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Jimmy Needham's "Not Without Love": A Review
Posted September 10, 2008
By ChristianManifesto,

by Karen Gilmore

When I was first recommended checking out Needham’s MySpace page it was late at night and I was a little tired. His music didn’t quite catch with me except one of his older songs “Lost at Sea.” A John Mayer reference was mentioned so he had a pretty impressive comparison to live up to. But Needham is no John Mayer, and that’s a good thing.

Needham offers his own brand of soulful vocals with a light dose of a contemporary blues slant. “Hurricane” paints us a picture of someone wanting to break down their emotional walls to let let love in. While “Forgiven and Loved” is a heartfelt song that talks about the basic need to be loved and accepted. But the real treat is that Jimmy creates not one, but two bona fide romantic songs. “Firefly” is the best of the two and has swoon-worthy lyrics like: “your love is like an ocean / surf and spray and motion / Baby I’m a diver and I love to swim in.” I can’t remember the last time I heard a Christian song that could be played at a wedding so that is refreshing in itself. Hopefully Needham will spark a trend that reassures Christian music artists that it’s okay to sing songs outside the agape type of love. Yet for some reason I have a hard time seeing Christian radio encouraging that trend. But maybe Without Love just might do the trick.

Another highlight is the title track that nicely caps off this well packaged album and showcases Needham’s poetry skills. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s had experience performing in coffeehouse poetry slam contests.

The only thing I would have liked to hear on this album a couple of songs that stood out more or varied a little off the similar tone he has. Perhaps a little bit of the Spanish guitar or something that would make us take notice of a slight shift change. That and a nicely placed collaboration with a soulful female vocalist like Stacie Orrico would have easily merited this album to get a 5 star rating. But even as I enjoy his latest batch of songs I’m already eagerly awaiting his next release because it might yield such results.

Fans of Gavin DeGraw and Jason Mraz will definitely enjoy Needham’s style. This is the kind of album that the Christian music industry should be producing. “Not Without Love” is simply good music. I almost hesitate to label it Christian, not because it lacks it spiritual substance but because it offers a universal beauty that can easily connect with anyone who enjoys songs about love, life and the search for God amidst it all. And the real tragedy would be if this album only got relegated to Christian bookstores because it has the musical integrity to stand on its own in the mainstream market. Inpop Records has truly found an emerging talent that has great potential.

This review has been reprinted on NRT with permission from The Christian Manifesto. Click here to visit today!

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