Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS

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Vintage – Shane and Shane
***

I was introduced to the duo Shane and Shane at the Getty’s Sing! worship conference in Nashville a few years ago, and have enjoyed their music ever since. This album of vintage worship songs, that you probably sang in your church in the 1990’s, was recorded live from home during the COVID-1 quarantine. It was produced and performed entirely by Shane Barnard and Shane Everett.
The duo gives these songs the treatment you would expect from them – acoustic (guitar, light percussion, keys), excellent harmonies, rather slow and extended versions.
I was introduced to a few of these songs on Michael W. Smith’s best-selling 2001 album Worship. There are also two Rich Mullins’ classics included.
Below are a few comments about each song on the album:

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More of this review and reviews of
    • Native Tongue (Reimagine/Remix) – Switchfoot
    • Heathen – GAWVI
  • Music News
  • Song of the Week Lyrics – “Drown” by Lecrae, featuring John Legend

Awesome God – This song was written by Rich Mullins. The song features acoustic guitar, excellent vocal harmonies, and bass.
Key lyric:
Our God is an awesome God
He reigns from Heaven above
With wisdom, power, and love.  
I Could Sing of Your Love Forever – This song was written by Martin Smith. The song features acoustic guitar, drums, bass and vocal harmonies.
Key lyric:
I’m happy to be in the truth
And I will daily lift my hands
For I will always sing of when
Your love came down

Draw Me Close – This song was written by Kelly Carpenter. The song features acoustic guitar, bass, keys, and vocal harmonies.
Key lyric:
You’re all I want
You’re all I’ve ever needed
You’re all I want
Help me know You are near

Knowing You – This song was written by Graham Kendrick. The song, which builds slowly, features acoustic guitar, keys, bass, and vocal harmonies.     
Key lyric:
Knowing You, Jesus, knowing You
There is no greater thing
You’re my all, You’re the best
You’re my joy, my righteousness
And I love You, Lord

Ancient of Days – This song was written by Gary Sadler and Jamie Harvill.  The song is upbeat, and features some excellent acoustic guitar, bass, light percussion, and vocal harmonies.
Key lyric:
Blessing and honor, glory and power
Be unto the Ancient of Days
From every nation, all of creation
Bow before the Ancient of Days

As the Deer – This song was written by Martin J. Nystrom. The song features keys, acoustic guitar, and vocal harmonies.
Key lyric:
You alone are my strength, my shield
To You alone may my spirit yield
You alone are my heart’s desire
And I long to worship You

Sometimes by Step – This song was written by Rich Mullins and David Strasser. The song features acoustic guitar, bass, drums, and vocal harmonies.
Key lyric:
Oh God, You are my God
And I will ever praise You
Oh God, You are my God
And I will ever praise You
And I will seek You in the morning
And I will learn to walk in Your ways
And step by step You’ll lead me
And I will follow You all of my days

In the Secret– This song was written by Andy Park. The song features acoustic guitar, bass, drums, and vocal harmonies.
Key lyric:
I want to know You
I want to hear Your voice
I want to know You more
I want to touch You
I want to see Your face
I want to know You more

Lord I Lift Your Name on High – This song was written by Rick Founds. The song features acoustic guitar, drums, bass and vocal harmonies.
Key lyric:
You came from Heaven to earth
To show the way
From the earth to the cross
My debt to pay
From the cross to the grave
From the grave to the sky
Lord, I lift Your name on high

Breathe – This song was written by Marie Barnett. The song features acoustic guitar and some excellent vocal harmonies.
Key lyric:
And I, I’m desperate for You
And I, I’m lost without You
Oh, I’m lost without You

