Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


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Hymns in the Round – Shane and Shane

The latest project from the duo Shane and Shane is an album of ten hymns and worship songs from acoustic studio sessions held in Dallas in November, 2019. Most (eight of ten) songs included here were also included on their 2019 Hymns Vol. 2 album. The difference here is that the songs are performed “unplugged”.

Below are a few comments about each song:

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:
§  More of this review and a review of The Lost Demos by TobyMac
§  Music News
§  Song of the Week Lyrics- Forever Jesus by Stuart Townend with Keith and Kristyn Getty

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, piano, bass, backing vocals, banjo (giving it a bit of a NEEDTOBREATHE sound), cello/fiddle, and light drums.
My Jesus I Love Thee – This hymn was written by William R. Featherston in 1864. It features acoustic guitar, bass, cello/fiddle, light percussion, piano and backing vocals.
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, bass, backing vocals, cello/fiddle, synth, light percussion, and piano.
Living Waters (As the Deer) – “Living Waters” was written by Kristyn Getty and Ed Cash. “As the Deer” was written by Martin Nystrom. The song features some nice percussion and banjo, cello/fiddle, piano, acoustic guitar, bass and backing vocals. “Living Waters” has a nice beat and country music sound.
Ancient of Days – This song was written by Jonny Robinson, Rich Thompson, Michael Farren and Jesse Reeves. It features acoustic guitar, cello/fiddle, piano, backing vocals and drums. This is a bit of a slower version of the song than CityAlight’s.
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 DeShazoThe song features acoustic guitar, synth, piano, drums, bass, cello/fiddle, backing vocals and banjo.
Come Behold The Wondrous Mystery – This song was written by Matt Boswell, Matt Papa and Michael Bleeker. It features acoustic guitar, synth, cello/fiddle, bass, percussion and backing vocals. The song builds powerfully towards the end.
Oh Lord Almighty – This song, which may be less familiar to many, was written by Jon Able and Shane Barnard. It includes an excellent lead vocal, acoustic guitar, synth, drums, bass, piano, and backing vocals.
Power of The Cross – This song was written by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend. It features, synth, piano, acoustic guitar, backing vocals, bass, drums and cello/fiddle.
All I Have is Christ – This song was written by Jordan Kauflin. It features an excellent lead vocal, acoustic guitar, cello/fiddle, bass, backing vocals and light drums.

Best songs:
Living Waters (As the Deer)
Ancient of Days
Come Behold the Wondrous Mystery
All I Have is Christ

The Lost Demos – TobyMac

This surprise EP is the result of TobyMac digging through old laptops and hard drives during this Covid-19 quarantine period, and realizing that he had some good songs there that had not been released. These were songs that had not been included on previous albums for one reason or another.
Don’t let the word “Demos” in the album’s title scare you away. These are excellent songs, with the level of writing, performance and production you would expect from TobyMac.

Below are a few comments about each song:
On Your Own – This song from 2017 was written and produced by Christopher Stevens and TobyMac. The song is about the fact that we will never be on own our own, as God will always be there with us. The song has a good beat, driven by keys, finger snaps, drums and backing vocals.
Drivin’ Me – This song from 2016 was written by David Garcia, Mat Kearney, Robert Marvin and TobyMac. The song was produced by Garcia and TobyMac. The song is about God being in control of his life through every twist and turn that the world brings. The easy-going song, which begins with a Mat Kearney feel guitar, features keys, finger snaps, bass, percussion, backing vocals and a catchy chorus.
The Real You – This 2018 song was written and produced by Christopher Stevens and TobyMac. The passionate song is about Toby’s relationship with his son Truett (who died October 23, 2019). He’d not been himself, the pain had him acting like someone else. The song features bass, drums and keys.
Rich – This upbeat 2016 song was written by Bryan Fowler, Mr. Talkbox and TobyMac. It was produced by Fowler and TobyMac and features Mr. Talkbox. Rather than the riches of this world, he wants to be rich in love, loaded with friends and family. The easy-going beat features keys, finger snaps, bass, drums, horns, backing vocals and a memorable chorus.
Home – This 2017 song was written and produced by Dave Lubben and TobyMac. This song is about Toby being lost without God’s love, so he’s coming home. The song has a good beat, driven by keys, finger snaps, bass and percussion.
Key lyric:
I don’t know how You’ve been so patient
With this one-sided arrangement
Woulda washed my hands and called it history
But You pursue with such intention
It’s beyond my comprehension
To see the love I took for granted come after me

