Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


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MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS


Until We Meet Again (Live Unplugged) – Mat Kearney
****

Until We Meet Again features songs from Kearney’s second acoustic tour, his winter 2020 Revisited tour. These songs were recorded in January and February, just before the COVID-19 shutdown. Many of the songs are from early in his career, with five of the eleven songs from his 2011 album Young Love and three from his 2009 album City of Black and White. Most of the songs, are about love and relationships, with other themes including encouragement and trust in God.
If you are not familiar with Kearney’s music, this would be an excellent project to check out. Below are a few brief comments about each song:
Fire and Rain – This song was written by Robert Marvin and Kearney and originally appeared on the 2009 album City of Black and White. They may not be together anymore, but his love for her will not fade. The song features acoustic guitar, drums, bass, and backing vocals.
Key lyric:
My love will not fade
Through the fire and rain

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MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS

Out of Body – NEEDTOBREATHE
****

Out of Body is NEEDTOBREATHE’s seventh studio album, and first since 2016’s Hard Love. The album debuted at #1 on iTunes Top Albums chart. It is also the band’s first album as a trio – Bear Rinehart (lead vocals, guitar, piano, harmonica), Seth Bolt (backing vocals, bass, percussion), and Josh Lovelace (backing vocals, piano, organ), following the departure of founding member Bo Rinehart. The album was recorded in Nashville with producers Cason Cooley and Jeremy Lutito. Five of the eleven songs were released in advance of the full album release.
The band has said that the album is about their journey toward their true selves. This is a strong album, one of my favorites of 2020. As you would expect, the lyrics are vulnerable, and the musicianship and production are excellent. Below are a few comments about each song:

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MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS


McCartney III – Paul McCartney
*** ½

Former Beatle, 78-year-old Paul McCartney, follows up his chart-topping 2018 album Egypt Station with McCartney III, his eighteenth solo album, and the third in his series of recorded at home McCartney albums. The new album, recorded at his Sussex estate in the spring during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, follows 1970’s McCartney (“Maybe I’m Amazed”), which was released as the Beatles were breaking up and McCartney II (Coming Up”), released in 1980 as Wings was breaking up. The new album is a pleasing eclectic collection (acoustic, rock, pop) of eleven songs which you will appreciate more with each repeated listening. McCartney wrote all of the songs, plays almost all of the instruments (“Slidin’” being the only exception), handles all vocals and produced the album (with the exception of “Slidin’”, which he co-produced with Egypt Station producer Greg Kurstin). I’ve been enjoying Sir Paul’s music for 56 years, and thoroughly enjoyed this new release.
Below are a few comments about each of the songs:

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MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS


His Glory Alone – KB
***

This is KB’s fourth studio album, his first album since 2017’s Today We Rebel (see my review here), and also his first since leaving Reach Records. The new album features God-centered lyrics, samples from several worship songs, and contains themes including praise and worship, being a father, and race.
Below are a few comments about each song:

Let it Reign – This song was written by Tee-Wyla, Michael Farren, Cardec Drums, Bizzle and KB. It was produced by Tee-Wyla and Drums. The song features Bizzle, and begins with a sample of Michael W. Smith’s song “Let it Rain”. The song then moves into a hard-driving beat as he calls for Yahweh to reign over all.
Key lyric: Your throne won’t end, Your crown won’t move

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MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS

Patient Kingdom – Sandra McCracken
****

I have to admit that I’m a late-comer to Sandra McCracken, being introduced to her music at the 2018 Gospel Coalition National Conference and the last few Getty Music Sing! Conferences. I also really enjoyed her 2019 Christmas album, one of my favorites of last year.
This new album of worship songs features 9 new songs, and a reimagined hymn, all written or co-written by McCracken. The album, which was produced by Ben Shive and Tyler Chester, was recorded during the COVID-19 pandemic, with friends collaborating and recording across four states.
Patient Kingdom is an excellent album, which I’m sure will end up high on my “Best” list for 2020.
Below are a few comments about each song:

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MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS

A Drummer Boy Christmas – for King & Country
***

Australian duo for King & Country, comprised of brothers Joel and Luke Smallbone, follow their best-selling 2018 album Burn the Ships with their first full-length Christmas album, based around their popular version of “Little Drummer Boy”. The album is comprised mostly of well-known Christmas carols, opening and closing with verses from “In The Bleak Midwinter”. There are two new songs included – “Heavenly Hosts”, and “The Carol of Joseph (I Believe In You)”. Bear Rinehart of NEEDTOBREATHE guests on “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” and country singer Gabby Barrett guests on “Go Tell It On The Mountain”.
The duo brings their signature high energy sound to these songs. In addition, the album includes two monologues, which fit in well with the album. A Drummer Boy Christmas was produced by Tedd Tjornhom and for King & Country, and co-produced by Benjamin Backus, with Matt Hales handling executive production.
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MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS

Live from the Forum MMXVIII – Eagles
****

This new live album – it is available in multiple formats, including Blu-Ray video, digital, vinyl and audio CD, and was shown as a concert film on ESPN over the July 4 weekend – was filmed/recorded September 12, 14 and 15, 2018 at the Forum in Inglewood, California. My wife Tammy and I had seen the Eagles on the same tour just a few weeks earlier, on July 26, at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.
The album is the first release to feature the new Eagles, with Vince Gill and Deacon Frey, replacing founding member Glenn Frey, who died in 2016. Gill and Frey join Don Henley, Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmidt as they perform classic Eagles songs, as well as Henley, Gill and Walsh solo hits – 26 songs.
From the first harmonies of the opener “Seven Bridges Road”, you’ll realize that this band, though formed 49 years ago (Henley is the only surviving founding member) is still at the top of their game. Deacon sings a few of his father’s songs (“Take it Easy”, “Peaceful Easy Feeling”), while Gill takes the lead on “Lyin’ Eyes” and “Take it to the Limit”).
If you enjoy the music of the Eagles, you’ll love this new live recording.

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MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS


Evensong – Hymns and Lullabies at the Close of Day– Keith and Kristyn Getty
****

Evensong is the first new studio album for Keith and Kristyn Getty since 2016’s Facing a Task Unfinished. It is not your usual album of new modern hymns from the Gettys, but rather more of a Kristyn Getty solo project born out of a family tradition. The Gettys close out their days with a time of reflection in thought, song, and prayer. These are lullabies and hymns that they have sung to and for their own children.
The project was recorded in Nashville during the COVID-19 shelter at home season. Ben Shive, who produced the album with Keith and Kristyn, was able to gather recordings from each musical collaborator and create a project fusing the Celtic, folk, bluegrass, classical, and Americana sound the Gettys have become known for. The musical backing is more restrained than a normal Getty album, but no less beautiful. The cover art was specially created by internationally renowned Irish artist Ross Wilson. The album features guest appearances from Vince Gill, Heather Headley, Ellie Holcomb, Sierra Hull, Deborah Kelmme and Sandra McCracken
Below are a few thoughts about each song:

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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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