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MUSIC REVIEW ~ Keep Me Singing by Van Morrison
MUSIC NEWS   ~ Links to Interesting Articles
SONG OF THE WEEK ~ His Name Shall Be by Matt Redman

Keep Me Singing - Van MorrisonMusic Review:
Keep Me Singing – Van Morrison

This is the 71-year old Morrison’s 36th studio album and his first for Caroline Records. He produces the album, his first of new material since 2012’s Born to Sing: No Plan B, which I really enjoyed. The album includes 12 new original songs, as well as a cover of the blues song “Share Your Love with Me”. Many of the songs show him in a reflective mood, looking back at his life. The musicianship is excellent and Van’s one of a kind voice sounds great here.  I really enjoyed this album and you can tell that Van loves making music. Below are a few comments on each of the songs on the album, one of my favorites of the year:

Let it Rhyme – The opening song has an easygoing tempo. It features some light horns, drums, piano, organ, backing vocals and excellent harmonica.  He sings that in time, you’ll be mine.

Every Time I See a River – This song has Morrison collaborating with lyricist Don Black. Every time he sees a river, hears a train or a sad song, it reminds him of a past love and he feels like he is back in love again. There are good horns and nice guitar and organ solos here. Van delivers a great vocal.

Keep Me Singing – This song is about his joy in singing. He references a few Sam Cooke songs. He wants to be singing when the day is done. He’s doing just what he knows what to do. The song features a nice harmonica solo.

Out in the Cold Again – This song features piano, strings, light percussion, and a nice guitar solo. He was “Mr. Nice Guy” for too long, playing the losing role. Now he’s standing all alone, out in a cold black night in this “dog eat dog world”. The focus is on Van’s expressive vocal.

Memory Lane – This song features strings, light guitar and percussion as Van is looking back at his past. He’s stuck here back again on memory lane, where it’s getting dark. He’s back with questions and answers standing in the pouring rain.

The Pen is Mightier Than the Sword – This blues songs is driven by guitar (including a nice solo), organ, light drums, some good backing vocals and Van’s strong lead vocal. Van’s vocal reminded me somewhat of Dylan from his Slow Training Coming album. He can’t tell you what you’re supposed to do, but he’s gotta live by his pen because it’s mightier than the sword.

Holy Guardian Angel – This song features strings, light drums, good backing vocals, and nice piano and guitar solos. He was born in the midnight hour.  He quotes the spiritual “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen” – nobody knows the trouble he’s seen. Nobody knows his sorrow, nobody but him. He prays to his holy guardian angel in the witching hour (midnight to 2:00 am), long before the break of day. Van gives a strong vocal in this song that has a gospel sound.

Share Your Love with Me – This is a cover, and a tribute to Bobby Bland, who did the original recording of the song. The song was made popular by Aretha Franklin in 1970. It features a nice organ solo, light horns and drums. It features a great vocal from Van as he stretches his voice here more than on most of the songs on the album. It’s a shame if you don’t wanna share your love with me.

In Tiburon – The fog is lifting and he’s in Tiburon, a town across the bay, just north of San Francisco. Over piano, he sings about memories of places and people he likes there, including a place that Chet Baker used to play his horn. He wants to go back to Frisco. They need each other more than ever to lean on.  Features a nice sax solo.

Look Behind the Hill – This song has a great beat, opening with piano and horns, featuring an upbeat and optimistic vocal from Van. When your troubles are a burden let your mind be still. The sky is clearer just above the ridge. When facing troubles you need to look beyond the hill.

Going Down to Bangor – A blues song that opens with a harmonica solo over guitar and drums. A strong blues vocal by Van, sounding years younger than he is.  There is a guitar solo in the middle, and it ends with another harmonic solo. A highlight.

Too Late – The first single, this upbeat and instantly likeable song features excellent organ, horns, a sax solo by Van, drums, backing vocals behind a strong lead vocal from Van, which turns gruff on the final chorus. As he lets go of old hurts, he sings that it’s too late for a sorrow, and tomorrow just can’t wait.

