Tuesday, December 31, 2013


Bloodgood released their debut ep METAL MISSIONARIES in 1985.  The next year they put out their self-titled full length debut produced by Darrell Mansfield.  Michael Bloodgood says: “The idea for putting Bloodgood together came long before there was anything like Christian/White Metal.  It was born through prayer and a burden the Lord put on my heart.  At the time, there was no outreach of any kind for all the people into metal and headbangers simply wouldn’t listen to anything else...As the months went on, it became clear that the Lord wanted to use me to be a part of this new work”.  It has been 22 years since they released their swan song ALL STAND TOGETHER.  In 2010 they were inducted into the Christian Music Hall of Fame.  Now Bloodgood is back with DANGEROUSLY CLOSE (2013, B. Goode Records).  It is mastered by former group member David Zaffiro.  Today, Bloodgood is: Michael Bloodgood (bass/bgvs), Les Carlsen (lead vocals), Paul Jackson (guitar/bgvs), Oz Fox (guitar/backing vocals), and Kevin Whisler (drums).  Fox joined in 2007 and is also in Stryper.

The lead off single, written by Les Carlsen and Paul Jackson, is ‘Lamb of God’.  It is a memorable heavy metal number that declares who Jesus is and what He has accomplished: “On His knees He washed our feet/Poured His blood on the mercy seat/Told us to love one another/Lay down your life for your brother/Lamb of God/Born of a virgin/Water to wine/Taught in the temple/Healed the blind/Holy Spirit/Fruit of the vine/I am Yours/You are mine.../Lamb of God”.  ‘Run Away’ is a catchy rocker.  It is the familiar story of a man who finds himself being seduced by a dangerous woman: “I shouldn’t be here/Oh God, help me/Give me the strength to leave this place/What was I thinking?/I know this is wrong/Run away (from the spider’s web)/Run away (you soon will be dead)/Run away (the wise men said)/Run away and hide/Run away (from where she lays)/Run away (she’s an open grave)/Run away (the wise men say)/Run away, run away and hide/Run away!”

‘Child on Earth’ features a great electric guitar solo by Oz Fox and is prophetic in nature: “The fall of man/You’ll overcome/To earth Your Son You’ll send/And He will be/The Lamb of God/And wash away our sins/Virgin birth, Child on earth...Amen/Crucify, pierced His side...Amen”.  ‘I Will’ is an artistic rocker.  It is also a song of testimony: “Oh, You’ve rescued me/Gave me eyes to see/Oh, Your love for me is guiding my life/Oh, You shower me with pure ecstasy/All the plans for me are shining so bright/I will, I will, I will/Sing for Your glory and I wanna fly on the wings of Your love”.

‘Bread Alone’ is a tasty heavy metal treat.  It warns us that material things can’t complete us or meet our deepest needs: “You know the world will tell you, ‘Satisfy yourself/The most important thing is you and no one else’/And everything you own and all that you consume/Will not be able to keep you from the tomb/I want to testify and need to tell the truth/And as the years go by, I’m further from my youth/And that’s just fine with me/These lines are living proof/We don’t live by bread alone!”  ‘Pray’ speaks of the importance of conversing with our Maker: “When you awake your day begins/Speak to God, confess your sins/Call to mind the ones you love/Lift your enemies up above/Bring to Him the world today and pray/Pray, pray, pray, pray!/Call for those who need some peace/They hurt so bad and seek release/And so you bow and make request/For those so tired in need of rest”.

‘I Can Hold On’ finds Eric Robert on the Hammond organ.  It is a ballad about spiritual determination: “I can hold on and stay the road You put me on/My life, Your love, this is right where I belong/And I surrender the guilty memories/It doesn’t matter what I’ve done before/From the moment I saw Your face/My wasted past is not welcome anymore/I’ll never stop fightin’/Never stop trying, never denyin’/Never stop fightin’/Never stop trying, never denyin’/’Til the day I die”.  ‘Run the Race’ is a hard rocker with a punch, that encourages us to pursue intimacy with God: “Lose your life/Find yourself/Stay the course/Run the race that He has given you/Go!/To the Word of God where you find the source/It’s His written voice, yeah/In the quiet place/A still small voice/Just you and God, yeah”.

‘Father Father’ is a dare I say, pretty ballad, that starts with these words written from the perspective of Jesus: “I’m hanging on a tree ‘cause I love you/Walking on the sea, ‘cause I can/I’m coming to visit, I’m not going to stay/I’ll be out of here in just a few days/Now my arms are wide open to embrace/The pain that I have is raw and real/But the joy!/Outweighs the disgrace/Father, Father, you know how I feel”.  ‘Man in the Middle’ is a guitar driven rocker that is one of the strongest songs on the album.  Lyrically, it will please those who like clear songs about the atonement: “Via De La Rosa, the road to the cross/The Lamb of God redeeming the lost/Carry the load and the disgrace/Willing to be there in my place.../Torn in the flesh/Ripped open skin/Never cried out, never gave in/Determined to die and go to the grave/This act of love, so all might be saved”.

‘Crush Me’ is a cry for God to bring us under His full control: “My lips say I adore You/But my heart is so wild/Love me, find me/Break me, crush me/Fix me and give me life again/Love me, find me, break me/Crush me, fix me/And give me life again”.  The closing song ‘In The Trenches’ was penned by Les and Michael and uses vocal distortion.  It is a song of spiritual encouragement: “Don’t be a dead man walking/Faith untested is no faith at all/Nothing grows in the mountain tops, but in the trenches!/If you believe, don’t be afraid/If you believe, fall on your knees/If you believe, then you’ll be saved/If you believe!”

DANGEROUSLY CLOSE finds Bloodgood in fine form.  If you are an old school metal fan who appreciates meaty guitar work, distinct vocals, and straight forward evangelical lyrics, this one is for you!  I recommend it to fans of Stryper and Whitecross and am rating it 88%.  For more info visit: www.bloodgoodband.com.


