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MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS

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New Creation – Mac Powell
****

I’ve long enjoyed Mac Powell’s music, mostly from his time as lead singer of four-time Grammy winners Third Day. I also enjoyed his 2019 album Back Again with Mac Powell and the Family Reunion. In fact, my wife Tammy and I saw Powell with his band the Family Reunion in November 2019, which was the last concert we saw before concerts were shut down due to the pandemic.

Me and Mac

Powell has also released two country music solo albums, but this is his first solo album of Christian music, and it’s a good one. He brings his distinctive baritone voice – one of the best in music – to these songs with a bit of a country/southern flavor. The album is produced by Jonathan Smith, Hank Bentley, Jeff Pardo, Seth Mosely, Colby Wedgeworth, and Ed Cash. Powell co-wrote each song, collaborating with Jonathan Smith, Ethan Hulse, Seth Mosley, Jeff Pardo, Brenton Brown, Hank Bentley, Matt Maher, Benji Cowart, Casey Beathard and Tommy Iceland.
Below are a few comments about each song:

 

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River of Life – This upbeat anthem features organ, hand claps, backing vocals, guitar, bass and drums. There is healing in the river of life.
Key lyrics:
Brothers, sisters, come on down to that river
Guaranteed you’ll never be the same
There’s a fountain flowing from the heart of the Savior
Bring your sins and all your guilty stains
Let that river of life wash it all away

New Creation – This joyful song tells how God changed Powell (2 Corinthians 5:17). The song features backing vocals, hand claps, guitar, bass and drums.
Key lyrics:
You brought me blessings out of tragedy
You turned my old song into a symphony
And with your Spirit living inside of me
I’m a new creation
I’m a new creation

Love is the Reason – In this song, which Powell has said is his favorite on the album, Powell looks at three situations (his mom taking him to church, his brother fighting in the war, and Jesus dying for our sins), and says love was the reason for all three. The song features guitar, percussion, piano, organ, bass and backing vocals.
Key lyrics:
Love is the reason, love is the reason
Oh, love is the reason that I go
Standing up for what I believe in
That’s where my heart is leading
And love is the reason that I go

Be Praised – This song is about the name of the Lord being praised. The song features piano, bass, drums and backing vocals.
Key lyrics:
From the rising of the sun
To going down of the same
Let the name of the Lord be praised
Both now and forever more
All of heaven and earth proclaim
The name of the Lord be praised

1991 – This joyful song is about Powell being saved in 1991 at the age of 18. The song features guitar, drums, organ, hand claps, bass, piano, backing vocals and keys.
Key lyric:
By April 21st, 1991 I was worn out
tired from all the miles that I had run
Saw an old church and walked right in
Same old truth but it felt new then
On April 21st, 1991

The Center of It All – This song features guitar, drums, organ, piano, and bass. The song is about how from the beginning to the ending of Scripture Jesus is the center of it all.
Key lyrics:
From the beginning to the ending, You’re the center of it all
It’s for You and it’s from You, You and You alone
The Author of our story, let it all be for Your glory
From the beginning to the ending, You’re the center of it all

Joy of the Lord – This upbeat song about the joy of the Lord, based on Psalm 118:14, features keys, guitar, drums, bass, and backing vocals.
Key lyrics:
The joy of the Lord is my strength and my song
That sweet melody in my soul all day long
No matter what comes I’ll just keep going on
Cause’ the joy of the Lord is my strength and my song

Jesus You Are – The song about Jesus being whatever we need, features piano, hand claps, organ, backing vocals, and drums.
Key lyrics:
When I need rescue
You are my ransom
When I need shelter
You are my home
When I am weak Lord
You’re what I reach for
Lord I believe, whatever I need, Jesus you are

Everlasting Arms – This song about the everlasting arms of God, samples “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms” by Anthony J. Showalter and Elisha Hoffman. The song features piano, organ, backing vocals, guitar, bass, drums,
Key lyrics:
In the morning I am met with Your mercy
In the evening I am wrapped in Your love
There’s no end to Your reach
There’s no place I’d rather be
I’m leaning on Your everlasting arms

Baptized – This song about being baptized, features Matt Maher on vocals, and piano, guitar, bass, drums, and backing vocals. The song references the hymn “Nothing But the Blood of Jesus” by Robert Lowry.
Key lyrics:
Tell me how deep and wide is the love of Jesus
My soul will testify to the water’s edges
I’ve been born again
Had to die to find new life
In the water, in the fire
I’ve been baptized

All of the songs are strong musically and lyrically. My favorites are:
River of Life
Be Praised
1991
Everlasting Arms
Baptized


Pass the Promise. Here is Kristyn Getty and Sandra McCracken performing “Pass the Promise” from the 2021 Sing! Getty Music Conference at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.  Each verse of the song follows the pattern of Hannah’s prayer in 1 Samuel 2. The gift of a son shapes her bold and faithful song and beckons us to take our place in this family of faith as we “pass the promise” to our sons, daughters, and the generations to come.


Come to Jesus (Rest in Him) by Matt Merker and Jordan Kauflin

This week’s song of the week is “Come to Jesus (Rest in Him)”, written and performed by Matt Merker and Jordan Kauflin at the 2021 Sing! Getty Worship Conference, held at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. Watch the performance here.

Are you weary, heavy laden?
Come and lay your burdens down
Jesus calls you, Jesus draws you,
Rest in Him
He is gentle, he is lowly
He delights to bring us peace
Tender shepherd, mighty Savior
Rest in him

How sure, his compassion for us
Oh how deep is his love,
So come, come to Jesus, and rest in him

Are you hopeless, are you guilty
Caught in shame for all your sin?
He pursues you, to forgive you
Rest in Him
He has paid for every failure
Mercy flows in endless streams
Come and follow, freedom calls you
Rest in Him

​Are you waiting, in your sorrows
For this broken world to heal?
He is coming, soon returning
Rest in Him
We will see him, We will know him
O what heights of grace revealed
From his kindness, every promise
Then fulfilled
Trust in Jesus, he will keep us
To the end

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. amazon.com/author/billpence amazon.com/author/tammypence

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