Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


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MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS

The Sing! Sessions: Doxology – Keith and Kristyn Getty and Friends
****

This is the second album of music released from the 2022 Sing! Conference. (Read my reflections from the conference here, and my review of the first album
Sing! Christ Our Hope In Life And Death: Live At The Getty Music Worship Conference here).
The songs on this album focus on doxology, hymns of praise to God. As with everything the Getty’s do, they are done with excellence (songwriting, musicianship and production). In addition to Keith and Kristyn Getty, artists featured on the album include Kirk Whalum, Blair Linne, Jordan Kauflin, Skye Peterson, Laura Story, the Foto Sisters, Bryan Fowler, Matt Merker and Bill Gaither.

Here are a few comments about each of the ten songs:

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  • More of this review
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  • Song of the Week Lyrics ~ Dreams by NEEDTOBREATHE, featuring Judah & the Lion

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MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS

Moving on Skiffle – Van Morrison
**** 

The prolific 77-year-old Morrison returns with his second double album in three years, with a solo album in between, his 43rd studio album overall. Moving on Skiffle includes skiffle-influenced covers of 23 blues, country, folk, gospel, and jazz songs. Skiffle combined folk, blues, country, bluegrass and jazz played with a mixture of homemade or improvised instruments (washboards, jugs, washtub bass, etc.). Morrison has previously explored the sounds of his youth in the mid-1950’s Belfast on his 2000 album The Skiffle Sessions: Live in Belfast with Lonnie Donegan and Chris Barber, a favorite of mine.

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  • More of this review
  • Music News
  • Song of the Week Lyrics ~ I Set My Hope on Jesus (Hymn for a Deconstructing Friend) by Keith & Kristyn Getty, Matt Boswell and Matt Papa

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MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS

Shadow Kingdom – Bob Dylan
****

In May 2021, not able to tour due to the pandemic, Bob Dylan offered a pay for view “concert” titled Shadow Kingdom: The Early Songs of Bob Dylan. It was directed by Alma Har’el and billed as a live, pay-per-view concert. Set in a fictitious Marseilles bar called the Bon Bon Club, the event was actually a performance of a studio recording, with musicians – Alex Burke, Buck Meek, Joshua Crumbly (guitars), Shahzad Ismaily (accordion) and Janie Cowan (upright bass) – playing the roles of the actual personnel who recorded the original music with Dylan.

The new Shadow Kingdom album features thirteen songs from the film and an instrumental piece called ‘Sierra’s Theme,’ which played over the film’s closing credits. The personnel on the album are – Dylan (vocals, harmonica), Jeff Taylor (accordion), Greg Leisz (pedal steel guitar, mandolin), Tim Pierce, T-Bone Burnett, Ira Ingber (guitars) and Don Was (upright bass). There are no drums or piano.

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  • More of this review and a review of Live from Red Rocks by Mac Powell
  • Music News
  • Song of the Week Lyrics ~ God of Every Grace by Keith & Kristyn Getty, Matt Boswell, and Matt Papa

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MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS


Simple Songs for Young and Old – CityAlight
****

CityAlight is a music ministry from St. Paul’s Castle Hill, a church in Castle Hill, Sydney. The vision of CityAlight is to write songs with biblically rich lyrics and simple melodies for the Christian church to sing.
Simple Songs for Young and Old is a new EP consisting of six songs. CityAlight has stated that these are not songs only for children or only for adults. They are written to resource adults and children, singing together. Their prayer is that these songs might be a blessing in churches, Sunday schools, morning breakfasts, car rides to school and work, by the bedside, and in private prayer.
Here are a few brief comments about each song on this excellent new collection:

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  • More of this review
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  • Song of the Week Lyrics

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MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS


Fever/Sky – Wilder Woods
***

Bear Rinehart (lead singer/songwriter for NEEDTOBREATHE) brings his strong vocals to his second full-length solo album as Wilder Woods (the first names of his two older sons). Rinehart wrote or co-wrote all of the songs, most of them during the pandemic. The songs are generally about horizontal relationships. The album was produced by Cason Cooley, and features Tyler Burkum and Carl Broemel on guitars, Aaron Sterling on drums, Tony Lucido on bass, and background singers.