Thursday, December 12, 2013


I would like to begin by extending my deepest sympathies to Angela, Timaya, Kyla, Trinity, Josiah and Winter.  Also to Sam's mother Fay, brother Gord, and all of Sam's other close relatives and friends.

When I first met Sam Losey, I was a student at Emmanuel Bible College in Kitchener, Ontario in the mid 1990's.  I remember him wearing a red and black lumberjack shirt.  Upon getting to know him, it quickly became apparent he was not a city boy!  He was simple, unsophisticated, and did not try to impress people by being something he was not.

Over the next several years, Sam and I truly became best friends.  In our case, the saying 'A true friend sticks closer than a brother' was true.  While on dorm Sam and I became each other's confidants and accountability partners.  We told each other EVERYTHING about each other's lives.  We supported each other through many family and relationship realtionship issues.  As most of you know, Sam had the much too rare ability to listen without judging.  If I had messed it up royally in my spiritual life, I knew I could go to him, anytime day or night and talk and pray it out with him.  He and i saw the potential in each other and who we could be in Christ if we kept pressing on.

It was not unusual for Sam and I to get involved in lively discussions about theological matters such as the 'once saved always saved theory'.  We would also spend crazy amounts of time voicing our opinions on how Bible colleges and churches should properly be administrated.

Of course, not all of our time was spent in the spiritual realm.  I remember spending many a Saturday in his dorm room hanging out and watching shows like Hercules and Xena Warrior Princess.  Also, he and I, and several other Bible college buddies would grab our Sunday noon lunch trays from the campus cafeteria and religiously go back to dorm together to watch WWF pro-wrestling and all the circus that is is.  We had a lot of good laughs.  Sam also was an avid player of foosball in the rec room at college, as our dear friend Grant Waters who is here today, could attest to.  Sam did have a competitive side, but never in a mean way.

Sam had the patience of Job.  On our dorm we had a fellow who never went to class and just wandered around and played video games.  Many of us found him irritating.  I think Sam did too, but Sam poured his life into this other guy's and spent many hours hanging out with him, making him feel wanted.  Sam had a heart for mission work and seeing people come to Christ.  It was he and Ang's dream to start a ranch for troubled kids.  We can only speculate now what a blessing that ministry would have been.

I am sure we will all miss Sam's smile and laughter and love of life.  People were naturally drawn to Sam.  I remember one of our close Korean friends had a habit of sitting down by Sam and literally caressing Sam's hairy arm.  Most guys would have been spooked by this, but Sam took it all in stride.

After our life on dorm together, Sam and I moved into a fourteenth floor apartment behind Fairview Mall in Kitchener with two of our close friends Shawn and Steve.  One of my best memories from this time is Sam and Shawn arguing over whether Garth Brooks was a Christian or not.  I'm not sure who won...Of interest, Sam from the country, who listened to the likes of Randy Travis and Billy Ray Cyrus, actually had a couple of hard rock tracks by Gun 'N' Roses in his music collection which I found interesting.

Sam's time at Bible college ended before mine.  I remember balling my eyes out and asking him how we would manage being so far apart from each other and not seeing each other every day.  He simply told me that God would take care of both of us and just because we didn't see each other that much didn't mean we weren't still close friends.

As the years passed on, it seemed everytime he would call, he and Ang were expecting another child.  I would ask him how they could handle so many kids.  He admitted it took a lot of energy, but he and Angela worked superbly as a team.

I would like to say a few words about Angela.  Sam was head over heels for you.  He loved you with all of his heart.  You truly were the missing piece of his puzzle.  He spoke only good about you and the two of you wre an incredible team.  Though Sam is gone from this earth, I am sure He will be cheering you on from above.  You can see him in the eyes of your five children.  If Sam were here, he would say: "It's going to be okay.  God is in control.  God loves you.  Go forward and make a difference in this life for Christ".  Rely on God and your family, friends, and church for support.  Ang, you are welcome at our house anytime.

To Sam's five wonderful kids: Daddy loves you very much.  He just has to do it from heaven now.  He will always be with you in your hearts.  I am sure you will laugh a lot about how funny your daddy was.  Your Daddy would say: "Always love Jesus. God is listening when you pray.  Help your mommy with the chores".

Fay and Gord, I learned a lot about your family from Sam.  I can truly say he loved you guys so very much.  You were always on his mind.  As you grieve, may you be flooded with many great memories of your son and brother.  Also, feel free to visit me or stay in contact online.  Sam would want you both to stay close to God.  God does not expect us to be perfect but wants us to stay close to Him and serve Him.

Sam knew well, even back in college, he did not know how long his days on earth would be, due to his health problems.  Nonetheless, he lived life with abandon and to the fullest and did not dwell on future complications.

When I heard that Sam had passed away, I felt a piece of me had died.  So many of my secrets and struggles are "buried" in a sense, with Sam.  I will never be the same again and I am sure many of you here could say that.

In closing, I want to relate something I hope with comfort Sam's family.  A week or two before Sam's death, when I would call my dad, he would play me a song over the phone from his CD player before we'd start to talk.  Well, the night I called Dad to tell him that Sam had died, wouldn't you know it, the song Dad played me was 'Far Side Banks of Jordan'.  I said to Dad: "You won't believe how appropriate that song is" and then I told him the news.  I would like to close with a few of the lyrics from that song: "If it proves to be His will that I am first to go/And somehow I've got a feeling it will be/When it comes your time to travel likewise don't feel lost/For I will be the first one that you'll see/And I'll be waiting on the far side banks of Jordan/I'll be waiting drawing pictures in the sand/And when I see you coming I will rise up with a shout/And come running through the shallow waters reaching for your hand".

Those who know Christ will see Sam again and when  we do, he will have a new and glorious body.  We love you Sam and God bless!

