Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


Leave a comment

MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS


Stomping Ground – Dion
****

I first became interested in Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Dion (DiMucci), now 82, when he recorded five Contemporary Christian Music albums between 1980 and 1986. I’ve enjoyed his music ever since.
Dion follows up his 2020 album Blues with Friends (one of my favorites that year), with Stomping Ground, a blues album that again finds him collaborating with music greats with whom he shares mutual admiration. Most of the album’s fourteen songs were written by Dion and his songwriting partner Mike Aquilina. The sole non-original is “Red House,” the Jimi Hendrix song that has become a blues standard.
The album was produced by Wayne Hood with Dion, and features guests Boz Scaggs, Mark Knopfler, Eric Clapton, Peter Frampton, Patti Scialfa, Bruce Springsteen, Billy F Gibbons, Keb’ Mo’, Sonny Landreth, Joe Menza, Mike Menza, Marcia Ball, Jimmy Vivino, Rickie Lee Jones, Wayne Wood, Joe Bonamassa, and G.E. Smith. The liner notes were written by Pete Townshend.

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More of this review
  • Music News
  • Song of the Week Lyrics ~ Always by Chris Tomlin

Continue reading


Leave a comment

MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS


The End – Trip Lee
**** 

The End is the multi-talented (pastor, conference speaker, author, rapper), Trip Lee’s first new album since 2016’s The Waiting Room. Lee has said that the title symbolizes coming to the end of ourselves, where one door closes so another can open. Themes on the album include Lee’s return to music after six years, dealing with illness for fifteen years, Christ being better than riches, Heaven, divisions in our society, fame, things he wishes were different in the world, having nothing left to prove, love for his wife and new life in Christ.
Here are a few brief comments about each song:
Let Go – This song was written and produced by Lee. Most of the vocals on this song are handled by Chastity (Chazz). Lee sings only the fourth verse.
Key lyric:
Lord, grab my soul
Lose my hold on things that hold me back

Right Out the Gate – This hard-hitting song was written and produced by Mashell and Lee. Some thought he had left music, but he’s back, still on his game.
Key lyric:
Thought he was gone, I think He back
He ain’t wait long, on the attack
Still unashamed, you know it’s facts

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More of this review
  • Music News
  • Song of the Week Lyrics

Continue reading


Leave a comment

MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS


Dreamland – Amos Lee
*** ½

I’ve been a fan of Amos Lee’s music since seeing him open for Bob Dylan in 2007. Dreamland is Lee’s eighth album and the follow-up to 2018’s My New Moon. The album sound quality is great, thanks to producer Leggy Langdon. The eleven songs feature Lee’s excellent vocals, and a variety of musical styles, including acoustic ballads, gospel and R&B.
Lee has said “I’ve had a lot of episodes with anxiety in my life and now I feel much more equipped to handle them, partly because my family and friends have always been so supportive of me. Over the course of my life, I’ve come to understand that music is my bridge to other people. I have no idea what the waters are like below that bridge—it might be lava for all I know—but music allows me to float over the whole thing and connect.”

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More of this review
  • Music News
  • Song of the Week Lyrics

Continue reading


Leave a comment

MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS

Get Back: The Rooftop Performance
****

Over Thanksgiving weekend 2021, Disney+ released Peter Jackson’s The Beatles Get Back. See my review here. In addition, there were special remix editions of the Beatles 1970 album Let It Be. Now, for the first time, the complete recording of the Beatles final concert appearance, recorded January 30, 1969 on top of the band’s Apple Corps headquarters in Central London, has been released on streaming sites as Get Back: The Rooftop Performance. Running a little more than thirty-eight minutes, the concert includes new stereo and Dolby Atmos mixes by Giles Martin (son of Beatles producer George Martin), and Sam Okell, consists of ten tracks – “Get Back” (three versions), “Don’t Let Me Down” (two versions), “I’ve Got a Feeling” (two versions), “Dig a Pony”, “One After 909”, and a brief instrumental “God Save the Queen”. Three of the songs from the rooftop performance made it on to the original Let It Be album – “I’ve Got a Feeling,” “Dig a Pony,” and “One After 909.”
A film version of the rooftop concert was shown in select IMAX theatres January 30, and will be available on Blu-Ray and DVD.

