Wednesday, March 21, 2012


     David Crowder put out his first album, POUR OVER ME, in 1998.  Two of my favourite David Crowder*Band songs are 2003's 'Open Skies', and their cover of Michael W. Smith's 'Secret Ambition' which appeared on a 2005 tribute album.  GIVE US REST OR (A REQUIEM MASS IN C [THE HAPPIEST OF ALL KEYS]) is their final album.  The two disc project clocks in at 100 minutes, 29 seconds, and was released this year on Sparrow Records.  It was produced and recorded by the David Crowder*Band in various houses, buses and green rooms.
     Disc One begins with a priest speaking in Latin.  This is followed by 'Oh Great God, Give us Rest' written by Crowder and Matt Maher.  It is a heartfelt cry to God: "Oh great God give us rest/We're all worn thin from all of this/The end of our hope with nothing left/Oh great God give us rest."  'Lux Aeternam Shine' is a Gregorian chant.  'Come Find Me' is a power-pop song of deep gratitude: "The One who I've searched for/For so long has come/With open arms/Today is the day of glory/Today is the day I'm home/Oh day, what a day/Oh day, I'm Yours/Oh day of resurrection."  'God Have Mercy (Kyrie Eleison)' features heavy percussion and contains these penitent words: "Oh my God what have I done?/Oh my God what have I done?/What have I done?/Oh Lord have mercy/Oh Lord have mercy/Oh Christ have mercy/Have mercy."
     Next up is a real treat, that being an old country style, bare bones rendition of Kris Kristofferson's 1972 hit 'Why Me?'  It includes these lyrics: "Why me Lord/What have I ever done to deserve even one/Of the pleasures I've known?/Tell me Lord/What did I ever do that was worth love from You/Or the kindness You've shown?"  'Fall on Your Knees' is one of eight songs penned solely by David Crowder.  It is a song about being amazed at God's goodness: "To feel this grace rescuing/Lifting us up, washing our feet/Oh my God, oh my God/It's too wonderful/It's too wonderful."  'A Burial' includes these spoken, poignant words uttered amidst pouring rain: "How do you sum up a life in a few words?/How do you measure the weight of a soul in a matter of moments?/You do not/You cannot."  'Let me feel You Shine' shares a desire for the Savior to rescue from doubt and sin: "This place is trying to break my belief/But my faith is bigger than all I can see/What I need is redemption/What I need is for You to put me back on my feet.../God I need a Savior/O come Generous King/O God I need a Savior/To come rescue me."  'Reprise #1' is an instrumental featuring strings.  'Blessedness of Everlasting Light' was written with Mike Hogan and has a circus type '1-2' beat to it.  It is an earnest plea to the Father: "God hold back Your hand/Oh God hold back Your hand/Stay Your wrath again/Oh God hold back Your hand.../Oh Lord forgive (2X)/Free from chains of sin/Oh Lord forgive."  'The Sound of Light' and 'Interlude' are two instrumentals that may inspire various thoughts in the listener.
     Disc One closes with seven 'Sequences'.  'Sequence 1' musically is very heavy (think Tourniquet) and paints a dismal picture: "Day of wrath/Oh day of mourning/Day of wrath/Oh day of mourning/See the ashes, cities burning/Hear the final prophets' warning."  'Sequence 2' written by Mark Waldrop has a mass choir singing mostly in Latin except for these words: "Oh what wondrous noise the trumpet sounds.../Oh through all the earth it shakes the ground."  'Sequence 3' is a short instrumental that seems to include the use of jingle bells among other things.  'Sequence 4' uses acoustic guitar and is a ballad of great thankfulness: "Faint and weary You have sought me/Oh my Savior God through the cross You have bought me/What a love, Your Son for my salvation/What a cost, Your wondrous incarnation/God You came (2X)/My God You came down."  'Sequence 5' was written by Jack Parker and has a dark metal feel to it, with vocals reminiscent of Passafist.  Here are some lyrics: "Oh save a place for me/To Your right hand upraise me (2X)."  'Sequence 6' is a simple statement of worship: "I bow low with all my heart."  'Sequence 7' written with Jeremy Bush serves as a somber reminder for all of us what ultimately lies ahead for us: "When all is done/Judgment comes/And we will stand/Right in front of Him/Spare us, oh God (4X)/Have mercy, oh God (2X)."