Friday, December 06, 2013


The genesis of Third Day can be traced to Marietta, Georgia.  In 1996 they released their successful self-titled, debut album.  In 2009 they were inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame.  MIRACLE is their 12th album.  It was released in 2012 on Essential Records and sold 29,000 copies in the first week.  On this project Third Day is: Tai Anderson (bass), David Carr (drums), Mark Lee (guitars), and Mac Powell (vocals).  MIRACLE was produced by Brendan O’Brien who has worked with the likes of Stone Temple Pilots, Pearl Jam, and Bruce Springsteen.  O’Brien also plays B3 organ, piano, keyboards, percussion, and parlor guitar on the album.  Most importantly he provides a lot of great backing vocals.  He is quoted as saying: “When I hear this music…it’s very inviting.  It brings people in.  It’s saying ‘Come along and hear what we have to say’.  It really moves me.  I really appreciate the hard work these guys have done”.  Longtime touring band member of Third Day, Scotty Wilbanks, plays piano, B3 organ, CP70, and mellotron on MIRACLE.


The album opener ‘Hit me like a Bomb’ is a pounding rock song that speaks dramatically of how God can take a person’s life by storm: “Hear the sound of the sirens ringing/See the world of a life that’s changing/Well, You hit me like a bomb/I was scared and I started running/Can’t say I never saw it coming/When You hit me like a bomb”.  ‘Kicking and Screaming’ is a pop song about a person who is totally committed to another: “What if I told you that I love you?/What if I showed you just how much?/I would do anything to hold you/Give everything to prove my love/Yeah, yeah, no one can keep me from your side/Yeah, yeah, but if they ever even try/They’d have to drag me away/Kicking and screaming”.


The next song ‘Your Love is Like a River’ is pretty and contains these poetic lyrics of testimony: “When I am tired and so afraid/Your love is like a fire that will light my way/When darkness falls and my vision fades/Your love is like a fire that will light my way/And it’s always burning and stirring my soul/To know You and love You much more/It never stops or ever fades/Your love is like a fire that will light my way”.  ‘I Need a Miracle’ is the awesome lead single and one of the best CCM songs in recent memory.  It confirms that God is the One most folks cry out to when at the end of their rope: “Well, no matter who you are/And no matter what you’ve done/There will come a time/When you can’t make it on your own/And in your hour of desperation/Know you’re not the only one/Prayin’ ‘Lord above, I need a miracle/I need a miracle’”.


‘You are my Everything’ features beautiful instrumentation and could be addressed to God or a human love interest: “Well, I’ve been in love before/But it’s never felt like this/When you’re knocking at my door/How can I resist?/And I’ll give you all I have/And I hope that you believe/I’d do anything you want in this world/Just to have you here with me/You are my everything”.  ‘For the rest of my Life’ finds Mac Powell practising his falsetto.  This song is a declaration of love for and dependence on God: “You rescued me from the darkness/I feel the warmth and the light/Somehow You’ve pulled me out of/A sea of pain and doubt/I’m never gonna go that way again/For the rest of my life/Will You be by my side?/I can’t make it by myself/I want You and no one else/For the rest of my life”.


‘I Want to Believe in You’ is an energetic number that finds the band pouring out their hearts: “I want to believe in faith and hope and life and dreams/Grace and love and all those things/Most of all, I want to believe in You/I want to believe in peace and freedom for all man/Redemption and a second chance/Most of all I want to believe in You/I want to believe in You”.  ‘The Victory’ is a gritty rock song of bold determination, that many of us will be able to relate to: “I’ve been fighting like a soldier/From the day that I was born/Trying to make it through the hard times/Of this cruel world/But I’m keeping my head up/Even if I am alone/And I’ll be fighting till/The good Lord takes me home”.


‘Take me Back’ again includes very relatable lyrics: “I wonder if I’ve gone too far/Lord, please help me get back home/Where I belong”.  These words from ‘Forever Yours’ seem to be spoken by one awaiting the day they will be reunited with their spouse in heaven: “When it’s time to leave this world/And reach the other side/I’ll wait for you upon that distant shore/For I have made a promise/And I hope you won’t forget/I will always remain forever yours/Somewhere far beyond this place/And in another time/I know we’ll be together once again/For I have made a promise/And I hope you won’t forget/I will always remain forever yours/Forever yours”.


‘Time’s Running Out On Me’ is a cool rock song that includes good guitar work and finds the band grappling with their mortality: “There’s so many places I wanna see/So many things that I wanna be/But time’s running out on me/There’s so many places I gotta go/So many things that I need to know/But time’s running out on me/Time’s running out on me”.  The last song ‘Morning Has Broken’ is skillfully performed and its lyrics were penned by Eleanor Farjeon in 1931.  This song ends MIRACLE on a cheerful note: “Mine is the sunlight/Mine is the morning/Born of the one light/Eden saw play/Praise with elation/Praise every morning/God’s recreation/Of the new day”.


In the liner notes Third Day write: “All glory to God for His mercy, provision, and grace”.  Drummer David Carr says: “If there is any overarching theme on the record, it’s about pressing on and holding onto faith in the midst of doubt”.  MIRACLE proves that Third Day is one of the best and tightest bands in CCM.  The musicianship and vocals are top notch and their lyrics are relevant to today’s society.  My only beef is that there are not enough all out rockers on the album.  I’m rating MIRACLE 87%.  For more info visit: www.thirdday.com and www.providentpress.com.



Friday, November 29, 2013


A press release says: “Stryper are back to reclaim their throne in the hard rock/heavy metal world with the release of their 8th studio album...”  NO MORE HELL TO PAY was released in 2013 on Frontiers Records.  It debuted at Number Two on the Contemporary Christian chart and Number 33 on the Top 200 Billboard chart.  Today, Stryper is comprised of all four original members: Michael Sweet (lead vocals, lead and rhythm guitar), Robert Sweet (drums, visual timekeeping), Oz Fox (lead and rhythm guitar, vocals), and Timothy Gaines (bass, vocals).  On this latest album Paul McNamara plays additional keys and synths.  Of the album title, Michael Sweet says that the hells we face on earth include addiction, financial ruin, and losing somebody”.   He adds: “When we get to heaven, there’s no more hell to pay”.  He also produced the much hyped album.

