Illumination – Phil Keaggy and Rex Paul
Phil Keaggy is one of the most respected guitarists of this generation, and has been a long-time favorite of mine. His last vocal album, 2016’s All at Once, was one of my top albums of that year. He returns with a new vocal album collaboration with Rex Paul Schnelle. The two first met in the mid-1980’s. They collaborated on the song “I Love the Way You Love Me” on All at Once, which led to this collaboration.
The album features five songs that Keaggy and Paul wrote together, four new versions of Keaggy classics, and one song that each artist collaborated on with others. The album was recorded at the artist’s home studios. The two-guitar approach, strong vocals, and fresh production by Paul, makes for an enjoyable listening experience. Keaggy’s vocals are outstanding, and he sounds as good as he did in the 1980’s.
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- More of this review and a reviews of A Great Adventure: Live Solo Performances of Timeless Hits by Steven Curtis Chapman
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Below are a few comments about each of the songs:
Don’t Hold Back. This song was written by Paul and Keaggy. The song features excellent guitars, including a few solos and drums. Keaggy takes the lead vocal. The song is based on Matthew 25:20 and Jesus’ words “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” We are to love the least of these until judgment day and not hold back the love in our heart from our fellow man in need.
Calling Us Home. This song was written by Paul and Keaggy. The song opens with acoustic guitar. Paul and Keaggy share lead vocals, and their voices blend well on backing vocals. God is calling us home to stay, and we will worship the King. There is a guitar solo mid-song.
Time. This song was written by Keaggy and first appeared on his 1976 album Love Broke Thru. Keaggy handles lead vocals on this rocker, which opens with strong drums, which are soon joined by electric guitar. His name is time and he’s coming to an end. Jesus died for you to set you free. Where will you be when time ends? The song features a few guitar solos.
Nothing Can Separate Us. This song was written by Paul and Keaggy. It is based on Romans 8:35-39 which tells us that nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord, and that we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. The mid-tempo song starts with guitar and a good drum driven beat. Keaggy handles the lead vocals and their voices blend nicely on backing vocals. There is a guitar solo mid-song.
Glorify Your Name. This worship song was written by Paul and Keaggy. It opens with Beatle-like guitars, followed quickly by drums. Keaggy handles the lead vocals, and their voices blend well on the backing vocals. From creation to the cross, we can trust in His salvation and glorify His name. There is a guitar solo mid-song.
Let Everything Else Go. This beautiful song was written by Keaggy. It’s one of his personal favorites, and one of his most-requested songs in concert. It originally appeared on the 1980 album Town to Town album, later appearing on Way Back Home and Live from Kegworth. The song opens with piano and acoustic guitar. Keaggy handles lead vocals and the song builds on the chorus with backing vocals.
Oh, I can’t wait to see you Jesus, face to face,
Nothing in this world can take Your place.
The song features a few nice guitar solos. Nothing can compare with what You are, let everything else go. A highlight.
I Believe. This mid-tempo song was written by Paul and Keaggy. Keaggy was on tour with Glass Harp in 1971 and had been working on what would eventually become this song, but all he had left was the chorus of the song. Keaggy handles the lead vocals, with good backing vocals. The song is about the early days of a new believer. I believe and I have a reason to live. The song features a few guitar solos.
Spend My Life With You. This song was written by Keaggy and appeared on his 1980 album Ph’lip Side. The easy-going and joyful song is driven by acoustic guitar. Keaggy handles lead vocals and the song builds with backing vocals on the chorus. The song closes with an acoustic guitar solo.
‘Cause there’s a home in my heart
And I believe the day is coming
When we’ll never be apart.
Just to be where you are,
And to spend my live with you
Would be a perfect start.
You Never Know. This song was written by Tom Douglas and Paul. Paul and Keaggy trade lead vocals and their voices blend well on the chorus. You’ll never know who you might meet on a bus. The song references Hebrews 13:2 “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares”. The song closes with a guitar solo.
Full Circle. This song was written by Keaggy and originally appeared on his Town to Town album. The joyful song opens with acoustic guitar, drums and a bit of organ. The Lord took his hand and led him out of the darkness. With one touch of His hand he was made a newborn man. He has come full circle in his life. The song features a few guitar solos. Another favorite.
Day of the Lord. This song was written by Bryan Clark and Keaggy. The song features drums, guitars, including solos, and organ. In this world we face hardships (hunger, poverty, homelessness, suffering, sorrow, etc.). But one day death will be swallowed up (1 Corinthians 15:55), so set your mind on things that will last (Colossians 3:2).
The art of life in living is loving the best that you can.
Lend your neighbor a hand
Let us be forgiving, the day of the Lord is at hand.
