Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


Leave a comment

MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS

Let There Be Wonder (Acoustic) EP – Matt Redman
****

Matt Redman released Let There Be Wonder, one of my favorite albums of 2020, in January, before the COVID-19 pandemic swept the world. He recently released this six-song EP Let There Be Wonder (Acoustic), featuring five songs from that album, plus his classic “Blessed Be Your Name”. What holds all of these stripped-down songs together is that they are all about Jesus, and praising his wonderful name.
Even if you are familiar with these songs, I think you’ll enjoy these new versions. What really stood out for me was the use of strings on these songs. The EP was produced by Steve Marcia, who had the idea to use a string quartet as a signature sound for this project. Recorded during the lockdown, we hear four different string players who recorded themselves in four different locations, with beautiful results. I also enjoyed the backing vocals.
Below are a few comments about each song:

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

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

Continue reading


2 Comments

MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS

Letter to You – Bruce Springsteen
*** ½

I’ve been a long-time fan of Springsteen’s music, though not his politics. The first of his albums that I bought new was 1978’s excellent Darkness on the Edge of Town. I fondly remember humming songs from that album – “Prove it All Night”, “Badlands”, etc. – as I was walking through an office building doing an end of night inspection as the manager of a cleaning crew while going to college.
Letter to You is the 71-year-old Springsteen’s twentieth studio album, and first with the E Street Band (Roy Bittan, Nils Lofgren, Patti Scialfa, Garry Tallent, Stevie Van Zandt, Max Weinberg, Charlie Giordano and Jake Clemons), since 2014’s High Hopes. The album was produced by Ron Aniello and assisted by Springsteen.
Springsteen wrote all of the songs, most of which were written in April 2019. Three of the songs “Janey Needs a Shooter”, “If I Was a Priest” and “Song for Orphans” date back to the early 1970’s. The album was recorded live in just five days at Springsteen’s home studio with very minimal overdubs.
This is a very personal album. Themes include loss of friends, relationships, looking back, the power of music, and spirituality.

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


Skin and Wind – Charlie Peacock
****

I’ve appreciated Charlie Peacock’s music for many years, dating back to his late-night concerts at the Cornerstone Festival when it was held outside of the Chicago area, and his West Coast Diaries releases in the late 1980’s. The multi-talented (artist, producer, author) Peacock writes all of the songs on Skin and Wind, his fourteenth vocal album, and the follow-up to 2019’s Lil’ Willie. In addition, he produces the album, handles lead vocals, and plays multiple instruments (piano, Rhodes and Wurlitzer electric piano, drums, bass, acoustic and electric guitar and percussion). Backing him are son Sam Ashworth (acoustic guitar and background vocals), Ruby Amanfu (background vocals), Bridget Ashworth (background vocals), Jerry McPherson (electric and acoustic guitars and ukulele), Andy Leftwich (fiddle and mandolin) and Dan Dugmore (pedal and lap steel). The album cover is a 1986 photo of Peacock backstage at the Filmore Auditorium in San Francisco.
I thoroughly enjoyed this outstanding album, which features excellence in vocals (Peacock’s voice is still an incredible instrument), production, musicianship and poetical lyrics. Here are a few comments about each of the ten songs:

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


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

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

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:

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More of this review and a review of Precious Memories Collection by Alan Jackson
  • Music News
  • Song of the Week Lyrics

Continue reading


Leave a comment

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:

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More of this review and a review of Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming (EP) by Fernando Ortega
  • Music News
  • Song of the Week Lyrics

Continue reading


Leave a comment

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

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

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

Continue reading


1 Comment

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:

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More of this review and a review of Over the Rainbow: The American Standard EP by James Taylor
  • Music News
  • Song of the Week Lyrics

Continue reading


Leave a comment

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.
Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More of this review and a review of Miracle of Love: Christmas Songs of Worship (EP) byChris Tomlin
  • Music News
  • Song of the Week Lyrics

Continue reading