‘Revelation’ is the terrific hard rock opener.  It is written from the perspective of Jesus Christ and features some of the boldest lyrics ever from Stryper: “I’m, I’m coming like a thief at night/You, you’re out of time so make it right/There will be no more apologies/Cause My, My wrath/Will spread like a disease/There’s a revelation/It’s coming after you/Without hesitation/It’s gonna bring the truth”.  ‘No More Hell to Pay’ is a very strong title track penned by the Sweet brothers.  It is a song about diehard commitment to Christ no matter what: “I am taking it a day at a time/And I don’t care what the doubting voices say/I am lifting up the Name that will shine/And the light of heaven’s brighter every day/Oh, I know that it’s rough/Though I know there is pain/Even so when it’s tough/I will not be ashamed/If the dawn reveals the end of days/I’ll follow You till there’s/No more hell to pay”.

‘Saved By Love’ is very fast-paced and opens with a signature scream by Michael Sweet.  The song offers hope to the weary: “We can’t forget what brought us this far/It’s heaven sent, beyond the big star/Just when we’re feeling that we’re going down/We can’t go on anymore/We’re restored/We’re saved by love/We’re saved by love”.  ‘Jesus is Just Alright’ was penned by Arthur Reid Reynolds.  Many of my readers will be familiar with the Doobie Brothers version from 1972.  Others may prefer DC TALK’s 1992 version.  Stryper now puts a fun heavy metal spin on the song that will have you stomping your feet with glee.  Here are some of the simple words: “Jesus is just alright with me, Jesus is just alright, oh yeah/Jesus is just alright with me/Jesus is just alright/I don’t care what they may say/I don’t care what they may do/I don’t care what they may say/Jesus is just alright, oh yeah/Jesus is just alright.../Jesus, He’s my best friend (2X)/He took me by the hand, led me far from this broken land/Jesus, Jesus, He’s my best friend”.

Next up is ‘The One’.  It is the album’s only ballad and it’s a good one.  It is a love song for Michael’s wife Lisa: “I say with a smile/All I should with a word/And you’ve stayed for a while/It’s bordering on absurd/Cause that’s your glory and pains my story/But grace is what I’d prefer/Oh, you still move me/You will always be the one”.  ‘Legacy’ finds Stryper in heavy metal heaven.  The vocals are gritty and the guitars are meaty.  This song encourages us to think on things eternal: “We’ve built an empire/That in the end we can’t take with us/We walk the high wire/We cross the boundaries/And that’s our rush/Oh, but when we step/Beyond the other side/There will be nothing to hide/What’s our legacy?/Will we be humbled/Far beyond our pride?/Or are we in for a rough ride?/What’s our legacy?”

Michael Sweet wrote the original version of ‘Marching Into Battle’ when he was sixteen.  The song has evolved into a real fist-pumping rocker that has direct end time lyrics that would make Jack and Rexella Van Impe proud: “I saw the heavens open/And behold a white horse/The One that was sitting upon him/Was called faithful and true/His eyes were like two burning flames/And on His head a gold crown/He wore a vesture of blood/With a Name nobody knew/Marching into battle (3X)”.  The next track is called ‘Te Amo’ which is Spanish for ‘I Love You’.  These lyrics praise a human love interest: “You were there when I could sense no other soul/And you cared when I was down and letting go/You’re an angel that came down to earth to be/The saving grace/To help this non-believer see/There is more, so much more/Hidden deep beneath this land of stone/Now it’s known, I’m not alone”.

‘Sticks & Stones’ has a melodic chorus that should serve as a battle cry for those who have been wounded by another: “Sticks and stones may break my bones/But words will never hurt me, so they say/Oh well, yours hurt like hell/I’m a fighter on the mend/And I will rise above the world you spin/You fail, I wish you well”.  Michael Sweet says the next song ‘Water Into Wine’ has an AC/DC vibe to it.  Lyrically, it reminds us that we have an important choice to make when it comes to responding to Christ: “He turned water into wine/And made the blind man see/He cast devils out, into swine/He’s came to set you free/The road to hell is wide, but heaven’s narrow/Will we stop tryin’ to hide or be like Pharoah?”

Dave Mustaine, who is the founding guitarist/vocalist of Megadeth and the original lead guitarist for Metallica, is a fan of the catchy song ‘Sympathy’.  Michael Sweet says that we need to give each other more sympathy and not be so quick to judge.  Here are some of the song’s words: “Set in stone and sealed, I seem unbreakable/I’m forgiven-I forgive/As hearts degrade/Can I find some sympathy?/As mercy fades/I am blind but I just want to see”.  The closing track still finds Stryper rocking out.  The message is one of surrendering to Almighty God: “I’ve been running, I’ve been gone/Not forthcoming for so long/Disillusioned, heartless too/Convoluted, through and through/But I’m giving myself up and over to You/Take me, shape me/Break me, make me renewed”.  The song is called ‘Renewed’.

NO MORE HELL TO PAY is an album that most definitely lives up to its hype.  It is the best Stryper record in years.  Michael Sweet’s vocals are stronger than ever.  The electric guitar work is absolutely hot.  It is encouraging to see these guys still so passionate about their faith and their music after all these years!  The album artwork and band and individual photos are very professionally done.  Stryper continues to be a light in a dark place and for that I am grateful.  I’m rating NO MORE HELL TO PAY 97%.

The deluxe edition of the album comes with a 21 minute behind the scenes documentary look at the making of the album and the meanings of the songs.  The dvd also includes official music videos for ‘No More Hell to Pay’ and ‘Sympathy’.  You can catch Stryper live at the Rockpile West and the Rockpile East in Toronto April 24th and 25th, 2014.  For more info visit: www.stryper.com and www.frontiers.it.



