Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS

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Hymns Vol. 2 – Shane and Shane
****

Shane and Shane follow Hymns Vol. 1 and Hymns Live with more classic and modern hymns done in their distinctive worshipful style. The hymns are creatively arranged in a way that they can be used for congregational singing in church worship services, as well as enjoyed for individual worship. The album starts with four classic hymns, then moves to four modern hymns, before ending with two more classic hymns.
Below are a few brief comments about each of the songs:
Be Thou My Vision (Lord You Are) – “Be Thou My Vision” is an 8th century Irish hymn that was translated by Eleanor Hull in 1912. “Lord You Are (More Precious Than Silver)” was written by Lynn DeShazo. The song features acoustic guitar, strings, backing vocals and some good drum work. 

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More of this review and reviews of ~
    • The St. Nemele Collab Sessions – TobyMac
    • Okie – Vince Gill
  • Music News
  • Music Quotes
  • Song of the Week Lyrics

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus (Amazing Grace) – “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” was written by Hellen Howard Lemme in 1922. “Amazing Grace” was written by John Newton. The song features acoustic guitar, keys, light drums, strings, and backing vocals.
My Jesus I Love Thee – This hymn was written by William R. Featherston in 1864. The song features keys, bass, strings, light percussion and a particularly strong lead vocal. The song ends with a snippet from the following song “Praise to the Lord Almighty”.
Praise to the Lord (Joyful, Joyful) – “Praise to the Lord Almighty” was written by Joachim Neander in 1680. “Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee” was written by Henry J. van Dyke in 1907. The song features acoustic guitar, backing vocals, guitar, strings, and a particularly good drum beat.
Oh Lord Almighty – This song, which may be less familiar to many, was written by Jon Able and Shane Barnard. The song features acoustic guitar, drums, backing vocals, keys and strings. A highlight.
Key lyrics:
Holy
All God’s children singing Holy
Nothing left to say but Holy
Oh Lord Almighty

Power of the Cross – This song was written by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend. The song, which builds powerfully, features keys, strings, acoustic guitar, drums, and backing vocals.
Come Behold the Wondrous Mystery – This song was written by Matt Boswell, Matt Papa and Michael Bleeker. The song, which builds gently to a powerful ending, features acoustic guitar, backing vocals, synth, and some good drum work.
Living Waters (As the Deer) – “Living Waters” was written by Kristyn Getty and Ed Cash. “As the Deer” was written by Martin Nystrom. This song, which is driven by a good drum beat, features acoustic guitar, backing vocals, guitar and synth. This is a more upbeat version of “Living Waters” than was recorded by Keith and Kristyn Getty. A highlight.
All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name – “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name” was written by Edward Perronet in 1779. The song features keys, some excellent percussion, backing vocals, synth, and a strong vocal. The song then goes directly into “Crown Him with Many Crowns”.
Crown Him with Many Crowns – This 1851 hymn had lyrics written by Matthew Bridges and Godfrey Thring, with the music written by George Job Elvey. The song features drums, guitar, and backing vocals. The song ends by going powerfully back into “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name”.

The St. Nemele Collab Sessions – TobyMac
***

The latest project from TobyMac is his fifth remix album. The project includes new mixes of 10 of the 11 songs from his excellent 2018 album The Elements (only “Starts with Me” is not included here), and one new song “Heart of My Beat”. Each song has a different producer and guest vocalist. I’m not usually a fan of remix projects, but this one is pretty good, featuring a few of my favorite artists (Crowder and Matt Maher), some others who are well known (Jen Ledger, Bart Millard, Jordan Feliz, Cory Asbury and Sarah Reeves) as well as some others that I was not familiar with. As with all of TobyMac’s projects, the production is of a high quality. Even with the diversity of producers and guest vocalist, the project has a cohesive feel.

