Thursday, November 22, 2012


Julie Elias studied musical theatre in college. She has appeared on several TV shows including Grey’s Anatomy, CSI: New York, and Weeds. She was also an extra in Larry Crowne which starred Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts. She is quoted as saying: “I am grateful for my time in Hollywood; my experiences ultimately strengthened my relationship with Christ and played an integral part in the journey to realize my calling.” Her bio says: “A Christmas trip to her hometown in 2010 caused Elias to reexamine her career options. During the holiday, she performed in her home church’s praise and worship band and sang in some local concerts.” She felt led to pursue music. Her latest release is A WILD ROSE (2012). In the liner notes she calls this album “an exploration of my own heart and my faith.” She adds: “God has always been and will always be there for us. Sometimes, it takes a long time to truly remind myself of this but I have never regretted those moments when I give Him whatever is weighing me down and I feel a sense of hope that five minutes earlier felt like a pipe dream.” All of the songs on the album were penned by Al Denson, Julie, and Robert White Johnson. Denson is a CCM success who has performed at Billy and Franklin Graham crusades, while Johnson has songwriting and production credits with the likes of Celine Dion and Michael Bolton.

‘Breathing Room’ is a great opening song that finds Julie crying out for personal rejuvenation: “Wanna feel the earth beneath my feet/Feel Your rain, wash my spirit clean/Let the sun shine upon my weathered face/Dust from the past makes it hard to breathe/Wipe my eyes/Lord teach me how to see/Renew my heart so I can learn to love again.” ‘A Wild Rose’ makes good use of keys, and is a song of encouragement for those who are down: “While you lie sleeping alone in the night beneath the wind-driven snow/Hope springs eternal, the birth of new life, the bloom, a wild rose/Seasons bring changes, the day loses light, and darkness it comes and it goes/Splendid and perfect, eternally bright/God planted each wild rose.”

‘In His Plan’ is upbeat musically and reflects on the tension between self-reliance and God-reliance: “Sometimes I still think I know best/That I can face this world alone/So much was wrong, I should have known/Now I feel like my goals are out of reach and my plans all fell apart/Dreams extracted from my heart/What if these dreams were blinding me to all that God has planned for me?” ‘I am Yours’ is a reverent ballad with nice strings and orchestration by Jimmy Nichols. The song clearly finds Julie relying on God: “A gentle peace surrounds me/The stillness calms my soul/Surrendering all my fears/I give You control/Whispering a new song written on my wounded heart/Your faithfulness has given me life.”

‘Lord You Reign’ is a song suitable for congregational worship: “We lift our hands and sing to You/For You are great, amazing/Lord You reign on high, victorious/Now and forever, Blessed Redeemer/Lord You reign.” ‘Breathe in Me’ is a soft song that begins with these words of vulnerability: “Here I am again/Trapped inside myself with my impatient heart/Praying for a sign/Waiting is the hardest part/So many times I don’t understand why it takes so long/Till I give it all over to You.”

‘Here I Am’ features great electric guitar work by Dave Cleveland and has a rock feel to it. It contains these wonderful words of submission: “Not running away anymore/Not turning my back on You, Lord/See I finally heard You knock on the door/Now my heart is open/Here I am.” ‘Peace I Leave with You’ is very mellow and speaks of the pain of losing a loved one or a close friend: “Took your love forgranted/The hopes and dreams you planted/I always thought you’d be here/A voice to calm all my fears/Now echoes in my mind/Words I won’t hear/Or feel again.”

‘Be Thou my Vision’ is well executed and should please fans of sacred music. It is a traditional Irish hymn (translation by Eleanor Hull 1912). The rendition here, combines the hymn’s traditional words with a new chorus by Al Denson, Julie, and Robert White Johnson: “Thou and Thou only/First in my heart/High King of Heaven/My Treasure Thou art” and “Be still and know/For I am God/Wherever you go/My peace you will know.” ‘Freedom in Love’ is a six minute triumphant sounding rocker that ends the album on a positive note lyrically: “Walking in faith, now I am strong/Awaken the fire inside my heart/To the reflection of Your truth/Give it all up/No turning back/Here I am rescued by grace/When a Voice inside said I’m not alone.”

Julie Elias has performed at major festivals such as Spirit West Coast, Ichthus, and Cornerstone, and at Walt Disney World’s Night of Joy. She shares: “I’ve always believed you can hear words, but you can feel music. What is a relationship with God without feeling His presence through your entire being? Sometimes songs can touch you in a way that words cannot.” A WILD ROSE reveals an artist who fluctuates between Kari Jobe type pop/worship music and Alannah Myles chick rock with a bit of an edge. Julie performs both styles equally well. Her vocals are clear and crisp. I would like her to put out a straight up Gospel rock record in the future. On A WILD ROSE, Jason Webb plays piano, keys, and accordion. Veteran CCM artist Lisa Bevill is one of the background vocalists. The photos of Julie included with this project are quite pretty. If you’re looking for an album to lift your spirits, this one’s for you. I’m rating it 84%. For more info visit