Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


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MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS

Restoration – Lecrae
****

This long-awaited album, Lecrae’s ninth studio album, is his follow-up to 2018’s collaboration album with Zaytoven Let the Trap Say Amen, and is his first solo album since 2017’s All Things Work Together. The album doesn’t disappoint.

Four songs were released prior to the full album. Restoration is the companion release to his upcoming book I Am Restored: How I Lost My Religion but Found My Faith. The album has Lecrae partnering with a large number of guest artists, songwriters and producers. The theme of Lecrae’s restoration from life’s difficulties weaves throughout the album. As expected, the production is crystal clear and the performances are all of a high quality.  The Road to Restoration, a behind the scenes look about the making of the album was released in three parts shortly before the album’s release.
Below are a few comments about each song.

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  • More of this review and reviews of Chris Tomlin and Friends
  • Music News
  • Song of the Week Lyrics – Sunday Morning by Lecrae, featuring Kirk Franklin

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MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS


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:

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

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MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS


Great Commission – Sing! The Life of Christ Quintology EP – Keith and Kristyn Getty and Friends
****

Sing! The Life of Christ: Quintology is the fourth album to be released from Keith and Kristyn Getty’s Sing! worship music conferences, following 2018’s Sing! Live at The Getty Music Worship Conference and 2019’s Sing! Psalms: Ancient + Modern (Live At The Getty Music Worship Conference) and Sing! An Irish Christmas – Live At The Grand Ole Opry House.
The new album is being released in five separate EPs over a period of several months. The project will follow the five main themes of the 2019 Sing! conference – the Incarnation, Passion, Resurrection, Commission, and Ascension of Jesus Christ, and include approximately 30 songs. To find out more about my takeaways from the 2019 conference, held in Nashville, read my article “Reflections From the 2019 Sing! Getty Worship Conference here.
The album was recorded at the Gaylord Opryland Convention Center, the Grand Ole Opry House and the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. Everything that the Gettys and their musical friends do is with excellence. Throughout, the songwriting, singing and musical performances are of a very high quality, especially noteworthy for a live recording.
The fourth EP to be released is on the Great Commission. Below are a few comments about each song:

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  • More of this review and reviews of
    • Covers EP by Switchfoot
    • The Worship Initiative, Vol. 20 by Shane and Shane and Various Artists
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  • Song of the Week Lyrics

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MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS

Rough and Rowdy Ways – Bob Dylan
****

Rough and Rowdy Ways is 79-year-old Bob Dylan’s 39th studio album, and his first of original material since 2012’s Tempest. The title of the album comes from the 1929 song “My Rough and Rowdy Ways” by Jimmie Rodgers. Between Tempest and the new album, Dylan released three albums (one of them being a triple album), of traditional pop standards covers, many of which had been recorded by Frank Sinatra, as well as seven volumes in his ongoing Bootleg Series. The ten new songs here, which cover nearly 71 minutes, have themes of love, mortality, menace, and doom, and make allusions to many historical figures and works of art. Dylan is backed by his touring band, he wrote all songs, and it is assumed that it was self-produced, though there are no producer credits given.
The album, his first album of new material since he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2016, is one of my favorite releases of 2020 thus far. Below are a few comments about each song:
I Contain Multitudes – This was the second song released prior to album’s release. The title comes from Song of Myself, 51 from Walt Whitman. Dylan sings the song beautifully in a low register over an acoustic guitar and cello. He’s a man of contradictions, a man of many moods, he contains multitudes
Key lyric:
I’m just like Anne Frank, like Indiana Jones
And them British bad boys, the Rolling Stones

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  • More of this review and a review of Blues with Friends by Dion
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MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS


Go – John Schlitt
****

I first heard the incredible voice of John Schlitt in 1975 when I was a freshman in college and he was the lead singer of Head East. Their album Flat as a Pancake had two singles that were getting a lot of play on the radio – “Never Been Any Reason” and “Love Me Tonight”. I was excited when I heard that Schlitt had joined the Christian band Petra as lead singer in 1986. During his tenure with the band, Petra earned 10 Dove Awards and four Grammys. Schlitt has been inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame as the lead singer of Petra. Now, 45 years after Flat as a Pancake, and at age 70, he has released Go, his sixth solo album, and his voice still sounds amazing. I thoroughly enjoyed this new album, mostly made up of rockers.

Here are a few comments about each song:

Go – This up-tempo song was written by Schlitt and Mark Lee Townsend, with Townsend producing. The song features acoustic guitar, bass, electric guitar and drums. Petra’s John Lawry is among those adding backing vocals. The song addresses the question of what our path is. There is no time to stop. Take your shot and keep moving on. An excellent opener.

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    • United: Live – Newsboys
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MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS

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:

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§  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 Continue reading


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MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS


Resurrection – Sing! The Life of Christ Quintology – Keith and Kristyn Getty and Friends
****

Sing! The Life of Christ: Quintology is the fourth album to be released from Keith and Kristyn Getty’s Sing! worship music conferences, following 2018’s Sing! Live at The Getty Music Worship Conference and 2019’s Sing! Psalms: Ancient + Modern (Live At The Getty Music Worship Conference) and Sing! An Irish Christmas – Live At The Grand Ole Opry House.
The new album is being released in five separate EPs over a period of several months. The project will follow the five main themes of the 2019 Sing! conference – Incarnation, Passion, Resurrection, Commission, and Ascension of Jesus Christ, and include 30 songs. To find out more about my takeaways from the 2019 conference, held in Nashville, read my article “Reflections From the 2019 Sing! Getty Worship Conference here.
The album was recorded at the Gaylord Hotel Convention Center, the Grand Ole Opry House and the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. Everything that the Gettys and their musical friends do is with excellence. Throughout, the songwriting, singing and musical performances are of a very high quality, especially noteworthy for a live recording.
The third EP to be released is on the Resurrection. Below are a few comments about each song:

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  • More of this review and a review of Christ Be All EP by Grace Worship
  • Music News
  • Song of the Week Lyrics

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MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS


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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MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS

American Standard – James Taylor
****

American Standard is James Taylor’s 19th studio album, and first new album since 2015’s Before This World. The songs on the album are songs he has always known. He writes in the liner notes that most were part of his family’s record collection, the first music he heard as a kid growing up in North Carolina.
Work on the album began a little over two years ago when John Pizzarelli joined Taylor at the Barn, his recording studio in Massachusetts to work on a few songs. Taylor loved the sound of their two guitars together, and that forms the basic sound of these songs, giving it the feel of Taylor’s early recordings. As he reinterprets these songs, he is supported by his regular family of players who tour and record with him, as well as contributions from Viktor Krauss (upright bass), Stuart Duncan (violin) and Jerry Douglas (dobro). The album is produced by Taylor, along with Dave O’Donnell and John Pizzarelli.
Below are a few comments about each of the songs on the album:

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  • More of this review and reviews of
    • More Blood, More Tracks: The Bootleg Series Vol. 14 – Bob Dylan
    • Live from the NATIVE TONGUE Tour – Switchfoot
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  • Song of the Week Lyrics

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