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • A review of Stand by the Newsboys
  • Music News
  • Song of the Week Lyrics – “Stand” by the Newsboys, featuring TobyMac

Continue reading


Leave a comment

MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS

Roll Tape: Live from Melody League Studios – Jon Foreman
****

2021 was a busy year for Jon Foreman. Roll Tape: Live from Melody League Studios follows the February release of his solo album Departures (four of the twelve songs included here are from Departures), and the August release of Switchfoot’s album interrobang, followed by a tour with NEEDTOBREATHE. Foreman has described Roll Tape, which has an “unplugged” feeling, and some of which may have come from his livestreams, as his attempt to make a live album, his first, in a year when there was essentially no live music due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
I enjoyed this new live solo release from Foreman, as I did his Departures, interestingly much more than I enjoyed interrobang from Switchfoot.
Below are a few comments about each song:
Terminal – This song, originally released on The Wonderlands: Sunlight, was written by Foreman. The song, which builds gently, features guitar, some excellent cello, bass, backing vocals, and drums.
Key lyric:
We are, we are the living souls
With terminal hearts, terminal parts
Flickering like candles, shimmering like candles
We’re fatally flawed, we’re fatally flawed

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More of this review
  • Music News
  • Song of the Week Lyrics:  Promised Land – TobyMac and Sheryl Crow

Continue reading


Leave a comment

MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS


Never Land II – Andy Mineo
****

Andy Mineo, who has also released a number of EPs, returns with his fourth full-length album, and first album of all-new material since 2017’s Andy Mineo and Wordsplayed Present Magic & Bird. It is a follow-up to 2014’s Never Land EP, which featured the gold record “You Can’t Stop Me”. The album includes brief narration from Mineo’s mother Fran, who died in 2018. The album features honest and vulnerable lyrics, excellent beats and collaborations. Themes on the album include relationships (with people and God), things he’s not going to do and things he’s trying to do, that life is hard but it could be worse, and priorities. It’s my favorite release of Mineo’s since 2015’s Uncomfortable.

Below are a few comments about each song:

Am I… – This song was written by Mineo, Hadar Adora, GAWVI, James Douglas and BEAM. It was produced by GAWVI and BEAM. The song features guitar and backing vocals as he makes references to some of his previous releases.
Key lyric:
The key is to find beauty inside of the tragedy

…Falling? – This song was written by Mineo, Hadar Adora, GAWVI, James Douglas and BEAM. It was produced by GAWVI and BEAM. The song features bass, percussion and backing vocals. He asks whether he’s falling from the sky, or falling in God’s hand. Is it a disguise or is it in God’s plan?

Key lyric:
And my pronoun is just “that guy”

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More of this review
  • Music News
  • Song of the Week Lyrics ~ Dark Eyes by Fernando Ortega

Continue reading


Leave a comment

MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS

Confessio: Irish American Roots – Keith & Kristyn Getty
****

The latest album by Keith & Kristyn Getty is a diary of hymns and songs that underscore the Gettys’ Irish American journey. In 2020, the Gettys spent ten months in Ireland, tracing their journey back to Northern Ireland and the Scots-Irish-American roots of their hymn writing. The album features guest artists such as Sandra McCracken, Alison Krauss, Dana Masters and Kirk Whalum, and a mix of new original songs, new arrangements of well-known hymns, and a remixed version of their most popular modern hymn “In Christ Alone”. It is beautifully produced by Ben Shive. The Gettys ended up recording enough songs for two albums, so they plan to follow up this album with another album Christ Our Hope In Life And Death, in the summer of 2022.

Below are a few comments about each song on Confessio: Irish American Roots:

Confessio – This song, inspired by the prayer of St. Patrick, was written by Keith Getty, Kristyn Getty, Fionán de Barra and Matt Papa. The song features the incredible Getty band, including acoustic guitar, violin, bass, drums, and backing vocals.

