Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS

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Never Fold by Tedashii
****

Never Fold is the fifth studio album from Tedashii. The 17-song, 54-minute album is his follow-up to his excellent 2016 EP This Time Around and is his first full-length album since 2014’s Below Paradise. He did release a few songs in 2017 and 2018 that are not included here (“Way Up”, “Messenger” and “Splash”, though a revised version of the latter song is included), and two that are, “Gotta Live” (featuring Jordan Feliz) and “Smile”. It’s been way too long since we got a new full-length album from Tedashii, but the wait has definitely been worth it. The album features a number of special guests, among them Lecrae, Trip Lee and Crowder, and he uses multiple songwriters and producers. Never fold and the pain of losing his son Chase are themes that show up throughout the album.
My favorite songs are “God Flex”, “Get Out My Way” and “Gotta Live”. Here are a few comments about each song on the album.

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More of this review; a review of AWAKEN: The Surrounded Experience by Michael W. Smith and Holy Roar: Live from Church by Chris Tomlin
  • Music News
  • Music Quotes
  • Song of the Week Lyrics

There’s a Heaven – This song is written by Justin Lay, Sean Hamilton, Jimi Cravity and Tedashii, and produced by Hamilton and Cravity. This short opener features distorted vocals over keys.

God Flex – This song was produced by Daramola and Cardec and written by Daramola, Cardec, Jacob “Biz” Morris, WHATUPRG, Ace Harris, Trip Lee and Tedashii. It features Lee and Daramola on vocals and Swoope on orchestra. This is a hard-hitting song that will pull you in right away. The song was based on a real moment in Tedashii’s life when God showed up less than a year after his son Chase died. He had to let go of pride and humble himself to see God as good. Trust God, he is going to show up in your moment.
Key lyric:
But he gonna swing low in the chariot and carry me home

Get Out My Way – This song is written by Cardec, Wes Writer, Lecrae and Tedashii, and produced by Cardec. This song features a great collaboration with Lecrae. It’s a hard-hitting song. Every day is a struggle. People are throwing stones and trying to make them stumble. They’ve taken a lot of hits but they are getting through it.

Son of Sam – This song is written by Zach Paradis, GAWVI, Chad Gardner, Daniel Steel, Derek Minor, Andy Mineo and Tedashii, and produced by Minor. The song features a brief intro from Mineo. On this song Tedashii shares his struggles after losing his son Chase. He’s trying to figure out who he is. He’s all alone and struggling, but encouraged by friends. He feels like he’s dying from grief, suffering panic attacks. His heart is getting harder to heal.

Home – This song is written by Alex “Juice” Hitchens, Mashell, Zach Paradis, Ace Harris, Tedashii and Crowder. The song is produced by Paradis, Mashell and Harris, and features Crowder on the chorus. In a passionate vocal, Tedashii sings of hurt and grief. He did his best, but confesses that he needs God’s help, who gave him love that he didn’t deserve. He refuses to waste a day. The electronic drums shine on this track.
Key lyric:
Looking for the shade where the trees are dead
Trying to find my way to the peace inside

Splash II – This song is written by Zach Paradis, Mashell, Ace Harris, Iggy Music, Wes Writer, Parris Chariz, Jarry Manna and 1K Phew. It is produced by Paradis, Harris, Iggy Music and Mashell. The song uses the same chorus as “Splash” featuring 1K Phew that was released in early 2018. Other vocals are provided by Jarry Manna and Parris Chariz. This upbeat song is about making a splash for God.

Water – This song is written by Zach Paradis, Tumeh Gailor, Royce Munroe, Lloyd Musa, Ace Harris, Jeremiah “Sick Pen” Bethea and Tedashii. The song is produced by Paradis and Harris. He sings of being cleaned by the water and how Houston made it through the flooding from Hurricane Harvey in 2017.