Tuesday, November 26, 2013


The Christian Herald reports: “Each member of 1 Girl Nation had been pursuing separate musical careers when they heard about a unique opportunity to audition for a faith-based, all-female pop group”.  Lauryn Taylor Bach is from Alabama.  Kelsey Sowards is from Chicago and has a degree in music education.  Carmen Justice grew up in the Nashville area and attended Belmont University.  Lindsey Ciresi is a pastor’s kid from Florida.  Kayli Robinson grew up on military bases all over the world, as her father was in the Air Force.  She says: “The whole point of everything that we do is to bring more people into the Kingdom of Christ”.  The girls list Diane Sheets as their vocal coach.  1 Girl Nation’s debut album is self-titled and released in 2013 on Reunion Records.

The group’s contagious debut pop single ‘While We’re Young’ written by Jason Ingram, Chuck Butler, and Tony Wood, starts things off.  It is a song of declaration: “We’re gonna go right when the world goes left/Cause we don’t wanna waste even one of these days/We’re gonna save ourselves the heartache/We’re not looking back on what we wished we’d done/We’re gonna risk it all for one thing/And live for Jesus while we’re young”.  ‘Vertical’ is a fast-paced dance track that reveals these five gals are on a clear mission: “All the broken, all the hopeless, strangers in need/They are with us, they are Jesus, all the least of these/Oh Lord, how we need Your strength to stand/Oh Lord, help us be your Your feet and hands/We’re going vertical, praying for miracles/Wanna see heaven here on earth/Lifting our hands up high, people of God unite/Together we can change this world”.

‘Live For You’ finds the group overcome with God’s goodness: “You make me light up just like matches/If only I could find the words to say/Can’t think, can’t speak when I feel Your grace/Cause You love me up to outer space/You really blow my mind like dynamite/And I’m always gonna live for You.../I’m like a work of art made in Your hands/Van Gogh couldn’t draw like You”.  ‘In The Eyes’ is an effective ballad that could be addressed to those kids and teens who have been bullied: “You are treasured, you are beautiful/In the eyes, in the eyes of the One who made you/You are perfect/You’re worth more than you know/In the eyes, in the eyes of the One who made you/So you’re different, let them say you are/Cause you’re the vision of the Father’s heart”.

‘Count Your Rainbows’ was written by Lauryn Taylor Bach, Casey Brown, and Jonathan Smith.  It is reminiscent of Taylor Swift’s pop material and encourages perseverance: “The hands that paint the sky and lift the sun to rise/Will keep on holding you close through every season/Mercy and morning light breaks through the darkest night/So keep believing no matter what you’re seeing/Ooooo, just remember/He’ll bring you brighter days”.  The hip sounding ‘Love Like Crazy’ features Royal Tailor who were nominated for a Grammy for their debut album which released in 2011.  This song shows a desire to go against society’s flow: “We are meant to burn bright, be a light/Illuminate the night sky/We gotta be the spark/Show the world who we are/And love like crazy/We gotta follow to lead/Take a stand on our knees/And love like crazy/We’re gonna let it shine/We wanna live like Christ/We gotta be the spark”.

‘Turn Around’ reminds us that no matter how bad we’ve screwed up in the past God offers us a bright future with a clean slate: “You’re never too far from a brand new start/You can turn around, turn around/Cause where you have been isn’t who you are/You can turn around, turn around/You don’t have to stay down/He can lift you up now/Cause you’re never too far from a brand new start/You can turn around, turn around/Second chances are in His hands/He’ll forgive you even when you can’t”.  ‘Invade’ packs a good one-two punch musically.  The words put youthful exuberance on display: “There’s something in the air, something in the water/We can’t be quiet anymore/We are sons and daughters/You have given us a reason to jump and shout/Tell the world about how we’re sold out/No, we’re not afraid, we are outlaws/We will live on the edge, be a rebel/Oh, Your love, Your love, it has covered me/Gotta tell the world how to be free/We, we will invade this world for You/Spark a generation with the truth”.

‘Daddy’s Girl’ was penned by Keith Everette Smith (who also plays piano here), Jessica Campbell, and Jason Cox.  Chris Carmichael is responsible for strings.  This is a quiet song of deep gratitude for a loving, earthly father: “Ooh, one in a million and I got to be yours/Our souls are forever tied together/Through tears and all the laughter/You love me like no other/You say I’m the center of your whole wide world/I’ll always be my daddy’s girl/You danced me ‘cross the kitchen floor/And we’ll dance the day you give me away/You’re the first call when I need advice/You always know the right words to say”.  Of the album’s title track, which interestingly ends things off, Lindsey says: “It’s our message.  It encourages girls to stop all the gossiping and trash talk, but come together, be strong, and live for their faith.  Come together as a  1 Girl Nation.  Our message is unifying the generation that’s rising”.  This power pop song includes these words: “Drama, drama, talking smack on the internet/Sister, she’s just like you/So don’t talk trash ‘cause you’ve been there too.../Come together as a one girl nation/Shout it to all creation/Jesus is our foundation/We stand strong, it’s a revolution”.

1 Girl Nation performed on the Secret Keeper Girl Crazy Hair Tour in six Ontario cities this November.  These events targeted girls aged 8 to 12 and their mom’s.  1 Girl Nation’s music and message is smart, relevant, and contemporary.  They don’t talk down to their audience.  I highly recommend this album to those pop music lovers who value good, clean lyrics.  Fans of Zoegirl and Everlife will love this album which I’m rating 90%.  For more info visit: www.1girlnation.com and www.providentpress.com.


Tuesday, November 19, 2013


A recent press release says: “For The Hagees, music is ingrained in the very fabric of their lives.  Tina, Sandy, and Pastor Matt grew up gathering around the family piano singing along with their Dad, Pastor John Hagee-a memory painted in their minds like a classic postcard”.  John is Senior Pastor of San Antonio’s Cornerstone Church which has nearly 20,000 members.  Matthew Hagee is Associate Pastor.  Tina works in marketing, while Sandy is an attorney.  The Hagees’ new cd is CHRISTMAS (2013, Difference Media).  It was produced by Michael Sykes (Gaither Vocal Band, The Oak Ridge Boys) and Aaron Crabb.  These words from the cd insert set the tone for the album: “As you walk through the front door of the Hagee home you are overwhelmed.  Greeted by garland wrapped stairs and twinkle lights, the delicious aromas pouring from the kitchen stir your appetite”.

