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American Prodigal CrowderAmerican Prodigal (Deluxe Edition) – Crowder

After a successful sixteen-year run leading the David Crowder Band that ended in 2012, David Crowder, now known simply as Crowder, released Neon Steeple in 2014, one of my favorite albums of that year. He returns now with American Prodigal, and what he calls “swamp pop”. The album features recurring themes of sin and forgiveness, chains, freedom, being a prodigal and Heaven.  Below are a few thoughts about each of the songs on the Deluxe edition of the album:

American Intro – This brief minute and a half opener features Crowder with a simple piano backing. He wants Heaven to be opened and all of the angels of Heaven to sing along Come on Hallelujah!

Keep Me – This is a prayer to the Lord to keep him walking as the devil keeps calling him back. But the Lord keeps calling him home. It features a foot-stomping, hand-clapping, heavy beat, banjo, fiddle, good backing vocals and even some rapping from Crowder.  The chorus reminded me a bit of Toby Mac’s “Move (Keep Walkin’).

Run Devil Run – The first single, this is a rousing toe-tapping rocker. He sings that he has something that’s going to make the devil run. He has three (the Father, Son and Holy Spirit) and the devil has none. We have revival. A song that will really be fun in concert.

My Victory – Was included on the Passion album Salvation’s Tide is Rising. This is a great song that will be sung in churches around the world. It features more of a Passion band sound than Crowder’s usual “folktronica” sound. It starts slow and then builds to a powerful chorus and the line “A cross meant to kill is my victory”. Amen! One of my favorite songs of the year.

Prove It – This song features Christian rapper KB. It has a foot-stomping, driving beat. It’s about freedom. He sings that if you’re free, prove it. If not, loose the chains on your soul.    

All Your Burdens – This song opens with banjo and then goes into a driving rocker with excellent guitar and drums. He sings that all his burdens weigh him down, but the chains will be broken and we shall overcome and have victory.

Back to the Garden – This song is from the perspective of Adam. He sings that he was born to be royal and made for glory, but was torn from the garden when the devil lied to him.  It starts slow and builds powerfully. He longs to go back to the garden when he walked in the presence of God. The song features a blazing guitar solo.

Forgiven – A powerful worship song that begins with guitar and piano, then builds with banjo and drums. He sings that he was the one who held the nail, hid in the garden and denied Jesus with his lips. Despite this, we can receive God’s unconditional love and find freedom by falling to our knees and receive forgiveness from our sins.

Promised Land (Glory, Hallelujah) – This is a triumphant worship song featuring Crowder’s swamp sound. Who has the power (to save, heal, raise the dead, make me whole, etc.)? It’s his sweet Lord. He’s longing for the Promised Land. It features a rap from Christian rapper Tedashii, who will be touring with Crowder.

All My Hope – This song has the feel of an old-time gospel song. It opens with piano, and builds slowly with light drums and finishes with a great backing choir. He’s been held by the Savior. All his hope is in Jesus. All of his sins are forgiven. He’s been washed by the blood. The chains are removed, he’s freed and forgiven.  One of my favorites on the album.

Shouting Grounds – This song features the swamp pop sound. He should be dead but he’s alive. He’s a prodigal, who was lost but now is found. He wants to be taken to shouting grounds, where it’s going to get loud. No grave is going to hold him down. This is a triumphant, victory song.  Features some Native American chanting toward the end of the song.

Shepherd – The worship song is an adaptation of the 23rd Psalm. It features banjo, light drums and backing vocals. When his heart is prone to wandering, Jesus shepherds him.

All We Sinners – Was also included on the Passion album Salvation’s Tide is Rising. The song begins and ends with acoustic guitar. It’s a triumphant song that starts slow and then builds. The keys to the grave have been stolen and the gates of heaven are open.

American Outro – Begins with him singing Come on Hallelujah from “American Intro”. He’s out of the ruins and back in communion with God. Starts with piano and builds. Includes some distorted vocals.

Praise the Lord – This song, written by Sean McConnell, features an acoustic guitar and builds gently. He sings that as he gets to know the Lord more, he realizes that He’s not who he thought He was. Praise the Lord!

Great Rejoicing – This celebratory worship song infectiously repeats the lines “There’s gonna be, a great rejoicing”, and “There’s gonna be a great joy river”, as the troubles and tears of this world fade away.  It features some excellent lead and backing vocals. It’s a wonderful song about that grand reunion.