The full track list, with guest vocalist and producer is listed below:
The Elements, with guest vocalist Jen Ledger of Skillet. Produced by Neon Feather.
Hello Future, with guest vocalist Crowder. Produced by DJ Maj Par-T Side.
Overflow, with guest vocalist Bart Millard of Mercy Me. Produced by Willyecho
See The Light, with guest vocalist Jordan Feliz. Produced by RUSLAN.
Everything, with guest vocalist Jonathan McReynolds. Produced by Capital Kings.
I Just Need U, with guest vocalist Cory Asbury. Produced by Tide Electric.
It’s You, with guest vocalists Matt Maher and Terrian. Produced by Tide Electric.
Horizon (A New Day), with guest vocalist Aaron Cole (who guested on “Starts with Me” on The Elements). Produced by Stereovision.
Scars (Come With Livin’), with guest vocalist Sarah Reeves. Produced by Neon Feather. A highlight.
Edge Of My Seat, with guest vocalist Cochren & Co. Produced by THUNDERBIRD.
Heart Of My Beat. This is the one new song on the album. The song is produced by JT Daly and written by TobyMac, Daley, Sarah Reeves and Sam Tinnesz. Toby sings that God has been with him every step of the way, opening doors for him and guiding him along His plan. The song has a good beat and memorable chorus.
Key lyrics:
From the start to eternity
You are the fresh air I breathe
You will always be
The heart of my beat, the heart of my…
You put the soul in my melodies
I write the songs in Your key
Yeah, You will always be
The heart of my beat, the heart of my…

If you haven’t listened to The Elements, I would start there, but this new remix project is enjoyable and certainly worth a listen.

Okie – Vince Gill
****

This is the first Vince Gill album I’ve listened to. My interest in the Country Music Hall of Fame member, who has won 21 Grammy Awards and sold more than 26 million albums, came as a result of seeing him twice as a touring member of the Eagles. I’m not a country music fan, but I found this album, which deals with subjects such as sexual abuse, abortion, faith, racism, love and tributes to two of his country music heroes, to be one of my favorites of the year. The mostly acoustic music is sparse – Gill is accompanied by Tom Bukova and Jedd Hughes – allowing you to focus on the lyrics. Gill wrote eight of the album’s twelve songs, co-writing the other four. The album was produced by Gill and Justin Niebank and includes a few instances of light adult language.
Here are a few thoughts about each song:
I Don’t Want To Ride the Rails No More. This song was written by Gill. The song features acoustic guitar, bass, backing vocals and a guitar solo mid-song. He doesn’t want to ride the rails any more. He wants to know a woman’s love worth dying for and to hear children playing through an old screen door.
The Price of Regret. This song was written by Gill. The song features acoustic guitar, drums and backing vocals. It is about regret, pain, judgement, kindness and forgiveness.
Key lyric:
You’re black and I’m white
You’re blinded by sight
Close your eyes and tell me the color of my skin

Forever Changed. This song was written by Gill. It’s a song about sexual abuse that was inspired by an incident that happened to him in the seventh grade when he was approached inappropriately by a basketball coach/gym teacher. He was lucky to escape, but many don’t. The song is written to an abuser of a young woman. The song features acoustic guitar, piano and light percussion.
Key lyric:
Because of you, she’s forever changed
An Honest Man. This song was written by Gill, and is addressed to his wife, singer Amy Grant. The song features acoustic guitar, bass, piano and light backing vocals. He has his failings – occasionally drinking too much, a temper at times, and letting her down – but he always keeps his promises. Take him as he is and he’ll do the best he can.
What Choice Will You Make? This song was written by Gill and Leslie Satcher. This is a song about a teen pregnancy and the decision that the girl will need to make about the baby. The song features acoustic guitar, light percussion, bass, backing vocals and a guitar solo mid-song.
Key lyric:
What choice will you make?
Whose heart will you break?
Whatever you choose, you will wear on your face

Black and White. This song was written by Gill and Charlie Worsham. The song looks back to an America when they told the truth on the news at night. Now we’re divided, too far left and too far right, and there’s too much greed. But being kind is more important than being right. He prays that our best days are ahead. The song features acoustic guitar, light percussion, banjo, and a guitar solo mid-song
The Red Words. This song was written by Gill. The song is about the red words in the Bible, those words that Jesus spoke. He sings about his wife being a great mother and loving him well. He encourages us to open the Bible and read what the red words say. The song features, guitar, organ, backing vocals and a guitar solo to close the song.
Key lyrics:
The red words cut the deepest
The red words are the call
The red words come from Jesus
And they mean the most of all