     Disc Two begins with 'Reprise 2', a pretty instrumental.  'Oh My God' is a song of victory: "Born all over again/Bring Your rain and bring Your wind/I'm born all over/Born all over again/Death will lose and we will win/I'm born all over."  'I am a Seed' written by Mike Dodson and Mark Waldrop is a great, upbeat bluegrass song with banjo: "Oh I've been pushed down into the ground/ Oh how I have been trampled down/Lord I put my trust in Thee/You won't turn Your back on me/Oh I am a seed (2X)/I've been pushed down into the ground/But I will rise up a tree."  'After All (Holy)' is a wonderful song that reflects on how much greater God is than us: "I can't comprehend Your infinitely beautiful and perfect love/Oh I've dreamed dreams of majesty as brilliant as a billion stars/But they're never bright enough after all/You are holy/Oh holy/Holy, holy, holy."  'The Great Amen' has a choir repeatedly singing "Amen" to a crescendo.
     Two modern worship gems follow.  'There is a Sound', written by Crowder, looks with anticipation towards a brighter future.  It begins with these words: "There is a sound in the highest place/Of exaltation/Of unending praise/Here on the ground/On our brightest day in affectation/Of a coming reign/Peace on earth, let there be (3X)/Peace."  'Oh, Great Love of God', written with Matt Maher and Mark Waldrop, is another song that speaks of a hope-filled future: "Oh great love of God/Who takes away the sin of all of us/Gone forever/Heaven open wide in Your resurrection/You won't be denied bringing life to the dead and dying/You won't be denied we will rise and we'll sing forever."  'Our Communion' is creative and is about how God can restore us: "Sweet dreams of Heaven changing our waking lives/Breath, taken in and bringing what was dead to life/In the recesses of your heart where love had died/Let it rise and lead you across the great divide."
     'Sometimes' is a ballad that begins with these brutally honest words: "Sometimes every one of us feels/Like we'll never be healed/Sometimes/Sometimes every one of us aches/Like we'll never be saved/Sometimes."  'A Return' is sure to evoke contradictory feelings in your heart: "My heart runs far from where You intended/Come after me please (2X)/The son has come home, we're rejoicing/The son has come home, rejoice my soul."  'Oh My God I'm Coming Home' is a guitar driven song of great joy: "Oh my God I'm coming home/Dance all day and sing along/To the glory hallelujah/Oh my God I'm coming home."
     'Leaning on the Everlasting Arms/'Tis so Sweet to Trust in Jesus' is for those who miss old style hymn sings.  Here they are given a fairly traditional treatment with violin.  The lyrics state that Christ is sufficient: "Oh I'm leaning, leaning/Safe and secure from all alarms/Leaning, leaning/Leaning on the everlasting arms.../Jesus, Jesus how I trust You/How I've proved You o'er and o'er/Jesus, Jesus Precious Jesus/Oh for grace to trust Him more."  'Jesus, Lead me to Your Healing Waters' was written by Crowder, Dodson, Waldrop, Hogan and Parker.  It is an excellent Gaither style tune complete with applause.  It displays a genuine urge for revival: "Jesus lead me to Your healing waters/Take me down to your healing stream/Jesus lead me to Your healing waters/Take me down and wash me clean/Jesus purify me in Your fire/Burn me up until I believe."  The album closes with the Gaither classic 'Because He Lives' which won a Dove Award for Song of the Year in 1974, the year I was born.  The words of the chorus have comforted many, including myself, when grieving the loss of a loved one: "Because He lives I can face tomorrow/Because He lives all fear is gone/Because I know He holds the future/And life is worth the living just because He lives." 
     GIVE US REST is an ambitious, edgy, creative, artistic, boundary pushing praise and worship project.  It surpasses current worship projects by Chris Tomlin and Michael W. Smith.  It is to be praised for the diversity of musical styles on it.  I'm rating it 95% and recommending it to those who enjoyed 2011's GHOSTS UPON THE EARTH by Gungor, and 2003's !Hero: The Rock Opera.  For more info visit and