Below are a few comments about each song:

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  • More of this review
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  • Song of the Week Lyrics ~ Everknown by NEEDTOBREATHE

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MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS

Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs Live – Shane and Shane
****

The latest album from worship duo Shane and Shane (Shane Barnard and Shane Everett) was recorded live at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. The album was produced by Bryan Fowler with Shane Barnard, who also co-wrote each song. The album includes additional vocals from The Worship Initiative’s Davy Flowers, Aaron Williams, and John Marc Kohl, as well as Trenton Bell.
I really enjoyed this new live worship album, and it is one that I will revisit often. It is my favorite album of the first half of 2023.
Below are a few comments about each song:

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  • More of this review
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  • Song of the Week Lyrics~ Our God Will Go Before Us – Keith & Kristyn Getty, Matt Boswell, and Matt Papa

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MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS


Seven Psalms – Paul Simon

Seven Psalms by 81-year-old Paul Simon is unlike any album he’s released previously. The idea for the album, his fifteenth studio project, came to Simon in a series of dreams in 2019. Watch the trailer for the album here.
The album, which was released digitally as one long (33 minute) track, is meant to be listened to in its entirety, not as individual songs. The beautifully sounding album features Simon’s singing backed by his playing acoustic guitar, with other sounds (flutes, choral harmonies, bass harmonica, etc.) mixed in.
The album has a sense of a last testament from Simon, who is Jewish. It finds him preparing for death and hashing out belief and doubt. The opening song “The Lord” begins with:

I’ve been thinking about the great migration
Noon and night they leave the flock

And I imagine their destination
Meadow grass, jagged rock

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  • More of this review
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  • Song of the Week Lyrics:  “Holy Forever” by Chris Tomlin

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MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS


Lamb of God (Live) – Matt Redman
****

In his new album “Lamb of God,” his seventeenth, longtime respected worship leader Matt Redman – “10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)”, “Blessed Be Your Name” – gives the church the gift of new songs written for congregational singing. The album, which was produced by Steve Marcia, was recorded live at the Mission in San Capistrano, California, a house of worship first established in 1776.
Among the themes on the album include Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross, the goodness of Jesus’s heart, the grace of Jesus, the unconditional love, hope and joy of God, the holiness of God, praising God when the blessings flow and when it seems they don’t, and worshipping God no matter what comes.
The album features three versions of the song “Son of Suffering” and a new version of Redman’s classic “Heart of Worship.”
Below are a few comments about each song on this excellent new album:

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  • More of this review
  • Song of the Week Lyrics ~ Heart of Worship by Matt Redman

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MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS

The Beautiful Letdown (Our Version) – Switchfoot
****

Although Switchfoot has long been one of my favorite bands, I haven’t really enjoyed their past three releases (Covers (EP), interrobang, and this is our Christmas album). To celebrate the twentieth anniversary of their breakthrough album The Beautiful Letdown, the band has completely re-recorded the album and released it as The Beautiful Letdown (Our Version). The band’s fourth studio album was released February 25, 2003 and has sold over three million copies. It features the popular songs “Meant to Live” and “Dare You to Move”.
This is not like U2 reimagining their songs on their recent Songs of Surrender album. There are not major changes to the songs here. There are a few minor lyric changes on “Gone”: “Al Pacino’s cash” is now “Al Capone’s cash“, “Lexus cages” is now “Tesla cages“, and “my high school sweets” is now “my high school sweethearts.”
This re-recording sounds great with a clean mix, and these songs remind me of why Switchfoot became one of my favorite bands in the first place.
The celebrate the anniversary of the album the band will be playing the album in its entirety for the first time on their current tour. For more information go here.

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  • A Review of Fragments ~ Time Out of Mind Sessions 1996-1997 The Bootleg Series Vol. 17 Deluxe Edition by Bob Dylan
  • Music News
  • Song of the Week Lyrics ~ “Dare You to Move” by Switchfoot

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MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS

HOPE – NF
****

HOPE is thirty-one-year-old NF’s (Nathan Feuerstein) fifth album, and first since 2021’s CLOUDS (THE MIXTAPE). NF has built a loyal following that has earned him over 30 billion global streams on music platforms.
Themes on the excellent new album include taking the reins of his life, staying true to himself, faith, overcoming odds, relationships (his mother, wife, child, and a failed relationship), being a lonely soul, being at the top of his game, and running from darkness and depression. There are two guest artists on the album – Cordae and Julie Michaels.
Here are a few brief comments about each song:

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More of this review and a review of Sing! Christ Our Hope in Life and Death. Live at the Getty Worship Music Conference by Keith & Kristyn Getty and Friends
  • Music News
  • Song of the Week Lyrics

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