Wednesday, November 24, 2010


     Stephanie Israelson's DEEPER STILL is somewhat of a departure from her pop/rock album LEAD ME THERE released two years earlier in 2007.  DEEPER STILL is decidedly a modern worship project, produced, mixed, and mastered by Andrew Horrocks in Kitchener, Ontario.
     Stephanie is the reigning Covenant Award Female Vocalist of the Year and one listen of this album reveals why.  The album kicks off with 'Reign in me', an upbeat song of surrender featuring good guitar work.  This is followed by a great, contemporary worship number 'Call on You' that evidences a fundamental confidence in God: "I will call and You will answer/You will be the light that shines upon my face/Your hand will guide me through the day." 'Mighty is Your Name' sounds celebratory and finds her in love with her God: "Mighty is Your Name above all others/I will celebrate You Lord/Mighty is Your Name/And I will praise and love You evermore."  'Alleluia', a radio single, is a ballad shining more light on why Stephanie is in love with God: "You are just and holy God and You see me through the blood/You have cleansed me from all sin and You overflow my cup."
     At least three songs look forward to the second coming of Christ, a theme too oft neglected in today's CCM.  'The Waiting' is a beautiful ballad acknowledging that we have to endure suffering before our Lord appears.  'Ageless One' pledges: "We will watch and pray awaiting Your return/Let us not grow faint/It's for You that we yearn." 'We Cry Out' has a more traditional feel to it to begin with, but then builds.  I could hear Crystal Lewis singing it.  It declares: "We're only here to tell the world about Your grace/Until the day You take us all away."
     The title track, 'Deeper Still' is a rocker that would have fit nicely on Stephanie's previous project.  Co-written with Andrew Horrocks and Naomi Knoll, it is about taking one's relationship with God to the next level: "Launch me out into the deep/Spirit take me/I will go deeper still in You/In You."  The only weak spot on the album is track seven 'I Will Tell'.  It is quite simplistic lyrically and seems better suited to a kid's praise project.
     All in all, this is a modern sounding record that I would recommend especially for 18-40 year olds.  It is clear that not only does Stephanie Israelson have a great voice, but she has a vibrant, loving relationship with her Heavenly Father as well.  I look forward to the next chapter in her recording career.  Thanks to David C. Cook Distribution Canada for carrying this release.