Key lyrics:
We go homeward
Christ, be with us as we go
We go homeward
Christ, be with us on the road

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More of this review
  • Music News
  • Song of the Week Lyrics ~ Jesus Christ is Born by Mac Powell

Continue reading


Leave a comment

MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS

January Flower Deluxe Edition by Mat Kearney
****

Mat Kearney returns with January Flower, his sixth studio album, and first since 2018’s CRAZYTALK. The new songs are primarily relationship driven acoustic songs with a beat. His sprinkles in references to his faith throughout the album.
I really enjoyed this album. Below are a few comments about each song:
Powerless – This song was written by Kearney and Eli Teplin and produced by Robert Marvin. The song begins with acoustic guitar and then adds percussion and backing vocals. The song references beginning to work on the album in the desert when they encountered record rainfall. It is about losing control and being powerless.
Can’t Look Back
– This mid-tempo song was written by Kearney and Trent Dabbs, and produced by Kearney and Robert Marvin. The song, about a relationship, features guitar, keys, drums, backing vocals and a memorable chorus. There’s no future in the past and you can’t look back.
Grand Canyon
– This song, about a distance in a relationship, was written by Kearney and Eli Teplin, and produced by Kearney, Robert Marvin, Teplin and Gabe Simon.  The song features synth, guitar, percussion, keys and bass.
Pontiac
– This song was written by Kearney, Robert Marvin, Eli Teplin, Ruslan Rov and Rob Resnick, and produced by Marvin, Teplin, Rov. The upbeat song features keys, percussion, and has Kearney looking back on their relationship driving in her Pontiac.

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More of this review and reviews of
    • Let It Be – Super Deluxe Edition – Beatles
    • Change the World (EP) – Ringo Starr
  • Music News
  • Song of the Week Lyrics – “Pass the Promise” by Keith & Kristyn Getty, featuring Sandra McCracken

Continue reading


Leave a comment

MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS

Emmanuel: Christmas Songs of Worship – Chris Tomlin
*** ½ 

Chris Tomlin releases his fifth Christmas Songs of Worship project. His Christmas Songs of Worship series includes Miracle Of Love: Christmas Songs of Worship EP released in 2020, Christmas Day: Christmas Songs of Worship EP from 2019, 2015’s Adore: Christmas Songs of Worship, and the gold-certified Glory In The Highest: Christmas Songs of Worship from 2009. The new 12-song project, which includes four songs previously released on the above-mentioned EPs, was produced by Ed Cash and includes new songs as well as reimagined Christmas classics.  The album has Tomlin collaborating with CeCe Winans, We the Kingdom, Matt Redman, and Blessing Offor.
Below are a few comments about each song:

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More of this review and a review of Interrobang by Switchfoot
  • Music News
  • Song of the Week Lyrics

Continue reading


Leave a comment

MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS

Almost Home: The Hymns of Matt Boswell and Matt Papa Volume 2
****

This is the second album of hymns from Matt Boswell and Matt Papa. Their first album, His Mercy is More: The Hymns of Matt Boswell and Matt Papa, was my favorite album of 2019. This new album may well end up being my favorite for 2021.
I was introduced to “the Matts” at the Getty Worship Sing! conferences in 2018.  Some of the songs on this album, all of which were written for congregational singing, were introduced at prior Sing! conferences. The album was produced by Ben Shive. Here is a short “Behind the Scenes” video about the album.
Below are a few comments about each song:
Psalm 150 (Praise the Lord) – This song was introduced at the 2020 Sing! conference and highlighted at the 2021 Sing! conference. It was written by Matt Boswell and Matt Papa. The song features piano, guitar, strings, drums, bass and backing vocals.
Key lyric:
Praise the Lord
Praise the Lord
Sing His greatness
All creation
Praise the Lord
Raise your voice
Your heights and all your depths
From furthest east to west
Let everything that has breath
Praise the Lord

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More of this review and a review of Springtime In New York: The Bootleg Series Vol.16 1980-1985 by Bob Dylan
  • Music News
  • Song of the Week Lyrics ~ Save Me by Mat Kearney

Continue reading