American I/O – On this closer he repeats from American Intro and Outro the line Come on Hallelujah. He is out of the ruins and back to communion with God.


music news

  • keith-and-kristyn-getty-childrens-projectGetty Kids Hymnal: In Christ Alone. Watch Keith and Kristyn Getty introduce a new project called Getty Kids Hymnal: In Christ Alone, to be released September 23.  
  • Lecrae’s Powerful Words on BET Hip-Hop Awards Show. Watch Lecrae’s powerful spoken word performance at the BET Hip-Hop Awards show on October 4.
  • Back to the Garden. Watch Crowder perform “Back to the Garden” from his new album American Prodigal on Fox and Friends.
  • My Victory (Acoustic). And speaking of Crowder, watch this video of him performing an acoustic version of “My Victory”, one of my favorite songs of the year.
  • Hear My Heart Video. Check out Andy Video’s video for “Hear My Heart”, a tribute to his sister Grace released during International Week of the Deaf.
  • I’m Good Video. Watch Tedashii’s video for his song “I’m Good” from his This Time Around
  • Keith and Kristyn Getty in Concert. Last Friday, we had the joy of seeing Keith and Kristyn Getty and their talented band in concert as a part of their “Facing a Task Unfinished” Tour. Not hardly a week goes by without our church singing one of their hymns.gettys-at-grace-church
  • Too Late Video. Watch Van Morrison perform “Too Late”, the first single off of his new album Keep Me Singing.
  • On My Own. Lecrae has a song with Leon Bridges on the album of songs inspired by the new film The Birth of a Nation, which comes in both an explicit and clean version. Listen to a 30-secnd sample of the song.
  • God of Calvary – New Song Cafe. Watch Chris Tomlin perform this new song, with Matt Maher on keyboards, from his Never Lose Sight Then hear the story behind the song and learn how to play it.
  • Too Late. Watch the great Van Morrison perform “Too Late” from his chart-topping album Keep Me Singing on The Tonight Show.
  • How ‘Colorblind’ Christianity Broke Propaganda’s Heart. In this episode of The Calling podcast, hip-hop artist Propaganda states “It’s easy to get angry. And I have to know that that’s what I bring to the Cross; I have to bring that anger to the Cross”.
  • DC Talk Reunites Onstage for Surprise Performance. For the first time in more than a decade, TobyMac, Michael Tait and Kevin Max reunited as
    DC Talk, performing the song “Love Feels Like” at the Gospel Music Association’s 47th annual Dove Awards.
  • Bob Dylan Awarded Nobel Prize in Literature. The New York Times reports “The singer and songwriter Bob Dylan, one of the world’s most influential musicians, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature on Thursday for “having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition,” in the words of the Swedish Academy.”  Read this brief excerpt about Dylan from Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography Born to Run.



Favorite Quotes of the Week

  • There will always be more good ideas than there is capacity to execute. It’s okay to say no. Lecrae
  • Sin doesn’t make friends, it takes captives. So don’t flirt with it. Flee it. Trip Lee
  • Justice is not limited to a political agenda. It’s a Kingdom agenda. Lecrae
  • Life is better when you start forgiving the people who never apologized. Lecrae

Song of the Week The Lord is Our Salvation by Keith and Kristyn Getty

This week’s song of the week is “The Lord is Our Salvation”, a wonderful song from Keith and Kristyn Getty’s excellent album Facing a Task Unfinished.  Listen to the song here.

The grace of God has reached for me
And pulled me from the raging sea
And I am safe on this solid ground
The Lord is my salvation

I will not fear when darkness falls
His strength will help me scale these walls
I’ll see the dawn of the rising sun
The Lord is my salvation

Who is like the Lord our God?
Strong to save, faithful in love
My debt is paid and the vict’ry wonNew Getty's Album Cover
The Lord is my salvation

My hope is hidden in the Lord
He flow’rs each promise of His Word
When winter fades I know spring will come
The Lord is my salvation

In times of waiting, times of need
When I know loss, when I am weak
I know His grace will renew these days
The Lord is my salvation


And when I reach my final day
He will not leave me in the grave
But I will rise,
He will call me home
The Lord is my salvation


Glory be to God the Father
Glory be to God the Son
Glory be to God the Spirit
The Lord is our salvation


Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence – married to my best friend Tammy, a graduate of Covenant Seminary, St. Louis Cardinals fan, formerly a manager at a Fortune 50 organization, and in leadership at my local church. I am a life-long learner and have a passion to help people develop, and to use their strengths to their fullest potential. I am an INTJ on Myers-Briggs, 3 on the Enneagram, my top five Strengthsfinder themes are: Belief, Responsibility, Learner, Harmony, and Achiever, and my two StandOut strength roles are Creator and Equalizer. My favorite book is the Bible, with Romans my favorite book of the Bible, and Colossians 3:23 and 2 Corinthians 5:21 being my favorite verses. Some of my other favorite books are The Holiness of God and Chosen by God by R.C. Sproul, and Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper. I enjoy music in a variety of genres, including modern hymns, Christian hip-hop and classic rock. My book Called to Lead: Living and Leading for Jesus in the Workplace and Tammy’s book Study, Savor and Share Scripture: Becoming What We Behold are available in paperback and Kindle editions on Amazon.

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