United – Newsboys (Deluxe Edition)
In the spring of 2018, former Newsboys lead singer Peter Furler and former bassist Phil Joel joined the then current Newsboy lineup of Michael Tait, Duncan Phillips, Jeff Frankenstein and Jody Davis for a Newsboys reunion tour. Since then the Newsboys United have played more than 150 concerts. As a result, this new studio album has been highly anticipated. And the album, which is comprised of praise and worship songs, does not disappoint. The album, co-produced by Furler and Duncan Sparks and featuring a number of different writers, has a clean and energetic sound, as it merges the former members and current members together for a satisfying result.
Below are a few comments about each song:
Greatness of Our God – This worship song about the greatness of God, was written by Bryan Fowler, Colby Wedgeworth and Ethan Hulse. This was the first song released from the album. Furler and Tait share lead vocals on an excellent opening song.
Symphony – This song was written by Bryan Fowler, Colby Wedgeworth and Ethan Hulse. The voices of Furler and Tait blend well on this prayer, and Phillips’ drums particularly stand out.
So, let my life be, let my life be
A symphony, a symphony
Every breath that I breathe
Lord I wanna bring You glory, glory
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More of this review and a review of
~ Believe by Russ Taff
Song of the Week Lyrics
Love One Another – This song, based on Jesus’ words in John 13:34 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another”, was written by Duncan Sparks, Furler and Steve Taylor, and features Tait’s former DC Talk bandmate Kevin Max on vocals. The song opens with guitar and then right into a good driving beat.
Never Setting Sun – This song was written by Bede Benjamin-Korporaal, Renee Sieff and Seth Mosley. This joyful song of praise to Jesus features Furler primarily on vocals, has an infectious chorus driven by Phillips’ drum beat.
Beautiful Story – This song was written by Andrew Holt, Mia Fieldes and Robert Marvin and features Tait on vocals. The power ballad, which will sound good on Christian radio, begins with piano and builds with guitars, bass and drums.
The bridge brings in Romans 8:28 “You work all things together for good.”
You write a beautiful story
From glory to glory I believe
Worth Fighting For – This song was written by Furler and Steve Taylor. The song opens with guitar and features a good drum beat. Furler and Tait share vocals on this song about love and forgiveness. The song references Jesus’ commandment in Mark 12:31 “You shall love your neighbor as yourself”.
Fearless – This song was written by Jonathan Lindley Smith, Maggie Eckford and Mia Fieldes. The song opens with keys, and features excellent drums from Phillips. Tait and Furler share lead vocals and their voices blend well.
I am Fearless in Your presence
You’re all around, me all around me
In my weakness You are strongest
You surround me, You surround me
This I Know – This song was written by Aodhan King, Furler, Reuben Morgan and Seth Mosley. The song of praise opens with guitar, starts slowly and then gently builds with drums and keys. He is with us through the trials and has never let us go. Tait and Furler share vocals.
This I know
At the whisper of Your name
There is peace I can’t explain
I am fearless, I am safe
Here with You, here with you
Only the Son (Yeshua) – This worship song was written by Seth Mosely, Peter Furler and Summer Furler. An early version of the song (“Yeshua”), appeared on the Peter Furler Band’s 2014 album Sun and Shield. A new chorus “Only the Sun” has been added. The song features some good guitar from Davis. Tait and Furler share vocals and their vocals blend well on the memorable chorus.
Set Me Ablaze – This song was written by Bryan Torwalt, Jacob Sooter, Katie Torwalt and Mia Fieldes. Furler delivers a passionate lead vocal on this worship song to the Holy Spirit, asking Him to “Breathe, come and breathe on the coals of my heart”. The song features guitar and drums.
Deluxe Edition – This Deluxe edition includes one new song, a previously released single, two remixes and an interview. Although I normally prefer a Deluxe edition, I don’t see the extra value in this particular one.
Rejoice – This song was written by Steve Taylor and Furler. Tait and Furler share vocals on this upbeat and joyful song. Faith and love make you want to rejoice. The song features good guitar and drums.
The Cross Has the Final Word – This worship song about, the power of Jesus and the work He on the cross, was written by Cody Carnes and produced by Seth Mosley. It was released as a single in May, 2017, and was the first song released in which Furler joined the current lineup of the Newsboys.
Greatness of Our God (Doug Weier Remix) – This is a remix of a song included on the standard edition.
Only the Son (Yeshua) (Doug Weier Remix) – This is a remix of a song included on the standard edition.
United: The Story Behind the Album (Interview with Peter Furler and Michael Tait). This is a seven minute plus interview with Doug Hannah.
Believe – Russ Taff
I’m a long-time Russ Taff fan, having seen him in concert several times and have followed his music since his days with the Imperials. Amazingly, he has been inducted into the Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame an unprecedented three times – as a member of the Imperials, a member of the Gather Vocal Band and as a solo artist. This is his first worship album and the first new album in seven years for the 66-year-old singer. The album sounds great, being well-produced by Phil Naish and Mark Hornsby. It was released on the heels of the documentary Russ Taff: I Still Believe, and ahead of a book titled I Still Believe: A Memoir of Wreckage, Recovery, and Relentless Love, which was published in February 26, 2019.
