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Redemptive and Moving
Posted April 11, 2018
By KevinDavis_NRT, Staff Reviewer

What You Need to Know:
GMA Dove Award-Winning singer-songwriter Christa Wells is best known for writing the song "Held," which was recorded by Natalie Grant, along with co-writing "Need You Now" and "God Help Me," which were recorded by Plumb. Christa released two of my favorite indie-pop "gourmet" projects of the past decade, How Emptiness Sings (2011) and Feed Your Soul (2013), which both ranked in my top 5 albums of the year. After a covers album in 2015, she returns with a seven song album titled Velveteen.

What it Sounds Like:
Opening track "Down Down Low" is an engaging song, with Christa's passionate vocals setting the tone for this exceptional album. The song is an unashamed declaration observing that "everybody wants to talk, nobody wants to listen." Christa hooked me with the lyrics in the bridge, "hear the whisper of humility, love will write a sweeter melody," which is essentially the thesis statement of this redemptive, personal and moving album. Christa's engaging music and thought-provoking lyrics are something to truly savor, and her soothing vocals will remind you of Brooke Fraser ("What a Beautiful Name"), Sara Groves ("It's Me"), JJ Heller ("What Love Really Means") and Lady Gaga ("Million Reasons"), both in vocal tone and subject matter.

Spiritual Highlights:
"Come After Me" features prayerful lyrics proclaiming "I need to know Your love will come after me." "One Day" has Christa confessing, "and you only keep moving by the grace of God... you'll do it one day, one breath, one prayer, one thing at a time." "Holy Ground" sings the Psalm 103 inspired lyrics, "all that is within us, all that is without, all of life is holy ground... holy, holy, holy." "Velveteen" captures the essence of being a Proverbs 31 woman: "If my beauty starts to fade, I've been held in a thousand ways... if perfect turns to perfect mess, I'm as real as real can be, call me velveteen."

Best Song on the Record:
This album is filled with several of my new favorite songs by Christa Wells, which is saying a lot since I've had her prior albums in heavy rotation since they released. I generally rank my favorite songs based on how they move me emotionally. On this album, that includes the standout songs "Down Down Low," "Hold This House Up," "One Day" and "Velveteen." I actually can't listen to "Hold This House Up" or "One Day" without welling up, and you'll get emotionally swept up in the opening lyrics in "One Day:" "it's hard to sing when you're crying... it's hard to sleep when you're fighting for your life." For me, "One Day" is the standout song on this exceptional project.

For Fans Of:
Ellie Holcomb, Sara Groves, Brooke Fraser, Audrey Assad, JJ Heller

Final Word: 
Christa Wells is an anointed singer-songwriter, and she has a profound way of examining the deeper feelings buried in my heart and bringing me closer to God with her poignant words and tender singing. If you are looking for the words to express your feelings to God in times of hurting and pain, these songs are a wonderful companion. These are the most transparent, vulnerable and authentic songs I've heard in quite a while. If you like the folk-style "gourmet" singer-songwriters Ellie Holcomb, JJ Heller, Sara Groves and Audrey Assad, you need to check out Velveteen, my top album of the year.

Listen on Spotify and iTunes.


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