it walks them through how the Lord forgives. He came, and He died for us, and He rose to life; and we get raised with Him." Many of us feel that we're not worthy of being near God and that He's using a checklist to determine our worthiness. That's not the Gospel. The Good News of the Gospel which this song perfectly portrays it is that God accepts us no matter what we've done. As the song says, "You lived the life I could never live, You died the death that I deserve, You rose to life and now You live, That's how You forgive." What a wonderful, encouraging truth.
 
"Eyes On You," "In a Little While" and "Crucify Him" anchor down the album with powerful depictions of God's Word. I loving singing along loudly, "I see a city, a New Jerusalem, coming down from Heaven, every tear that's fallen, will be picked up again, and we will live as one" in the standout eternity-minded song, "In a Little While."

"Crucify Him"
is a challenging song for the Church: "It's packaged differently than Pharisees / wrapped in sing-alongs and Christianese / singing Hallelujah to the King / when my heart is loving idols…I sing Hosanna once again / then I say crucify Him."

"Without Jesus" comes right from 1 Corinthians 13, reminding listeners that even the best things we find in this life mean nothing if Christ is not in them. The song includes more challenging lyrics, "just five bucks in the offering, won't buy you some prosperity…without Jesus."
 
"Faith To Believe" was co-written with Phil Wickham after noticing the beauty of the clouds on a plane ride, and is ultimately about how our perspective shapes our circumstances. "Though You Slay Me" indeed slays me with the personal and confessional lyrics: "Though You slay me, yet I will praise You, though you take from me, I will bless Your name, though you ruin me, I will worship, sing the song to the One who is all I need."

Sometimes God puts us through trials and humbles us to show us how much we need Him, like Job. We have a church culture where we sing songs that all basically say "we love You God," even though we feel like saying "woe is me."  Then we go back to our real and messy lives. This great song reflects the biblical Truth expressed in Job 1:21: "The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD." God wants us to give all of ourselves and rely completely on Him. The song proclaims: "You're enough for me." That's a great reminder and challenge.
 
Closing Thoughts:
Musically this album is very soothing and the songs are all edifying, challenging and filled with very biblical lyrics. Harmonizing together on every song, Shane & Shane's personal and vulnerable vocals have never sounded better. Each successive album has improved on the last for Shane & Shane in my opinion from Carry Away to Bring Your Nothing, which is now their best overall album in my opinion.

For me, the standout songs are "The One You'll Find," "I Came Alive" "That's How You Forgive," "Eyes On You," "In a Little While," "Though You Slay Me" and the challenging songs "Crucify Him" and "Without Jesus." If you've liked past hit songs "Be Near," "Yearn," "Before The Throne" and "The One You Need," you'll love this album. After repeated listens, the songs get deeper into the recesses of your heart with the challenging messages. Whether as an album to set the mood for reflection and worship or for personal times of devotion, I rate Bring Your Nothing by Shane & Shane highly. This is one of the most worshipful, challenging and introspective albums I've heard this year.
 
Song to Download Now:
"That's How You Forgive" (Get it on iTunes here.)

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