When My Amy Prays. This song was written by Gill. He has said that it’s perhaps the best vocal he has ever done, and I agree that it is an excellent one. When his wife Amy prays is when he sees Jesus’ face. She gave him his first Bible. She loves him and doesn’t judge him. The song features some beautiful piano, bass and light percussion. A highlight.
Key lyric:
But when my Amy prays
When my Amy prays
That’s when I see His face

A Letter To My Mama. This song was written by Gill and Dean Dillon about 18 years ago, but never recorded. The song is written as a letter and a tribute to his now 93-year-old mother from the bottom of his heart. He is sorry for being selfish and that things didn’t work out with his father. He could never pay her back the love he owes. The song features acoustic guitar, light percussion, bass, piano and a guitar solo.
Key lyric:
If I could stop this pen from shaking, I’d write these words down too
There’s no one in this world I love like you

Nothin’ Like A Guy Clark Song. This song was written as a tribute to Guy Clark by Gill. Clark was a friend of Gill’s for more than 40 years. They recorded and wrote songs together. Gill has said that this song is comprised of inside references to Clark and his songs told in a way that not only honors him but gives good insight to who he was. The song features acoustic guitar, light percussion and a guitar solo mid-song.
That Old Man of Mine. This song was written by Gill. It’s the most musically upbeat song on the album. Gill has described it as a good old country music murder ballad that’s mostly fiction, with a little bit of truth thrown in. The song features, guitar, drums, organ and backing vocals.
Key lyric:
The Lord says we all got a cross to bear
That old man was mine

A World Without Haggard
. This song was written by Gill as a tribute to Merle Haggard, who was his favorite country music artist. Haggard made him proud to be an Okie, and was his greatest inspiration, the reason why he sings the blues. He’s lost in a world without Haggard. The song features guitar, piano, bass, light percussion and a guitar solo mid-song.

Abbey Road, Super Deluxe Anniversary Edition – The Beatles
****

Abbey Road, the last album recorded by the Beatles (though the inferior Let it Be, was the last to be released), was recorded at Abbey Road Studios in the summer of 1969. I had just turned 13 when the album was released. Just a few months ago, while on a family vacation, my wife Tammy and I got to walk across the iconic crosswalk featured on the album’s cover.
Just as he did with Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and The Beatles (The White Album), Giles Martin, son of the long-time Beatles producer George Martin, has given us a remixed anniversary project on the 50th anniversary of the album’s release. The Super Deluxe Anniversary Edition includes a new mix of the original album, produced by George Martin, which includes the famous closing suite on side 2, John Lennon’s “Come Together” and two of George Harrison’s best songs – “Something” and “Here Comes the Sun”. In addition, this edition includes 23 outtakes and demos, which was what I was most excited about in this release.
The studio banter included here shows that the band had moved past the contentious recording sessions that we saw in the film Let it Be. Here, they seem to be enjoying each other and having fun, even though they knew by this time it was to be their final album.
Here are a few of my highlights from the outtakes and demos:

  • “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” featuring some outstanding work from Billy Preston on organ.
  • “Goodbye”, not included on Abbey Road, which McCartney wrote for Apple artist Mary Hopkins
  • “The Long One,” the late-July title given to Side 2’s 16-minute medley/suite, encompassing nine shorter songs (Eight were on the released album, with “Her Majesty” moved to the end of the album), written by Lennon and McCartney.
  • “Come and Get It”, not included on Abbey Road, a McCartney song that would be a hit for Apple artist Badfinger.
  • “The Ballad of John and Yoko”, not included on Abbey Road, performed by only Lennon and McCartney.
  • A ragged vocal from Lennon on an alternate take of “Come Together”.
  • “Old Brown Shoe”, a Harrison song not included on Abbey Road, which would be the “B-Side” of “The Ballad of John and Yoko”.
  • George Martin’s isolated orchestration from Harrison’s “Something”.

