Sunday, March 26, 2006

ADD TO THE BEAUTY Posted by Picasa
Sara Groves is not just a singer, but a communicator of relational stories. Her songs on 2005's ADD TO THE BEAUTY deal with the intricacies of human relationships and the vertical-horizontal relationship between Creator and creation.
The best musical comparison for Groves would be perhaps, Canadian songstress Sarah McLachlan, or some of Dido, or Jann Arden's work. The disc is full of light pop sounds of a soothing nature. CCM magazine picked this as the best of '05 and it would be hard to argue with that assessment! In an age of manufactured music stars (of which i admit i like my fair share), this is a breath of fresh air.
The opening track 'When it was over', finds Groves singing about conflict and offering this solution: "Love wash over a multitude of things/Make us whole." 'It's Going to be Alright' is co-written with former WhiteHeart member Gordon Kennedy. On it she sings the following to someone going through a dark time: "I did not come here to offer you cliche's/I will not pretend to know of all your pain/Just when you cannot, then I will hold out faith for you."
ADD TO THE BEAUTY was produced by Brown Bannister who has worked with the likes of Petra and Amy Grant. On a final note, Groves bears somewhat of a resemblance to country artist Sara Evans in this album's photoshoot.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

STRYPER REBORN Posted by Picasa
Back in the 1980's if you were to ask a non-believer to name a Christian band, they would probably say either Petra, or Stryper. Each of these groups received flack from the church for using worldly music to spread the Message. Stryper was also criticized for their outlandish attire. Nevertheless, they rose to prominence with albums such as TO HELL WITH THE DEVIL and IN GOD WE TRUST. But, by the 90's, around the time of their AGAINST THE LAW disc, the guys were drinking quite a bit, and they more or less called it a day, except for doing a couple new tunes for a best of project.

Fast forward to 2005 and Stryper is back with three of the four same members. The new member is bassist Tracy Ferrie, formerly of WHITECROSS. named REBORN one of the best albums of 2005.

REBORN begins with two cuts that speak of the transformation needed for one to be truly free. On 'Open your eyes', they sing: "Open your eyes, loosen the vice that constrains you/Open your eyes, burn the disguise that you wear/Open your eyes, break the unfaith that controls you/Open your eyes, truth will be there". Lest the band be accused of not being specific enuff about the object of their faith, read these words from the song 'Passion': "Jesus Christ I want to serve You/I want what You want for me/Sacrifice-I don't deserve You, thru Your passion I am free".

The album concludes with a rocked up version of 'Amazing Grace', followed by a re-make of 'In God we Trust'. Stryper will be at a couple of festivals this summer and are booking a church tour.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

NO GREATER LOVE Posted by Picasa
When Greg Xavier Volz left Petra in the mid 80's, it was not the end of his musical career. In fact, he continues to record solo material to this day. Last year he released two projects, one of them being NO GREATER LOVE. The musical styles on this cd are not ones that are popular today. On some cuts, i can hear echoes of old Randy Rothwell material, he being an Integrity worship leader. At other times Volz serves up Caribbean type fare, that puts one in mind of Bobby McFerrin's "Don't worry be happy". The album is nicely added to by some classic guitar work by Will McFarlane.

The title track is up first. It is a classic bluesy rock number with a short lyric: "No greater love has any man than this/That he lay down his life for a friend/But Jesus laid it down for all the world to see/So that many would believe that He died for you and me/This is the greatest love that the world has known/that the world has known".

Thematically, the songs fall into the categories of praise and exhortation. On 'Shout Aloud', Volz offers this praise: "Jesus Christ has set me free, by the blood He shed on Calvary/He is worthy, I will praise Him." On 'Walk, love, do', he exhorts believers to "Walk humbly, love mercy, do justly."

It's good to hear the former voice of Petra still at it. It's a shame his music is not widely distributed though. To order Volz products call Match Made in Heaven Music at 1-800-445-8404, or visit