Diamonds – This song is written by Steve Tirogene, Sean Minor, Jamal Wesley James, Dustin “DAB” Bowie, Desmond Jamal Rasberry and Tedashii. It is produced by Tirogene, Minor, and Desmond South. The sound features a good beat driven by the percussion. He’s got a lot of pain in his heart, trouble in his soul and feels like he has the whole world on his shoulders. He has a lot of pressure on his body but diamonds are made just like that. Life will test him each day but he’ll never fold, he’ll get through.
Key lyric:
I got blessings on the way
I can see a better day

Step into Love – This song is written by Jordan Sapp, Sarah Reeves and Tedashii. It is produced by Sapp and features Reeves on the chorus. Life has been hard and he almost gave up. People may change but God is always the same, so why should he quit. We need to step into love like you’ve never been hurt before. The song features keys and a good beat driven by electric drums.

My Lifestyle – On this song Tedashii sings of battling depression and grief. The devil put him through hell, but the Lord helped him through it and gave him a reason for living.  He’s still unashamed and with the people he came with.

Gotta Live – This song was written by Chris Howland, Zach Paradis, Jordan Feliz and Tedashii, and produced by Ace Harris. The song, which features a memorable chorus, features Feliz on vocals, and reached number one on Billboard’s Christian Hot AC/CHR chart. Tedashii has said that this song is about perseverance and encouragement.  Life is meant to be lived as the gift from God that it is and we should see that as a reason to keep going and never fold.
Key lyric:
Everybody has their doubts but you can’t stop now

Hold Me Down – On this song Tedashii expresses appreciation for those who stick by his side. He sings of doing what he does for his family and a cousin in prison. He tries to love his enemies and use their energy. The song ends with a young rapper on the last verse.

Smile – This song was written by SAK PASE, Philip Green, Marquis Rachad, Ace Harris and Tedashii and produced by SAK PASE. It was first released in early 2018. Tedashii has said that the song, with its easy going and uplifting rhythms and singing, fits the mood of what he wanted to create to help people smile and have joy. DJ Blak offers additional vocals.
Key lyric:
Life is hard, but it’s getting better
We all harmed, but the scars, they not here forever

All In Love – This song is written by Kelvin Wooten, Kameron Glasper, Chris Owens and Tedashii. It is produced by Chris King and features Kam Parker on the chorus. This is a song to Tedashii’s wife who has been with him through it all. With her he been blessed, feeling like he hit the lottery.

Full Effect – This song was written by Wesley E. Smith Jr., SAK PASE, Ace Harris and Tedashii and produced by SAK PASE. Tedashii brings a confident vocal on this song. He’s in his element, at his best. He sings that life is curtains, drawn back, but God came to open the blinds and let the sun in.

Won’t Bring Me Down – This song was written by Tyron, Boosen, Joshua Toala, Cardec, Evan Ford and Tedashii. It was produced by Tee-Wyla, Cardec and Ford. The song features a female vocalist on the chorus. God never told him that it would be easy, just that He would be with him through the nightmares and broken dreams. His help comes from the Lord (Psalm 121.2)

It is Well – The closing song is a short version of Horatio G. Spafford’s 1873 hymn “It is Well With My Soul”. The song is sung in another language by a female vocalist. It is a beautiful, piano driven song.

