Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS

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Best of Fernando Ortega: Live in St. Paul
****

I was introduced to Fernando Ortega years ago when he opened for Michael Card. He has since become one of my favorite artists. This concert recording was originally available only as a DVD, but is now fortunately also available as an audio recording.  Including 19 songs, this concert was recorded in 2004 at Northwestern College’s Maranatha Hall as Fernando was on tour supporting his 2004 album Fernando Ortega.  He plays 7 of that album’s 12 songs here, including the touching and humorous “Mildred Madalyn Johnson”. The recording features Ortega and band, including an accordion, but the focus is on Ortega’s gentle vocals over his piano.
If you’ve seen Ortega in concert you know that one of the best things is often times humorous introductions to his songs, which are not included here, the focus being solely on the music. In addition to the songs from Fernando Ortega, he includes many of his most-loved songs, such as “Creation Song”, “Lord of Eternity”, “Children of the Living God”, “This Good Day”, “Sing to Jesus” and “Our Great God”. This is Ortega’s only live album and it’s a gem.

Flowers in the Dirt (Special Edition) – Paul McCartney
****
This 2-CD “Special Edition” (the release comes in a number of different configurations), of McCartney’s excellent 1989 album Flowers in the Dirt features a remastered version of the original 13-song album (plus Où Est Le Soleil?, which wasn’t on the original album), on one disc, and nine previously unreleased demos McCartney recorded with Elvis Costello on the second disc. The demos are what really got my attention on this release, the 10th installment of McCartney’s Archive Collection, all of which have been personally supervised by McCartney. This album has special significance for me as well. It was the album McCartney toured on for his 1989-90 World Tour, on which I saw three of the shows, the first of now twelve concerts I’ve seen of the former Beatle.
Listeners will be pleased with the remastered version of the original album. It features such strong songs as “My Brave Face” (his last Billboard solo Top 40 hit), “This One”, “Put it There” and the 89-90 World Tour opener “Figure of Eight”. The original demos with Costello are:

  • The Lovers That Never Were – song was not included on the original album
  • Tommy’s Coming Home – song was not included on the original album
  • Twenty Fine Fingers – song was not included on the original album
  • So Like Candy – song was not included on the original album
  • You Want Her Too – song was included on the original album
  • That Day Is Done – song was included on the original album
  • Don’t Be Careless Love – song was included on the original album
  • My Brave Face – song was included on the original album
  • Playboy To A Man – song was not included on the original album

The demos are just what you would think a demo would be – sparse, raw, stripped down, and in my opinion, worth the price of this excellent reissue. All in all this is a reissue that McCartney fans will be pleased with.

  • God Loves Good Hip-Hop. David Daniels writes “The preaching of Christians through hip hop has been used by God to move many listeners to call on the name of the Lord.”
  • Hammer Time. Check out the new song “Hammer Time” by Lecrae (featuring 1k Phew).
  • New Third Day Album. Third Day’s new album Revival will be released on August 4.
  • Lecrae Wins BET Award. Congratulations to Lecrae for winning the Dr. Bobby Jones Best Gospel/Inspirational Award at the recent BET Awards.
  • Keith Getty Interview. Listen to Eric Metaxas interview Keith Getty about his music as well as his thoughts about being honored as an “Officer of the Order of the British Empire” by Queen Elizabeth.
  • The Cross Has the Final Word. Listen to Michael Tait of the Newsboys and Peter Furler talk about the new Newsboys song in which Furler, the band’s former lead singer guests on. Listen to the song
  • KIDZ. Listen to Andy Mineo’s new song with Wordsplayed.

I ain’t perfect, just purchased. Lecrae

Search for wisdom like your life depends on it. Because it does. Seek it out. And then when you find it— live it out. Trip Lee

Learn your purpose. That’s how you avoid the agendas of others. Trust me, if you don’t know your purpose they will have one for you. Tedashii

Song of the Week: Your Love Defends Me – Matt Maher 

This week’s song of the week is a new song from Matt Maher. He writes “In my life, I’ve found that there are a lot of times where what I know I should say (or how I should act) is not consistent with what it should be, and what I end up saying or doing is very much the opposite of what it should be. It’s very much what St. Paul describes in his letter to the Romans, when he says in Chapter 7, “or what I do not want to do I do, and what I hate I do.” This happens in every area of my life – as a friend, as a husband, as a dad. When you combine that reality (which is part of who we are as imperfect people) with the world we live in right now, of capturing every moment to share on social media, you sometimes forget you’re documenting your past, and it can indirectly stand against you, almost like it’s an accusation of you moving forward into the future.
I don’t know if you’ve ever thought about it this way, but in the Bible, the devil is referred to as the great accuser. I think that’s very fitting, because someone like him is going to stand up and constantly try to hold the things that you’ve said or done, that reveal any inconsistency, against you to prevent you from moving forward. However, God is your Defender.
In my song “Lord, I Need You,” the chorus says, “My one defense, my righteousness,” and what I’ve realized in life is that it doesn’t matter how much virtue I try to master on my own, without Jesus, I just can’t do it. I’ve realized that the love of God is not my last resort. It’s not my last line of defense. It’s the first one. Maybe the Christian life is more and more about relying on the defense of the love of God. It is God who stands by your side, it is God who declares who you are and who you aren’t. It is God who speaks over your past and heals it and fixes your eyes on Him in the present and towards the future. My prayer for you as you hear this song is that you would let Him be that for you- that you would let His love defend you.”

Watch the lyric video here.

You are my joy, You are my song
You are the well, the One I’m drawing from
You are my refuge, my whole life long
Where else would I go?

Surely my God is the strength of my soul
Your love defends me, Your love defends me
And when I feel like I’m all alone
Your love defends me, Your love defends me

Day after day, night after night
I will remember, You’re with me in this fight
Although the battle, it rages on
The war is already won
I know the war is already won

Surely my God is the strength of my soul
 Your love defends me, Your love defends me
And when I feel like I’m all alone
Your love defends me, Your love defends me

We sing Hallelujah
You’re my portion
My salvation
Hallelujah

Surely my God is the strength of my soul
Your love defends me, Your love defends me
And when I feel like I’m all alone
Your love defends me, Your love defends me
Surely my God is the strength of my soul
Your love defends me, Your love defends me
And when I feel like I’m all alone
Your love defends me, Your love defends me

We sing Hallelujah
You’re my portion
My salvation
Hallelujah
You’re my portion
My salvation

Hallelujah
You’re my portion
My salvation

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Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence. I’m married to my best friend. I’m a St. Louis Cardinals fan, a manager at a Fortune 100 company, a graduate of Covenant Theological Seminary, and in leadership at my local church. I am a life-long learner and have a passion to help people determine their callings, develop to their fullest potential and to utilize their strengths more fully. My favorite book is the Bible, and some other favorite books are Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper, The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul and Crazy Love by Francis Chan.

One thought on “MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS

  1. Love the music reviews!

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