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Promising Worship Roots
Posted January 29, 2016
By MikaylaShriver_NRT, Staff Reviewer

For Kentucky native John Tibbs, the simple sound of southern heartland rock roots seems to be the most natural way to preach the gospel. It works for him, too-- the 25-year-old's three independent extended plays, released between 2010 and 2013, were incredibly well-received, landing him a tour with Audrey Assad, as well as opening slots for Tenth Avenue North and Gungor on different occasions. It was the natural next step that he'd sign with Fair Trade Services in 2015 to release his first studio album, Dead Man Walking, on February 5th.

The first half of Dead Man Walking is about as stripped-down musically as it gets for Christian music these days without going full on acoustic, which suits the album incredibly well and remains true to John's musical style. The album is introduced with four quick, optimistic tracks: "Silver In Stone," "Abraham," "Burn" and "Anchor," maintaining a strong heartland sound combined with biblically-inspired praise. The title track "Dead Man Walking" (which features Ellie Holcomb) feels like a modernized take on swinging southern-gospel music, making it incredibly unique to the album.

The second half of the album takes on a life of its own. While it attempts to stays in line with the style of the first five songs, the last five tracks are reminiscent of a standard worship night (a little more pop, some quick and some slow) with a southern twist. John makes this his own with powerful and well-written lyrics in songs such as "Everything I Need:" "I will tell the mountain to be cast into the sea / I will see You in the ocean's roar and know Your perfect peace / As I cry out from the desert, living waters rise in me / No, I will not fear / You are everything I need."

The Bottom Line:
With profound lyrics and a unique musical style, John Tibbs' first studio album is worth a listen-- and a second listen-- and many more. This is a promising debut, and it will definitely not be the last we hear from him!

Song To Download Now:
"Anchor" (Get it on iTunes here.)

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