CHRISTMAS begins with a cover of Mercy Me’s 2007 hit ‘God With Us’.  Matthew is on lead vocals.  This song delights in spiritual freedom and victory through Christ: “All that is within me cries/For You alone to be glorified/Emmanuel God with us/My heart sings a brand new song/My debt is paid/And these chains are gone/Emmanuel God with us”.  ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ has a warm feel to it musically.  These lyrics paint a picture of utopia: “Have yourself a merry little Christmas/Make the yuletide gay/From now on our troubles will be miles away/Here we are as in olden days/Happy golden days of yore/Faithful friends who are dear to us/Gather near to us once more”.  ‘Blue Christmas’ was written by Billy Hays and Jay Johnson in 1948.  It has an old country feel to it and conveys heartache during the holidays: “I’ll have a blue Christmas without you/I’ll be so blue thinkin’ about you/Decorations of red on a green Christmas tree/Won’t be the same, if you’re not here with me”.

On ‘O Holy Night’ Pastor John takes the lead.  The song is given a traditional, reverent treatment.  These words make clear the deep significance of Christ’s birth for humankind: “O holy night, the stars are brightly shining/It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth/Long lay the world in sin and error pining/Till He appeared and the soul felt it’s worth/A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices/For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn/Fall on your knees”.  ‘That Spirit of Christmas’ was penned by Parnell Davison, Mable John, and Joel D. Webster.  The female lead vocal on this track is highly influenced by country music.  The song wishes for Christmas cheer not to be just one day of the year: “I was sittin’ by the fireside/Taking a walk through the snow/Listening to a children’s choir/Singing songs about Jesus/The blessed way that He came to us/Why can’t it remain all through the year/Each day the same?/Yeah, that’s what I wanna hear/It’s truly amazing/That spirit of Christmas”.  ‘Glory to God’, written by Matthew Hagee and Aaron Wilburn, is an inspirational style song of celebration: “More than a babe, He is the King/He’s the ruler of everything/My fallen soul He reconciled/Now I’ll sing with the angel choir/Glory to God in the highest/Peace on earth, good will to men/We sing glory to God in the highest/The King is born in Bethlehem”.

‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’ is given the traditional treatment.  This song is a sincere human appeal for intimacy with Jesus: “Holy Child of Bethlehem/Descend to us we pray/Cast out our sin and enter in/Be born to us today/We hear the Christmas angels/The great glad tidings tell/Come to us, abide with us/Our Lord, Emmanuel”.  ‘Silent Night’ was arranged by Aaron Crabb.  This version has a female lead and a lullaby quality to it: “Silent night, holy night/All is calm, all is bright/Round yon virgin mother and child/Holy infant so tender and mild/Sleep in heavenly peace/Sleep in heavenly peace”.  Pastor John sings lead on Irving Berlin’s ‘White Christmas’  The song is sentimental: “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas/Just like the ones I used to know/Where the treetops glisten and children listen/To hear sleigh bells in the snow/I’m dreaming of a white Christmas/With every Christmas card I write”.

Matthew takes the lead on ‘I’ll Be Home For Christmas’.  This is one of three songs that uses a choir arranged by Wesley Pritchard.  This first song could easily be delivered by a soldier serving his or her country overseas: “I’ll be home for Christmas/You can count on me/Please have snow and mistletoe/And presents on the tree/Christmas Eve will find me/Where the love light beams/I’ll be home for Christmas/If only in my dreams”.  ‘A Baby Changes Everything’ was originally recorded by Faith Hill.  It is a terrific song written from the perspective of an expecting Mary: “Teenage girl, much too young/Unprepared for what’s to come/A baby changes everything/Not a ring on her hand/All her dreams and all her plans/A baby changes everything (2X)/The man she loves, she’s never touched/How will she keep his trust?/A baby changes everything(2X)/And she cries!”. 

The cozy sounding ‘The Christmas Song’ was written by Mel Torme and Robert Wells.  It reminds us that Christmas is especially for children: “Tiny tots with their eyes all aglow/Will find it hard to sleep tonight/They know that Santa’s on his way/He’s loaded lots of toys and goodies on his sleigh/And every mother’s child is going to spy/To see if reindeer really know how to fly”.  The album closes with a song originally recorded by the late Whitney Houston.  The song is filled with wonder: ``Mommies and daddies always believe/That their little angels are special indeed/And you could grow up to be anything/But who would imagine a King?/A shepherd or teacher is what you could be/Maybe a fisherman out on the sea/Or maybe a carpenter building things/But who would imagine a King?”.

Pastor John writes: “The first Christmas morning in Bethlehem’s manger was the birth of Hope itself for a world enslaved by the power of sin.  The birth of Jesus Christ brought spiritual and civil liberty to all the world”.  The vocals on CHRISTMAS are spot on and the musical accompaniment is pleasant.  This album does indeed sound like Christmas music and it is a bonus that it includes both secular and sacred songs.  I recommend this album to older folks and those who like their music more laid back.  There is not much experimentation with the standards and Pastor John only takes the lead on a couple of songs.  The spotlight is mainly on his children’s vocals.  John’s daughters are beautiful, not taking a backseat to the Kardashian sisters.  I’m rating CHRISTMAS 80%.  For more info visit: www.jhm.org, www.differencemedia.org, and www.turningpointpr.com.


Friday, November 15, 2013


Ryan Stevenson is a Boise, Idaho based artist who grew up in rural Oregon.  While at Northwest Christian College in Eugene, Oregon, his friends included Shawn McDonald and Paul Wright, both names familiar to Christian music fans.  Ryan’s career took off when he won the Idaho State Fair’s ‘Christian Battle of the Bands’.  He is a husband and father of two boys, and a worship leader at Vertical Church Boise.  He thanks his wife Kim “for walking with me and holding onto our family even through the loneliest, hopeless, uncertain times”.  Ryan’s new release is the four song ep HOLDING NOTHING BACK (2013, Gotee Records).  The first three songs were produced by Jamie Moore and mixed by Christopher Stevens.