This album is a welcome return for Taff, who is one of contemporary Christian music’s great vocalists, who sounds better than ever. Below are a few comments about each song:
Your Love Never Fails – The opening song is an excellent cover of the Jesus Culture song written by Anthony Skinner and Chris McClarney. The song has high energy from the beginning note with Taff bringing his strong vocals over a driving beat led by guitar, organ, drums and backing vocals.
I Still Believe – This song was written and originally recorded by The Call, and was included on Taff’s excellent 1990 self-titled album. On this new version Taff sings his heart out, backed by an excellent accompanying band, featuring a good guitar solo and backing vocals. About the song, Taff said “It meant the world to me back when I was struggling trying to find my way and I was screaming at the sky, but today it’s a joyous anthem. I’m up here singing again for Jesus. I survived.”
But I still believe
I still believe
Through the pain,
And through the grief,
Through the lives,
Through the storms,
Through the cries,
And through the wars.
Oh, I still believe!
Don’t Try So Hard – On this beautiful midtempo song, Taff is joined by Amy Grant, who herself was accompanied by James Taylor when she originally recorded the song. I enjoyed the organ on this track, with also features a nice guitar solo.
Don’t try so hard
God gives you grace and you can’t earn it
Don’t think that you’re not worth it
Because you are
He gave you His love and He’s not leaving
Gave you His Son so you’d believe it
You’re lonely even with your scars
Don’t try so hard
Same Power – This is an excellent cover of the joyful Jeremy Camp song. Taff brings a powerful vocal to the song over organ, guitar, piano, drums and backing vocals. There is victory in singing that we will not be overtaken, we will not be overcome.
The same power that rose Jesus from the grave
The same power that commands the dead to wake
Lives in us, lives in us.
I Am – This is a cover of Crowder’s song which appeared on his 2014 debut album Neon Steeple. Crowder joins Taff on this excellent version. A guitar solo replaces the banjo that was on Crowder’s version. The song also features some excellent drums. Crowder has said “Standing and singing ‘I Am holding onto you in the middle of the storm’ alongside Russ is one of life’s greatest memories.”
Holding on to You
In the middle of the storm
I am Holding on
Be Still My Soul – This is a song that Taff originally recorded with the Imperials on their 1980 album Priority. It was a song, written with his wife Tori, during a time when he was making the difficult decision to leave the Imperials. The beautiful song features piano, strings and some excellent backing choir vocals.
Be still my soul and know that He is God
Stand quietly – He is the Lord
If God is for me who can be against me?
Be still my soul, He is the Lord
No Longer Slaves – This is a cover of the Bethel Music song written by Brian Johnson, Joel Case and Jonathan David Helser. It opens with a brief female vocal. The joyful song builds with a powerful vocal from Taff, drums and strong backing vocals.
I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God
When I Hear Your Name – This beautiful song features strings, piano acoustic guitar and backing vocals. It is about the impact of God’s name. His whole world is changed and he is changed when he hears God’s precious and beautiful name. There Is a Fountain – This is a cover of William Cowper’s classic 1772 hymn. Taff delivers a passionate vocal over piano, drums and some excellent strings.
Redeeming love has been my theme
And shall be till I die
There’s a Hallelujah – This song features a driving beat from the beginning, featuring guitar, bass, drum and some excellent guitar. No matter what happens, he will worship Him the same. Hallelujah when I rise, hallelujah when I fall, Yes, there’s a hallelujah in it all.
Isn’t the Name – This is a cover of the Bethany Worship song written by Jonathan Stockstill. This song features piano, as well as some excellent strings that were recorded at the legendary Abbey Road studio in London. The name of Jesus is all we need.
We Will Stand – This song was originally recorded on Taff’s classic 1983 album Walls of Glass. The song features guitar, organ and builds powerfully with Taff’s vocal and a backing choir. Taff has said about the song “It’s a message that is important to the Church, especially today. Politics are tearing the body of Christ apart. People are losing friends and walking away from each other because of who they voted for. We’ve got to rise above that, love one another and allow another person to have their own feelings and beliefs.”
But I, I don’t care what label you may wear
If you believe in Jesus you belong with me
- Here for You. Enjoy this video of a live version of “Here for You” by Matt Maher.
- Native Tongue. Check out this video for Mason Self’s remix of Switchfoot’s song “Native Tongue”. Self not only remixed the song, but also created the video.
- My Music Reviews on New Release Today. Check out my 82 music reviews on the New Release Today
My Worth is Not in What I Own (At the Cross) – Keith and Kristyn Getty, Featuring Fernando Ortega
This week’s song of the week is from Keith and Kristyn Getty, and featuring Fernando Ortega. The song was recorded live at the Bridgestone Arena during the 2019 Sing! Conference in Nashville. Watch the performance here.
The song was written by Keith Getty, Kristyn Getty and Graham Kendrick. Here are the lyrics:
My worth is not in what I own
Not in the strength of flesh and bone
But in the costly wounds of love
At the cross
My worth is not in skill or name
In win or lose, in pride or shame
But in the blood of Christ that flowed
At the cross
I rejoice in my Redeemer
Wellspring of my soul
I will trust in Him, no other.
My soul is satisfied in Him alone.
As summer flowers we fade and die
Fame, youth and beauty hurry by
But life eternal calls to us
At the cross
I will not boast in wealth or might
Or human wisdom’s fleeting light
But I will boast in knowing Christ
At the cross
Two wonders here that I confess
My worth and my unworthiness
My value fixed – my ransom paid
At the cross