Wednesday, March 07, 2012


     Between consecutive Grammy winning albums WORLDWIDE (2003) and UNTIL MY HEART CAVES IN (2005) Mark Stuart of Audio Adrenaline "began to lose his trademark gravelly voice as well as a ten-year marriage.  Soon, life on the road with Audio A and the home life Mark had known were both over."  Stuart says: "I'm in awe of how God stops at nothing to pull our hearts back to His...He fights for us and uses our tragedies for good."  Stuart and Audio A bassist Will McGinniss went to the same church.  They continued to work on the Hands and Feet Project, a ministry that cares for orphans in Haiti.  They founded it before the big earthquake and often visit the orphanage that they helped build.  Their pastor encouraged them to start sharing with others how God had worked in their lives.  It began with small group fire-side chats.  Eventually "The duo set out to create an intimate and hope-filled night of music, testimony and worship with some of their new friends and musicians from their home church...The Know Hope Collective was born."  The Collective includes Julia Ross of Everlife, Leslie Jordan and David Leonard of All Sons and Daughters, and 2010 BMI Christian Music Award-winning Songwriter of the Year, Jason Walker. 
     Mark Stuart points out: "We have to be clear that this isn't Audio Adrenaline anymore.  It isn't run around and get crazy rock and roll music like 'Big House' was.  I loved every minute of that, but this is a moment for us to go out and encourage people that there is hope even in brokenness."  He continues: "I'm amazed that God is doing this through someone whose voice is broken.  It's a sweet, unique place to be and a complete surprise."
     Know Hope Collective's first release is self-titled and was released by Integrity Music in 2011.  It begins with 'Attention', a mid-tempo track that lyrically sounds like a modern day take on Psalm 23: "You call me here from all the things I'm chasing/You bring me to this place to lie down/You pull me from the wars I've been waging/And remind me there's a table set for us/Exhale/Shut my eyes and make me/Slow down and be still/Speak/You have my attention."  'Sanctuary' speaks of the work the Lord does in our lives when we completely open up to Him: "Jesus, You are worthy/And You have made us holy now/These walls have been my refuge/Offering an anchor/Resting in Your sacred love/You've drawn me to Your altar/I'm here but I have nothing."  'Build us Back' written by Mark Stuart and Jason Walker was previously recorded by Newsboys on their 2010 release BORN AGAIN.  It is a great song that finds them crying out to the Lord and being answered: "Redeemer/Redeem us/Restorer/Restore us/You build us back/Though the mountains be shaken/The hills be removed/Your unfailing love remains/After all that's been taken/Your promise still sacred/You build us back with precious stones."
     'Hands and Feet' is an Audio A classic.  Here it is performed nicely by Mark Stuart and Julia Ross and has a decidedly missional chorus: "I wanna be Your hands/I wanna be Your feet/I'll go where You send me/I'll go where You send me/And I'll try, yeah I'll try/To touch the world like/You touched my life/And I find my way/To be Your hands."  'We Remember' is catchy and displays an intentionally thankful attitude towards the Lord: "How could we forget death has no power and we are free/That You thought of us there on Calvary?/We remember/Your story burns upon our hearts/A beautiful and binding scar/Forever we will (2X)/Think of You/For the things that You have done/And great things You've yet to do/We remember You."  'Ocean Floor' doesn't hold up to Audio A's version.  It is, however, a song of good news that reminds us while we may remember our sins even after confessing them, God most certainly does not: "Your sins are forgotten/They're on the bottom/Of the ocean floor."
     'Spirit Speaks' is a ballad that builds and is about making oneself available for the Lord's use: "With every breath I breathe/With every song I sing/I want to shout it out/Lord I am listening/To every word You speak/I'll go where You will lead/To love the least of these/My greatest offering."  'Jealous God' has a tender, not angry musical feel, and is inspired by Deuteronomy 4:24 which reads: "For the LORD thy god is a consuming fire, even a jealous God."  Some of the lyrics are: "Through this life everyday You've chased me/Like a treasure underneath the sea/When hope was gone, Jesus You came running/To the ends of the earth for me.../You're beautiful and furious/I tremble at the thought of this/That You would go to Calvary/How deep Your love must be for me."
     'Good Life' was originally penned about Mark's friend's divorce.  Later on Mark himself would become divorced.  The song is about finding the Lord to be sufficient.  It opens with these words: "This is the good life/I've lost everything/I could ever want/And ever dream of/This is the good life/I found everything/I could ever need/Here in Your arms."  The album concludes with 'Just to Be Here' written by Mark Stuart and Jason Walker.  It reflects on God's holy and powerful nature: "You walk in our midst like the wind that sweeps the trees/Deeper still You beckon us into Your mystery/And we come to this place/Come to this altar/And we hide, we hide our face/Hide from You Father/And You open our eyes and we're washed in Your light/Overcome just to be here."
     KNOW HOPE COLLECTIVE is a good contemporary worship album that should satisfy fans of that particular genre.  I would have liked to hear even more vocals by Mark Stuart and Julia Ross.  I also would have enjoyed a couple more faster paced songs on the project.  This being said, any Audio A fan should add this album, which I'm rating 82%, to their collection.  For more info visit,, or go to and search for 'Know Hope Collective.'