First up is Ryan’s terrific debut single, the title track.  The writers are Ryan, Jamie Moore, and Toby McKeehan.  It has adult contemporary written all over it.  Ryan says: “It’s one of the most personal, vulnerable songs I have written”.  The lyrics essentially find Ryan pouring out his heart to God: “I’ve got a list that goes on and on/It’s overflowing with memories of everything that I’ve been doing wrong/I’ll be the first to say/I’ve chased after so many foolish things/Looking for a way to kill the pain/Oh, I’m holding nothing back from You/It doesn’t really matter what I lose/I got a heart that’s open/I’m broken and I want You to know/Jesus, I don’t want anything coming in between You and me/Jesus, doesn’t matter what I have to go through/I’m holding nothing back, nothing back from You”.  Next up is ‘The Human Side’.  Of it, Ryan says: “This song gives me comfort in knowing that Jesus isn’t shocked by my failures or surprised when I fumble around.  We are human and yet we are loved in spite of all our failures”.  This song has a heavy, percussive beat that drives it.  Like track one, it again finds Ryan conversing with God: “I’m so thankful I can tell You/How I’m feeling, what I’m going through/I’m so thankful You can handle all of my chaos, all of my chaos/Oh, I don’t have the words to say/Oh, You’re the only hope I have today/Your, Your love keeps showing me/You understand, You understand.”


‘Lead the Way’ penned by Ryan and Jamie Moore, is a fast-paced, cheery sounding pop number.  Those believers who struggle with mental illness will be able to relate to these lyrics: “Every now and then I feel my heart becoming restless/Anxiety trying to get a hold of me/Every now and then I feel the tension taking over/I’m so distracted by everything/But You say/It’s gonna be ok/You are with me every step of the way/I don’t need to know where I’m gonna go/Just as long as You lead the way”.  The last track is a great acoustic version of ‘Speak Life’.  This song was composed by Toby McKeehan, Ryan, and Jamie Moore.  TobyMac included it on his Grammy winning album EYE ON IT.  The song deals with the power of the tongue, which is a Scriptural concept: “And it’s crazy to imagine/Words from our lips as the arms of compassion/Mountains crumble with every syllable/Hope can live or die…/Lift your head a little higher/Spread the love like fire/Hope will fall like rain/When you speak life with the words you say/Raise your thoughts a little higher/Use your words to inspire/Joy will fall like rain when you speak life/With the things you say”.


HOLDING NOTHING BACK is a short, wonderful teaser of what is to come from this very talented CCM newcomer.  His vocals are smooth and his musical stylings very entertaining.  You are sure to hear much more from Ryan Stevenson on daytime Christian radio in the future.  Ryan’s favorite movie is ‘Dumb and Dumber’.  His favorite book is William P. Young’s ‘The Shack’ (2007).  Currently on his ipod is Unspoken’s ‘Lift My Life Up’.  I’m rating HOLDING NOTHING BACK 90%.  Fans of Matthew West will enjoy it.  For more info visit: www.ryanstevensonmusic.com and www.gotee.com


Thursday, November 14, 2013


REWIRING YOUR PREACHING: HOW THE BRAIN PROCESSES SERMONS was published by InterVarsity Press in 2012.  The author is Richard H. Cox who is president emeritus of Forest Institute of Professional Psychology in Springfield, Missouri.  He teaches in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University Medical School.  He is also ordained in the Presbyterian Church (USA).

Let me begin by saying this is definitely one of the most academic books I have read in recent memory.  I did not understand every point Cox makes, and there were definitely some words/terms I was not familiar with.  That being said I did take a lot away from the book.

This offering will really get you thinking in a new way, about preachers and preaching.  For example, what qualities, insights, and qualifications should a preacher have?  Cox makes it clear that preachers today must have a working knowledge of how the brain/mind works and also how the body works.  He goes into great detail on how preachers can actively engage the minds of their congregants.  Science on how the brain works cannot be ignored by clergy.  It is crucial to understand how and why a person in the pew accepts and integrates new information into their lives.  Change starts in a person’s brain, which leads to a change in action/behaviour.  Cox also details why some people reject a sermon or parts of it.  It is not just because they are bull-headed.

Also in the book, Cox writes of how preaching and pastoring are very different. He gives us a unique look into the meaning of the sacraments in modern churches.  He also spends a fair amount of time expressing why he thinks symbols, rituals, and liturgy should not be abandoned by today’s churches.  

Cox cautions that we not get too attached to our denominations. The Gospel is what is of most import.  He gives practical suggestions on how parishioners and clergy can effectively challenge and transform the ills in modern society, whether it be in schools, politics, banks, etc.

Reading this book confirmed to me that not everyone who is a preacher should hold that office.  Just as a doctor or psychiatrist needs proper training, education, and knowledge, so too do preachers.  To be effective, preachers must first take their sermons to heart themselves and practice what they preach.  They must also have a true heart for the spiritual growth of their parishioners and community.

Preachers must preach for a decision, that is, with a specific goal in mind.  The office of preacher is not one that should be taken lightly. I’m rating REWIRING YOUR PREACHING 90%.  For more info visit: www.ivpress.com.

Thursday, November 07, 2013


Dara Joy Maclean was born on May 19, 1986 in Fort Worth, Texas.  She is of Italian heritage.  Her grandfather changed their family name from Martarella.  Dara married Donnie Petty in May of 2013.  Her website says that she “is passionate about raising the awareness of, and bringing an end to, the issue of human trafficking.”  For more info on this, visit www.ijm.org.  In 2011 she released her major label debut YOU’VE GOT MY ATTENTION which included the hits ‘Suitcases’ and ‘Free’.  Now she is back with her follow-up, WANTED (2013, Fervent/Word).  She says it is “a reminder that through the gift of God’s grace, you’re truly blessed, forgiven, good enough, that you can stop fighting and find peace, as you rest in the knowledge of God’s opinion of you and letting it be the only one that matters.  The fact that He sees you through the sacrifice of His Son and that sacrifice was enough to eternally cleanse and redeem, no matter what the story.”  WANTED was produced by Paul Mabury.

