Wednesday, February 01, 2012


     Remarkably this year marks 38 years since the release of Scott Wesley Brown's self-titled debut album.  Over the years he has become one of Contemporary Christian Music's most beloved male vocalists.  His latest album is SONGS FROM THE VALLEY (2010) produced by Billy Smiley of Whiteheart, and himself.  In the liner notes Scott writes: "Special thanks to the Pastors, staff and congregation of 'Valley' Presbyterian Church, Paradise Valley, AZ.  Many of these songs were written and premiered by our awesome worship team from our contemporary service where it is always a joy to see our people worship together."  Guitarists on the album include George Cocchini, Brennan and Billy Smiley, and Scott Dente of Out of the Grey.  Other instruments used to good effect include the Irish whistle and cello.  What results is a strong album!
     'O Worship the King' is a joyful, almost Christmas sounding song.  The words to it in a way lay out the purpose of the album: "O worship the King, All glorious above/And gratefully sing God's power and God's Love;/Our Shield and Defender, and girded with praise/O tell of God's might, O Sing of His grace/Whose robe is the Light, Whose canopy space/Whose chariots of wrath the deep thunderclouds form/And dark is His path on the wings of the storm."  Scott wrote 'I Believe in God' as a declaration of faith in response to atheist Richard Dawkins.  The song is a contemporary rocker: "When I look upon the wonders of creation/And such intricate design in all there is/I know my faith is not a mere delusion/And I rejoice to know the Lord of All exists!/And I believe in God/I believe in God/I believe in God my Maker."  'Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing' is given a fairly traditional treatment and features a nice female harmony vocal.  The song gives a chief reason why Scott feels the need to praise and worship God: "Jesus sought me when a stranger/Wandering from the fold of God/He to rescue me from danger/Interposed His precious blood/How His kindness yet pursues me/Mortal tongue can never tell/Clothed in flesh till death shall loose me/I cannot proclaim it well."  Of 'You are the Center (Rev 4)' Scott writes: "This song is in no way endorsing pantheism or panetheism in stating that God fills all there is with all He is.  Rather God is omnipresent and immense."  Here are some of the lyrics: "You are the center, You are the keeper/Sustaining all things by Your Word/You are the power, You are the glory/All that there is encircles You O Lord/And who could ever comprehend/Before there was, You've always been/Filling all there is with all You are/Immortal and Invisible/So incomprehensible/And yet You choose to dwell within my heart."
     'Saint Patrick's Prayer (May Everything be Christ)' is adapted from the breastplate of Saint Patrick, 5th century Ireland.  It relates a desire to be completely taken over by and lost in Christ: "Christ before me, Christ behind me/May everything be Christ/Christ beside me, Christ within me/May everything be Christ/Christ above me, Christ beneath me/May everything be Christ/Christ around me, Christ surround me/May everything be Christ."  It is a beautiful ballad.  'All that is Within Me'  has an upbeat, modern sound and testifies to the Lord's greatness: "Who have I in Heaven?/But You alone oh Lord/There is nothing here on earth I desire more/My heart and flesh may fail/But Lord You are my strength/You are my portion forever."  'Lord Most High (Day is Dying in the West)' was written with and features Centricity Music sensation Aaron Shust.  It is a great song of praise that further proves Scott is not stuck in the 1970's or 1980's!  The song includes these lyrics: "Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of hosts (2X)/Heaven and earth rejoice/All creation lift your voice/Heaven and earth rejoice/O Lord most high, Lord most high!"  'Jude's Benediction (Jude 24-5)' is melodic and ascribes worth to God: "To the only God our Savior/Through Jesus Christ our Lord (2X)/Be glory and majesty/Dominion and authority/Before all time and now and forever/All time and now and forever (2X)/Amen."
     'Just as I Am (Yet Never the Same)' is credited to Scott and Charlotte Elliot.  It relates what only Christ can do for the sinner: "Just as I am and waiting not/To rid my soul of one dark blot/To Thee whose blood can cleanse each spot/O Lamb of God, I come, I come/And I come to the cross/Where I know I am safe/Secure in the arms of Your mercy and grace/And I come to You Jesus/And call on Your Name/Just as I am, yet never the same/O Lamb of God I come."  'You are the Rock' has a powerfully delivered chorus: "You are the Rock/That never crumbles/Your Word will never change/A mighty tower/Lord when I stumble/You are the God who saves."  It also includes this statement of faith: "I trust in You/Even when my prayers seem unanswered/I am not moved/For I hope in the plans You have made/I shall not fear/For You walk in the valley beside me/You draw me near/And I am healed by the touch of Your grace."  'I Can't Get Enough' has a choral vocal and would not have been out of place on an older Randy Rothwell or Bob Fitts album.  The words sung are of one totally taken with the Lord: "I can't get enough of loving You/I wanna love You Jesus/I can't get enough of praising You/I wanna praise You Jesus/I can't get enough of serving You/I wanna serve You Jesus/I can't get enough of knowing You/I wanna know You Jesus."  'Gloria Patri' is a doxology partly written by Bob Kilpatrick.  I can picture the words of it being sung in Heaven: "Glory be to the Father, and to the Son/And to the Holy Ghost/As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be/World without end, Amen, Amen (2X)/Glory be to the Father, Glory be to the Son/Glory be to the Spirit, Three in One/Amen (6X)."
     Two live tracks close out the album.  A live version of 'Lord Most High' has lots of energy and an enthusiastic crowd.  'Not I, But Christ' is quiet and reverent.  It is about losing oneself in Christ: "Not I, but Christ/Be honored, loved, exalted/Not I, but Christ/Be seen, be known, be heard/In every look, in every word/Not I, but Christ (2X)."
     SONGS FROM THE VALLEY finds Scott and his team of worshippers in fine form.  The songs on this project are right on par with those of contemporary worship artists such as Chris Tomlin and Lincoln Brewster.  It is a shame that many Christian radio stations do not give much airplay to the more veteran and independent artists, opting instead for what is popular or trendy at the time.  I'm rating SONGS FROM THE VALLEY 88% and recommending it to those seeking a fresh, vibrant worship experience of Almighty God.  For more info visit and