Best songs
Awesome God
Knowing You
Ancient of Days
Sometimes by Step


Native Tongue (Reimagine/Remix) – Switchfoot
***

Switchfoot kicked off 2019 with Native Tongue, their first album since 2016’s Where The Light Shines Through. They followed that up with a six song EP Live From The NATIVE TONGUE Tour in May, and recently released a new five song EP Native Tongue (Reimagine/Remix) on the one-year anniversary of the release of Native Tongue.
The EP includes two new remixes, as well as a collaboration with violinist Lindsey Stirling on “Voices,” and “West Coast Editions” of “Wonderful Feeling” and “All I Need,” the latter of which was previously only available as a webstore album preorder exclusive. Additional contributors include Brent Kutzle (One Republic), Will Chapman (Colony House), John Painter on horns (Fleming and John) and Mason Self.
I’m generally not a big fan of remix projects. And, although Switchfoot is one of my favorite bands, you have to wonder if another project of songs from Native Tongue, might be a bit of overkill (we now have four versions of the song “Native Tongue” for example).
Here are a few brief comments about each song on the EP:    
Wonderful Feeling (West Coast Edition) – This song was written by Tim Foreman and Jon Foreman. The upbeat song opens with keys and features some good drums, backing vocals and horns. Jon sings how it’s funny how you fight what you need the most. Though he has spent a lot of time chasing his shadow, he has a wonderful feeling and hopes set high. His prayer is to let God’s light be his.
All I Need (West Coast Edition) – This song was written by Tim Foreman and Jon Foreman and was also included in the live EP. The love song features keys, drums, and backing vocals. The chorus is memorable as he sings that all he needs is the air he breathes, the time they share and the ground beneath his feet. He wants to know if she believes in him.
Voices – This song was written by Brent Kutzle, Jon Foreman, Ryan Tedder, Tim Foreman and Tyler Spry, and features Lindsey Stirling on violin. The song, which was also included on the live EP, was inspired by a homeless man at the beach. In the chorus, Jon sings of having an army of voices in his head. Each moment is crowded with choices, which speak to him and drown out the voices.
Let It Happen (Will “FRANKLIN” Chapman Remix) – This song was written by Jon Foreman, and was also included on the live EP. This remix gives the song a significantly different sound – distorted vocals and electronic dance beat percussion. This life seems hollow, he doesn’t know the meaning and his body is aching. He doesn’t know what is going to happen tomorrow but he trusts God with his future.
Native Tongue (Mason Self Remix) – This song was written by Tim Foreman, Jon Foreman and Brent Kutzle. This upbeat remix features distorted vocals, keys, guitar and percussion. Love is the language, our native tongue. He wonders where we went wrong, we forgot our song. He wants the world to sing in our native tongue and use our lungs for love. Two versions of this song were included on the live EP.


Heathen – GAWVI
*** ½

Heathen is the third studio album by Christian hip-hop artist GAWVI. The 17-song album was produced by GAWVI and inspired by the letters of the Apostle Paul. The concept of a heathen is prevalent throughout the album, a word that GAWVI states has gotten lost in translation from how it was used in the Bible. He applies that to us, as we let labels influence and shape our identity.
GAWVI worked with a number of producers and co-writers on the album. There are also some special guests who make appearances. This is an excellent album, featuring some excellent beats.
Below are a few brief comments about each song:
Difficult – This song was written by WHATUPRG and features vocals from GAWVI’s daughter Giana. The song was produced by Jonathan Barahona and GAWVI. The vocals come over keys and synth. If we knew him would we would hate him and disown him. He’s just trying to be different for his wife and children.
Jit – This song was written by Aklesso, Wxlf, Rhomar Jessy, Andy Mineo and GAWVI. The song was produced by BEAM and GAWVI, and features vocals from Mineo. This song has a great beat. It was wonderful hearing Andy Mineo on this track about GAWVI’s story of coming to faith in Broward County, Florida.
Skull – This song was written by Wxlf, Jon Jon, Rhomar Jessy and GAWVI, and produced by Jonathan Barahona and GAWVI. The song has a driving, hard-hitting beat. This is his version of the Psalms. He brings in the concept of heathen at the end of the song.
Climate Change – This song was written by Aklesso, Wordsplayed and GAWVI, and produced by Kilawatts and GAWVI. The song features Aklesso and Wordsplayed. He doesn’t need lanes; he just needs God. He makes his music to the glory of God.
Not Too Far – This song was written by Aklesso, Dalton Diehl and GAWVI, and produced by GAWVI. The song has an easy-going beat. No matter how far away one gets, when a heathen comes running home, God is going to love them (Romans 8: 38-39).
Sin – This song was written by Daramola, Tray Haggerty, Ace Harris and GAWVI, and produced by Matt Cohen and GAWVI. The song features Daramola and Haggerty. The song features and easy-going beat, keys and backing vocals. He has sinned, and the devil wants him to think he won’t win, but through Christ’s victory on the cross, he has persevered.
Girl – This song was written by Aklesso and GAWVI and produced by GAWVI.
This is an upbeat, R&B flavored love song with a good bass beat. He loves it when he sees his girl praise the Lord that way.
So Alive – This mid-tempo song was written by Daramola, Konata Small, Ace Harris, Aklesso and GAWVI, and produced by Harris and GAWVI. The song features keys, percussion and bass. The song which at first appears to be a horizontal love song, is actually addressed to God.
All of Me – This short song was written by Aklesso, Rhomar Jessy and GAWVI and produced by GAWVI. The song features the vocal over keys. All that he asks is that God sees him as His own when he sins.
Who You Gon’ Be – This song was written by WHATUPRG, Rhomar Jessy, GAWVI, Israel Houghton and Trip Lee, and produced by Matt Cohen, BEAM and GAWVI. The song features Houghton, Lee and Cassandra Jolie. He asks “’Til you let go, ’til you let go, Who you gon’ be inside?”
Vanity – This song was written by Jonathan Barahona, Rhomar Jessy and GAWVI, and produced by Barahona and GAWVI and features Cassandra Jolie. The song has an excellent groove/beat with percussion and bass. His biggest fear is losing his wife. Many of his heroes have cheated. He references his words at the Dove Awards, saying he’s trying to find his way, dodging the flames.
Criminal – This song was written by Daramola and GAWVI and produced by GAWVI. The song features Daramola, keys, bass, percussion, backing vocals and an infectious beat. He doesn’t take it personal when people take shots at him. He’ll still show mercy to those who hurt him.
Jesus You Are – This song was written by Aklesso, Konata Small and GAWVI and produced by GAWVI. The song, about his complete dependence on God, has an easy-going vibe. He doesn’t know where he would be without God, who saved him from himself.
I’m Fine – This song was written by Konata Small, WHATUPRG, Rhomar Jessy and GAWVI, and produced by Matt Cohen and GAWVI. He has been hurt by those in the church. People don’t really want to know how he is doing, so he’ll just say that he’s fine. Forgiveness is key to moving forward.
Feed Dah Gang – This song was written by Rhomar Jessy, BEAM, GAWVI and Wxlf and produced by Jon Jon and GAWVI. The song features Wxlf. The confident lyrics come over a driving beat. He knows the devil is scheming, but he has an army of heathens.
Forty5 – This song was written by Wxlf, Rhomar Jessy, GAWVI, Parris Chariz and Tommy Royale, and produced by GAWVI. The song features Parris Chariz and Tommy Royale. The song has a driving beat, one PG-13 word and a number of basketball references. He’s been calling on Jesus for mercy.
Sinners Chaos – This song was written by Wxlf and GAWVI, and produced by Matt Cohen and GAWVI. The song is driven by guitar. The chaos is all around us.
Key lyric:
On and on I’m fightin’ this war
I been on this journey, yeah
Pilgrim in his progress, yeah
No matter the past, He knows who you are