AWAKEN: The Surrounded Experience – Michael W. Smith
***

Over the course of his 35-year career, the multi-talented Michael W. Smith has provided the church with excellent music in a number of different genres – pop, Christmas, instrumental and worship. At age 61, he is going stronger than ever, having released three albums in 2018, a live worship album Surrounded, a studio album A Million Lights, and a children’s album Lullaby. In addition, he honored Billy Graham and George H. W. Bush by singing at their funerals. He is back to start 2019 off with the new live worship album Awaken: The Surrounded Experience. The album was recorded at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, on August 30, 2018 at the free Surrounded: A Night to Pray, Worship and Be Awakened concert. The event was a multi-racial, multi-denominational and multi-generational gathering of 14,000 people, which was later broadcast on the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) to 175 countries worldwide as the special Surrounded: A Night of Worship, Prayer, and Awakening. The evening began with a time of prayer for the city of Nashville, surrounding communities, and the nation, led by area pastors.
The new album includes 13 songs from that concert, 6 of which were included on the Surrounded album. Also included are Will Reagan’s “Set a Fire”, the opening song, Jennie Lee Riddle’s “Revelation Song” and three songs included on previous Smith albums – “Let it Rain”, “Healing Rain” and “Agnus Dei”. Smith turns over lead vocals on Todd Dulaney’s “King of Glory” to CeCe Winans, and on Sinach’s “Waymaker”, the album’s initial single, to Vanessa Campagna and Madelyn Berry.
The production quality of the recording is excellent, which is especially noteworthy for a live album. Although the album captures the worship experience well, and I enjoyed it, with nearly half of the album being comprised of songs that appeared on the live album Surrounded just a year earlier, some buyers may feel like they have to choose between Surrounded and AWAKEN: The Surrounded Experience.

Holy Roar: Live from Church – Chris Tomlin
***

I’ve enjoyed Chris Tomlin’s music for several years. For years, I would look forward to the new songs he introduced each January at the Passion conference in Atlanta (and following live album), and also his own solo albums. His 2016 studio album Never Lose Sight was my favorite album of that year. His latest studio album, Holy Roar, was released last October. The album was good, but not great, and I found that it was one that I didn’t go back to listen to a lot after its initial release.  It was also his first album since 2004’s Arriving to not hit the top of the Christian charts, topping out at #3 and only #103 on Billboard’s Top 200 Album chart (2013’s Burning Lights hit #1 on both).
So, I found it surprising that Tomlin would release a live album comprised of seven songs from Holy Roar, plus one from Pat Barrett (who is signed to Tomlin’s label, and who is also with Tomlin on the current Holy Roar tour), recorded in front of 200 worship leaders at a small church in east Nashville. Tomlin’s music is best heard live in a worship setting (concert or church) and that’s probably why he wanted these songs to be heard in that context. The album is also a nice tie-in with the tour, which kicked off a week before the album was released.
For the most part however, the performances here are not different enough from the studio versions for most listeners to purchase this new live album. The exceptions would be Tomlin’s live version of Andrew Peterson and Ben Shive’s “Is He Worthy?”, which was released as part of a three song EP ahead of the full album and his “Goodness, Love and Mercy”, which brings more energy than the studio version.

  • Don’t Sing Only to God in Church. Eric Schumacher writes “Congregational singing is an act of instructing and encouraging one another….We must sing the gospel explicitly. Our song selections should make clear that Jesus died for sin and rose from the dead. A song set that does not proclaim the gospel is a song set without the power of God to save. It fails to fulfill the primary corporate-music instructions of the New Testament.”
  • God Flex. Check out the video for Tedashii’s “God Flex” featuring Trip Lee, from his new album Never Fold.
  • Native Tongue. Watch this live performance of “Native Tongue” by Switchfoot from Atlanta.
  • Wildfire. Check out the new video from Crowder for his song “Wildfire”.
  • Que Lo Que. Check out the lyric video for “Que Lo Que” by Social Club Misfits.
  • Always Grace. Listen to “Always Grace” the new song from Matt Redman, featuring Jaci Velasquez. The song is written by Redman, Chris Tomlin, Ed Cash and Jonas Myrin and is from PALAU the Movie, a film about evangelist Luis Palau.

  • Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world. Martin Luther
  • Were the whole realm of nature mine, that were a present far too small: Love so amazing, so divine Demands my soul, my life, my all. Isaac Watts
  • The family of God is the choir, and God is their audience. Keith Getty
  • I think it’s of huge importance to us as worship leaders…to ask ourselves these two questions: What were the words we put into our congregation’s mouths, minds, and memories? And how well did our congregation sing? Our role is simply to be an accompaniment to them as they sing. Keith Getty
  • Amazing grace! how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me! I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see. John Newton
  • How deep the Father’s love for us, how vast beyond all measure, that He would give His only Son, to make a wretch His treasure. Stuart Townend


Dive – Steven Curtis Chapman (featuring Ricky Skaggs)

This week’s song of the week is a new version of the Steven Curtis Chapman classic “Dive”, which first appeared 20 years ago on his album Speechless (remember that one?) Chapman has said this about the song:
““Dive” is a song inspired by my pastor and friend, Scotty Smith. One sermon gave an example of a fishing story where he was out with a friend standing chest deep in a stream catching hundreds of trout everywhere they cast their rods. From the shore, onlookers were amazed because none of them had caught any fish. That experience is so much like what it is to follow Jesus Christ. If we’re really going to do it, we’ve got to really dive in deep to lose ourselves in the flow of the living water. All of those emotions and experiences of excitement, risk and anticipation are what I wanted to capture in this song.”
This new bluegrass version features the incredible Ricky Skaggs on vocals and banjo. The song is featured on Chapman’s new album Deeper Roots: Where the Bluegrass Grows. Check out the lyric video for the song here.

The long awaited rains
Have fallen hard upon the thirsty ground
And carved their way to where
The wild and rushing river can be found
And like the rains
I have been carried to where the river flows, yeah
My heart is racing, and my feet are weak
As I walk to the edge
I know there is no turning back
Once my feet have left the ledge
And in the rush I hear a voice
That’s telling me to take a leap of faith
So here I go

I’m diving in, I’m going deep, in over my head I want to be
Caught in the rush, lost in the flow, in over my head I want to go
The river’s deep, the river’s wide, the river’s water is alive
So sink or swim, I’m diving in

There is a supernatural power
In this mighty river’s flow
It can bring the dead to life
And it can fill an empty soul

And give a heart the only thing
Worth living and worth dying for, yeah
But we will never know the awesome power
Of the grace of God

Until we let ourselves get swept away
Into this holy flood
So if you take my hand
We’ll close our eyes and count to three

And take the leap of faith
Come on let’s go

I’m diving in, I’m going deep, in over my head I want to be
Caught in the rush, lost in the flow, in over my head I want to go
The river’s deep, the river’s wide, the river’s water is alive
So sink or swim, I’m diving in

Oh…Come on let’s go

I’m diving in, I’m going deep, in over my head I want to be
Caught in the rush, lost in the flow, in over my head I want to go
The river’s deep, the river’s wide, the river’s water is alive
So sink or swim, I’m diving in

I’m diving in, I’m going deep, in over my head I want to be
Caught in the rush, lost in the flow, in over my head I want to go
The river’s deep, the river’s wide, the river’s water is alive
So sink or swim, I’m diving in

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Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence ~ married to my best friend for more than 38 years and a St. Louis Cardinals fan. Before retiring I served as a manager at a Fortune 50 company; I'm a graduate of Covenant Theological Seminary and in leadership at my local church. I enjoy speaking about calling, vocation and work. I am a life-long learner and have a passion to help people develop to their fullest potential and to utilize their strengths more fully. I am an INTJ on Myers-Briggs, 3 on the Enneagram, my top five Strengthsfinders themes are: Belief, Responsibility, Learner, Harmony and Achiever, and my two StandOut strengths roles are Creator and Equalizer. My favorite book is the Bible, with Romans my favorite book and 2 Corinthians 5:21 my favorite verse. Some of my other favorite books are Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper, The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul, The Prodigal Son (originally titled A Tale of Two Sons) by John MacArthur and Crazy Love by Francis Chan. I enjoy Christian hip-hop/rap music, with Lecrae, Trip Lee and Andy Mineo being some of favorite artists.

3 thoughts on “MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS

  1. Thanks for sharing. Although I’m fairly familiar with the likes of LeCrae, Trip Lee and my favorite Shai Linne, I’m not so familiar with Tedashii (sic). Another blogger introduced me to a song from his latest album and you’ve given a great sampler, so I’ll have to check it out on Spotify now…

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