A Great Adventure: Live Solo Performances of Timeless Hits by Steven Curtis Chapman
The latest project from Steven Curtis Chapman, which arrived less than two months after his Deeper Roots: Where the Bluegrass Grows album, comes in both a DVD and audio recording format, filmed and recorded at the Gaither Studios in Alexandria, Indiana. The album version chronicles Chapman’s life in song through live solo acoustic performances of some of his most popular songs, but no between song comments. Chapman has toured extensively performing solo concerts the past few years, and is very comfortable performing his songs backed only with his acoustic guitar. Listening to these songs, originally released between 1987 and 2018, reminds the listener of the blessing his music has been for more than thirty years now.
Below are a few comments about each of the songs (who wrote them and on which album they first appeared):
Lord of The Dance/No Better Place – “Lord of the Dance” (which he refers to as Chapter 1) was written by Chris Clark, Stephen Kipner and John Parker, and originally appeared on Chapman’s 1996 album Songs of Life. “No Better Place” (which he refers to as Chapter 2) was written by Phil Naish and Chapman, and originally appeared on his 1990 album For the Sake of the Call.
Remember to Remember – This song was written by Chapman and released as a single in 2018. This is the first time it has been available on an album.
The Great Adventure – This song was written by Geoff Moore and Chapman and originally appeared on his 1992 album The Great Adventure.
He Touched Me/There’s Something About That Name/Because He Lives – This is a medley of songs written by Bill and Gloria Gaither.
More to This Life – This song was written by Phil Naish and Chapman and originally appeared on his 1989 album More to This Life.
Be Still and Know – This song was written by Chapman and originally appeared on his 1999 album Speechless.
I Will Be Here – This song was written by Chapman and originally appeared on his 1989 album More to This Life.
Cinderella – This song was written by Chapman and originally appeared on his 2007 album This Moment.
Glorious Unfolding – This song was written by Chapman and originally appeared on his 2013 album The Glorious Unfolding.
Together – This song was written by Chapman and originally appeared on his 2013 album The Glorious Unfolding.
His Strength Is Perfect – This song was written by Chapman and originally on his 1988 album Real Life Conversations.
When Love Takes You In – This song was written by Chapman and originally appeared on his 2001 album Declaration.
My Redeemer Is Faithful and True – This song was written by James Isaac Elliot and Chapman and originally appeared on his 1987 album First Hand.
- Easter Hymns Playlist. Enjoy this new Easter playlist, featuring 27 videos from Keith and Kristyn Getty, Matt Boswell, Matt Papa, Fernando Ortega, Joni Eareckson Tada, Andrew Peterson and more.
- Murder So Foul. Bob Dylan recently released his first new original song since 2012, the powerful and nearly 17-minute “Murder So Foul”. The song is about the JFK assassination, and much more.
- 25 Ways to Worship God on YouTube. Brett McCracken shares worship videos – old hymns, contemporary stadium anthems, even a little Bach – he has found most comforting in recent days, and hopes will be of comfort to you too.
- Andrew Peterson on the Spiritual Process of Creativity. Enjoy this interview with musician and author Andrew Peterson on Middays with Susie Larson.
- Love One Another. Check out the uplifting video for “Love One Another” from the Newsboys, and featuring a brief appearance from Kevin Max of DC Talk.
- Getty Family Hymn Sing. Keith and Kristyn Getty and their girls offer a hymn sing weekly that you can watch on Facebook.
Christ Our Hope in Life and Death – Shane and Shane
“Christ Our Hope in Life and Death” is a new Easter hymn written by Keith Getty, Matt Boswell, Jordan Kauflin, Matt Merker and Matt Papa. Enjoy this new version of the song from Shane and Shane.
What is our hope in life and death?
Christ alone, Christ alone.
What is our only confidence?
That our souls to him belong.
Who holds our days within his hand?
What comes, apart from his command?
And what will keep us to the end?
The love of Christ, in which we stand.
O sing hallelujah!
Our hope springs eternal;
O sing hallelujah!
Now and ever we confess
Christ our hope in life and death.
What truth can calm the troubled soul?
God is good, God is good.
Where is his grace and goodness known?
In our great Redeemer’s blood.
Who holds our faith when fears arise?
Who stands above the stormy trial?
Who sends the waves that bring us nigh
Unto the shore, the rock of Christ?
Unto the grave, what shall we sing?
“Christ, he lives; Christ, he lives!”
And what reward will heaven bring?
Everlasting life with him.
There we will rise to meet the Lord,
Then sin and death will be destroyed,
And we will feast in endless joy,
When Christ is ours forevermore.