Best songs
Jit
Climate Change
Who You Gon Be
Vanity


  • Separate Altogether Acoustic Series. Check out the videos for TobyMac’s Separate Altogether acoustic series, featuring new recordings of “I Just Need U.”, “See The Light”, “Edge Of My Seat” and “Overflow” plus 2 new songs from his The Lost Demos EP, “Rich” and “On Your Own”.
  • 25 Hymns to Sing in Troubled Times. Matt Merker writes “Here are 25 songs to sing in trying times. Though there’s a ton of relevant Christian music out there, I’ve limited myself to hymns suited for congregational singing, recognizing that many Christians won’t be able to sing with their churches this month. These songs may help soothe the wound of missing out on fellowship. For each song, I’ve selected an excerpt that especially seems to speak to our present situation.”

  “Drown” by Lecrae, featuring John Legend
This week’s song of the week is “Drown” from Lecrae, featuring John Legend. The song is from Lecrae’s long awaited album Restoration, which will be released August 21. Watch the video for “Drown” here.

[Chorus: John Legend]
Tell me that You’ll never let me down (Down)
Down (Down)
‘Cause You’re my final breath before I drown (Drown)
Drown (Drown)

[Verse 1: Lecrae]
I’m drownin’ (I’m drownin’)
I’m drownin’ (I’m drownin’)
Lost in this world, with these waves all around me
Deep in the darkness, where it’s heartless
I don’t know if I can make it, I’ll be honest that
I’m fadin’ (I’m fadin’)
I’m fadin’ (I’m fadin’)
Trapped and I feel like it ain’t no escapin’

Down to the bottom, all these problems go me drinkin’
Might drown in this bottle, all this drama got me thinkin’
[Pre-Chorus: Lecrae]
If I had one call, would You answer it?
Or would You take back all of Your promises?
‘Cause I don’t know who to turn to or who to trust
I don’t know who to turn to or who to trust so
[Chorus: John Legend]
Tell me that You’ll never let me down (Down)
Down (Down)
‘Cause You’re my final breath before I drown (Drown)
Drown
[Post-Chorus: John Legend]
You’re my last resort, when it’s too late
You’re the only one, who takes my pain away (Away)
Away
So tell me that You’ll never let me down (Down)
Me down (Down)
[Verse 2: Lecrae]
Come save me (Come save me)
Come save me (Come save me)
‘Cause I’ve been in way over my head lately
Shame got me sinkin’
Goin’ off the deep end
Heartache took my breath away, now I’m barely breathin’ and
I’m hopin’ (I’m hopin’)
I’m hopin’ (I’m hopin’)
‘Cause this the only thing that keeps me sober
I feel like I’m losin’ it (Yeah)
Like “What am I doin’ here?” (Yeah, yeah)
I need You to bail me out (Please)
I need You to pull me in
[Pre-Chorus: Lecrae & John Legend]
If I had one call, would You answer it? (Answer it)
Or would You take back all of Your promises? (Promises)
‘Cause I don’t know who to turn to or who to trust (Oh, oh)
I don’t know who to turn to or who to trust (So)
[Chorus: John Legend]
So tell me that You’ll never let me down (Woah, oh)
Down (Oh, oh-oh-oh)
‘Cause You’re my final breath before I drown (Oh I don’t wanna drown)
Drown (Yeah)
[Post-Chorus: John Legend]
You’re my last resort, when it’s too late
You’re the only one, who takes my pain away (Away)
Away (So)
So tell me that You’ll never let me down (Oh, oh, oh-oh-oh)
Me down

Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence ~ married to my best friend for more than 40 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.

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