Abbey Road is considered one of the greatest pop/rock albums of all time.

This anniversary edition is a “must have” for Beatles fans.

  • Time. Watch this video of Phil Keaggy and Rex Schnelle performing “Time” from their album Illumination.
  • Big Wave. Watch the video for “Big Wave” by Lecrae and Parris Chariz.
  • Ten Atonement Songs You Should Consider Singing. Bob Kauflin writes “You probably already sing songs that do just what I’ve been describing. Songs like “Before the Throne of God Above,” “And Can It Be,” “In Christ Alone,” “Man of Sorrows,” “It Is Well,” “The Power of the Cross,” and many more. Here are ten more for you to consider that you might not know about or haven’t sung yet. I’ve included some lines from each song and intentionally drawn from a variety of eras and styles.”
  • When Worship Lyrics Miss the Mark. On this episode of the Ask Pastor John podcast, John Piper addresses a question about the popular worship song “What a Beautiful Name”.
  • Hotel California. The Eagles recently played three concerts in which they played their classic album “Hotel California” in its entirety, along with a greatest hits set. Here is a review from Billboard of the first night’s concert. We saw night two’s concert, and it was one of the best we’ve ever seen. The band will be taking the concert to a few cities in 2020. If you are an Eagles fan, don’t miss it.
  • California Dreamin. Check out the video of “California Dreamin” by Lecrae and John Givez.
  • La Luz. Watch this video of “La Luz”, performed live by Crowder, featuring Social Club Misfits.
  • Coming in Hot. Watch the video of “Coming in Hot” from Lecrae and Andy Mineo.
  • “He Will Hold Me Fast”: The Story Behind the Song. Matt Merker shares the story behind the song “He Will Hold Me Fast” in this two-minute video.

              Run to the Father by Matt Maher
This week’s song of the week is “Run to the Father” from Matt Maher’s new EP Alive & Breathing Vol. 1. The song is written by Maher, Ran Jackson, and Cody Carnes. Listen to the song here.

Verse 1
I’ve carried a burden
For too long on my own
I wasn’t created
To bear it alone

Verse 2
I hear Your invitation
To let it all go
I see it now
I’m laying it down
I know that I need You

Chorus
I run to the Father
I fall into grace
I’m done with the hiding
No reason to wait
My heart needs a surgeon
My soul needs a friend
So I’ll run to the Father
Again and again
And again and again

Refrain
Ohhh ohhh ohhh

Verse 3
You saw my condition
Had a plan from the start
Your Son for redemption
The price for my heart

Verse 4
I don’t have a context
For that kind of love
I don’t understand
I can’t comprehend
All I know is I need You

Chorus
I run to the Father
I fall into grace
I’m done with the hiding
No reason to wait
My heart needs a surgeon
My soul needs a friend
So I’ll run to the Father
Again and again
And again and again

Refrain
Ohhh ohhh
Again and again
And again and again

Refrain
Ohhh ohhh ohhh

Bridge 1
My heart has been in Your sights
Long before my first breath
Running into Your arms
Is running to life from death

Bridge 2
I feel this rush deep in my chest
Your mercy is calling out
Just as I am You pull me in
I know I need You now

Chorus
I run to the Father
I fall into grace
I’m done with the hiding
No reason to wait
My heart needs a surgeon
My soul needs a friend
So I’ll run to the Father
Again and again
And again and again

Chorus
I run to the Father
I fall into grace
I’m done with the hiding
No reason to wait
My heart found a surgeon
My soul found a friend
So I’ll run to the Father
Again and again
And again and again

Refrain
Ohhh ohhh
Again and again
And again and again

Refrain
Ohhh ohhh ohhh

Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence ~ married to my best friend for more than 39 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.

2 thoughts on “MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS

  1. Love this! And love the barefoot photo, you remembered! I hope to do the same soon.

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