Caledonia Swing – This upbeat instrumental features Morrison on sax and some great horns, piano and organ over a good drum beat. Caledonia was the name that the Romans gave to the area now known as Scotland/Northern England. Van formed the Caledonia Soul Orchestra in 1973. It would be fun to see Van and his band play this song in a live setting.

music newslippencott-recording-new-hymns-album

  • New R.C. Sproul/Jeff Lippencott Hymns Project. In 2015, R.C. Sproul and Jeff Lippencott collaborated on Glory to the Holy One, a sacred hymns project. They are recording a new project of hymns for the Reformation at St. Andrews Chapel (see above).
  • Look at Me Now. Watch Derek Minor’s video of his song “Look at Me Now” from his new album Reflection.
  • Come Thou Fount (I Will Sing)/Chris Tomlin/New Song Café. Watch an acoustic performance of Chris Tomlin’s new song “Come Thou Fount (I Will Sing) from his Never Lose Sight Then hear the story behind the song, and learn how to play the song from Chris Tomlin and Andy Gullahorn.
  • Christian Radio Station Expands Playlist To Nine Different Songs. The Babylon Bee reports “Local Christian radio station 101.7 WSLT “Salt & Light Radio” announced Friday a new programming direction wherein its radio hosts would be instructed to select from a list of nine different songs, up from the usual eight—which was already double the industry standard.”
  • A Conversation with Andrew Peterson. Listen to this episode of the Signposts podcast as Russell Moore talks to Andrew Peterson about to talk about creativity, marriage, the gospel, and more.
  • trip-leeThe Waiting Room. Trip Lee’s December 9 release will be called The Waiting Room. “Throughout the 10 songs that make up The Waiting Room, Trip wrestles with joy and pain, life and death, and the realities of our current social and political climate. Since Rise, violence, injustice, and heightened levels of civil unrest have captivated our national consciousness. The example of the church, Trip argues, is needed now more than ever before. “We have to step up and meet people where they are. That’s how you create change.”
  • Hymnals Updated With ‘I Surrender Some’ Lyric. The Babylon Bee reports “Hymnal publishers from around the nation confirmed Monday the release of new, updated hymnals containing a new version of “I Surrender All” among other refreshes and enhancements.”
  • Springsteen Honored. Bruce Springsteen is among those who have been named as recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.
  • He Lives. Chris Tomlin talks about the story behind his song “He Lives” from his excellent new album Never Lose Sight.
  • Help From Heaven. Watch this video of an acoustic version of “Help from Heaven” by Matt Redman featuring Natasha Bedingfield. The original version of the song can be found on Redman’s excellent new These Christmas Lights

Music Quotes:

  • Worship is about seeing. We sing in response to what we see. Matt Redman
  • The cross is the reason there is a church—it’s the reason that there’s anything. Chris Tomlin


Song of the Week – His Name Shall Be by Matt Redman

This week’s song of the week is “His Name Shall Be” from Matt Redman’s wonderful new Christmas album These Christmas Lights. Listen to the song here.  Watch Redman briefly tell the story behind the song here.

Oh, can you hear the angels’ song that rang so sweet and clear
When heaven’s light and music fell, and mercy found us here
Glory in the highest, and on the earth be peace
Glory to God, the angels sing

He came to tell the Father’s love, His goodness and His grace
To show the brightness of His smile, the glory of His face
So, glory in the highest, and on the earth be peace
Glory to God, Your children sing

His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor
Mighty God, Everlasting Father
Prince of Peace for all eternity, oh oh
His name shall be
He came to lift the weary ones, give peace and perfect rest
To take away our burdens and to give a glorious gift
So, glory in the highest, and on the earth be peace
Glory to God, the world will sing

His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselorthese-christmas-lights
Mighty God, Everlasting Father
Prince of Peace for all eternity, oh oh
His name shall be Wonderful, Counselor
Mighty God, Everlasting Father
Prince of Peace for all eternity, oh oh
His name shall be

One name above all others
One name that came to save us
Oh sing, His name is, His name is Jesus
One name above all others
One name that came to save us
Oh sing, His name is, His name is Jesus

His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor
Mighty God, Everlasting Father
Prince of Peace for all eternity, oh oh
His name shall be, oh oh
His name shall be
His name shall be

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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