Love of My Life – This 2014 song (the oldest on the EP), was written by Cary Barlowe, David Garcia, Jesse Frasure and TobyMac and produced by Garcia and TobyMac. This upbeat song is about his total dependence on God, though it is also one of those songs that could be a song to his wife instead. (“I-I-I remember the first time I met You (Met You), My heart raged, jumped out my Earth suit”). The driving beat is driven by guitar, bass, percussion and backing vocals.
Fighting for Your Life – This 2017 song was written and produced by Bryan Fowler and TobyMac. This is a song to his wife. He will be the last man standing by her, fighting for her heart. The chorus features a memorable beat, driven by keys, percussion, horns and backing vocals.

Best songs:
Drivin’ Me

  • Together (We’ll Get Through This). Check out Steven Curtis Chapman’s latest, “Together (We’ll Get Through This”), featuring Brad Paisley, Tasha Cobbs Leonard, and Lauren Alaina. He states “I hope this song serves as an encouragement to unite together, serve one another, and bear each other’s burdens, especially now during this moment in history.”
  • A Whole Lot Different, A Whole Lot the Same. On this song, which was recorded remotely during the pandemic, Charlie Peacock is joined by Jimmy Abegg, Sam Ashworth, Brent Bourgeois, Eric Heilman, Michael Roe, Aaron Smith, Bongo Bob Smith and Roger Smith, for this moving 2020 version of “Whole Lot Different Whole Lot the Same”, which was first recorded in 1984. This version adds a new musical/lyrical section and celebrates decades of friendship and music.
  • Light the Way. Enjoy this video of Matt Maher performing his song “Light the Way”, which is included on his new album Alive & Breathing.
  • Hymn to Him. This song, from Dion (“The Wanderer”, “Runaround Sue”), was originally on his 1986 Contemporary Christian album Velvet and Steel. The new version, included on his upcoming album Blues with Friends, features Patti Scialfa on backing vocals, and husband Bruce Springsteen on guitar.
  • Together. Enjoy this uplifting new song “Together” by For King and Country, and featuring Kirk Franklin and Tori Kelly.

Forever Jesus by Stuart Townend with Keith and Kristyn Getty

“Forever Jesus” is a beautiful new worship song sung by Stuart Townend with Keith and Kristyn Getty. The song was written by Townend and Matt Papa, and was recorded live at the Sing! 2019 worship conference. Listen to the song here.

My hymn of praise shall be forever Jesus,
my firm foundation in shifting sands.
My strength and hope
through many fears and failures, the disappointments of the past.
His constant love has held me fast.

So, for all my days I will sing my praise
 to the King forever Jesus.
Though the storms may rage, He is strong to save.
He’s the King forever Jesus!

My song of joy shall be forever Jesus,
who bore my suff’ring, who made a way.
His life a gift, His death a precious ransom
that wipes the sinner’s guilt away,
and turns my night to glorious day!

My final breath shall be forever Jesus,
when shadows lengthen before my eyes;
my Lord and Friend,
companion through the valley
 when dearest ones are left behind,
His hand will lead me to the Light.

So, for all my days I will sing my praise
to the King forever Jesus.
Though the storms may rage, He is strong to save.
He’s the King forever Jesus.

When I meet His gaze, I will sing my praise
 to the King forever Jesus.
All my sorrows past, I am home at last
with my King forever Jesus,
with my King forever Jesus
with my King forever Jesus!

Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence – married to my best friend Tammy, a graduate of Covenant Seminary, St. Louis Cardinals fan, formerly a manager at a Fortune 50 organization, and in leadership at my local church. I am a life-long learner and have a passion to help people develop, and to use their strengths to their fullest potential. I am an INTJ on Myers-Briggs, 3 on the Enneagram, my top five Strengthsfinder themes are: Belief, Responsibility, Learner, Harmony, and Achiever, and my two StandOut strength roles are Creator and Equalizer. My favorite book is the Bible, with Romans my favorite book of the Bible, and Colossians 3:23 and 2 Corinthians 5:21 being my favorite verses. Some of my other favorite books are The Holiness of God and Chosen by God by R.C. Sproul, and Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper. I enjoy music in a variety of genres, including modern hymns, Christian hip-hop and classic rock. My book Called to Lead: Living and Leading for Jesus in the Workplace and Tammy’s book Study, Savor and Share Scripture: Becoming What We Behold are available in paperback and Kindle editions on Amazon.

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