The first three songs were written by Dara, Justin Ebach, and Paul Mabury.  The title track is a bouncy pop song that invites us to run into God’s arms: “You are wanted/To every broken heart, He stands with open arms/You are wanted/To every searching soul, look to the rising sun/If you’re lonely, hurting, gone too far/To the outcast, you come as you are/For you, you are wanted, you, you are wanted/You, you are wanted, you, you are wanted/Let this be the day that joy takes the place/Of all the years that shame tried to steal away.”  ‘Our Only Hope’ is an inspiring song that speaks words of truth: “You’re Healer to the broken/Shepherd to the lost/Father to the orphan/Adopted by the cross/There’s comfort in Your arms/It’s where the healing starts/Our only hope is Jesus.”

Of the next song, ‘Set My People Free’, Dara says: “It is my mission statement and my battle cry.”  It is a rousing song that finds God speaking to His followers: “Set My people free/Go into the world, every boy and girl/Deserves to know a life beyond the fight/And reach where there’s no light or hope/So the captives know/And My enemies can see that I will/Set My people free.”  ‘Love Is’ was penned by Dara, Dave Barnes, and Paul Mabury.  It contains these words of testimony: “How could I be the same/Once I was saved by grace?/You put together every broken piece/Now faded are the scars/And all the wasted hours/With every day Your kindness wins/Now and forever I will sing/It’s Your love that saved me/Even when my heart was breaking.”

‘Good Enough’ is a great song with a laid back groove to it.  It debunks works righteousness: “So I won’t spend my whole life/Paying my own price/Tryin’ to be good enough/I’m gonna just let You love me/Finally see me the way You see/I’m believing Your grace is enough for me/Thank God I don’t have to hold on with my own strength/I’m not the one who saved me/So I’m trusting You completely.”  ‘Step Into the Light’ is one of two co-writes with the multi-talented Cindy Morgan.  This one tells of God’s healing power: “I’ve been love hungry, always trying to fill the void/And it leaves you wanting more/But when it’s real, you feel it reach inside your heart/It only restores/Hey, hey, hey, I’m so tired of trying/Gonna let grace be like sunlight shining/Step into the light/Open up your eyes/It’s already done/He’s already won the fight.”

‘Blameless’ is a ballad containing these beautiful words: “What manner of love is this/That You would lay down Your life?/You paid the price, the sacrifice for redemption/Now I am determined to know/Christ and Him crucified/Now alive and the power in me is You/Now blameless, You call me holy/I’ve been forgiven/You call me righteous and free.”  ‘You are all I Need’ is another ballad.  This one declares a total dependence on God: “You are all I need/You are strength/Never failing/You are all I seek/You alone are enough/In You I live/In You I’ll stay/By Your Word/Light the way.”

‘Nobody But You’ has a cool shuffle to it and includes these fun lyrics: “You put the soul in James Brown, the down in downtown/You throw a party in the clouds when the lost get found/You put the mind in Einstein, the gold in gold mines/And every day You find a way to save my life/You’re beautiful, you’re beautiful.”  These words from ‘I am Blessed’ show that Dara has great faith in God: “No matter what may come/You’re stronger than the storm/Forever I will say/You are always good, always good.”  Style-wise it has Alicia Keys written all over it!

‘Made’ was written for Dara’s husband.  In fact, Dara walked down the aisle to it.  It nicely uses strings and includes these romantic, somewhat mushy lyrics: “When I saw you it was different/You were autumn, you were Christmas/My perfect gift from Heaven’s door/I’ve never been loved before you/Oh, love, this is the start, where we belong/Can’t get enough of each other/Oh, love, here is my heart/Here we go falling together.”  ‘Find Rest’ ultimately ends the album off on a peaceful note both musically and lyrically: “Though the darkness falls/And the storms are raging/I will find my shelter in You, in You/Fount of mercy new/God of love unchanging/Now my heart is resting in You.” 

In the liner notes Dara writes: “I want to begin by giving glory only where it’s due, to my Father and Savior Jesus Christ for the inspiration, timing, and the gift of this record.”  Dara’s voice is surely one of the most soulful in Contemporary Christian Music.  Her vocals are rich in tone, depth, and character, and rampant with feeling!  Her influences include Etta James, Stevie Wonder, Lauryn Hill, CeCe Winans¸and Hillsong.  The pictures of Dara included with this project are just beautiful.  I’m rating WANTED 88%.  The digital deluxe edition has two bonus songs.  For more info visit: www.daramaclean.com and www.wordlabelgroup.com.


Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Brittany Nicole Waddell, better known as Britt Nicole, was born on August 2, 1984.  She began singing at age 3 in her home church, Truth Temple, in Kannapolis, North Carolina.  She is an alumna of Duke University’s Brightleaf Music Workshop.  Her first album, SAY IT, dropped in 2007 and included the hits ‘Set the World on Fire’ and ‘You’.  She followed this up with THE LOST GET FOUND in 2009.  It reached Number One on Billboard’s Christian Album’s chart.  Britt says she values the authenticity of artists such as Adele, Mary J. Blige, Taylor Swift, and Coldplay.  Britt’s third, and latest project, is GOLD.  It was originally released in 2012 on Sparrow Records.  I am reviewing here the mainstream re-release of GOLD (2013) on Capitol Records.

The title track ‘Gold’ starts things off.  Penned by Britt, Dan Muckala, and Jess Cates, this contagious dance number is the first mainstream single from the album.  It was inspired by Britt’s fans who told her they were being bullied, were struggling, and didn’t feel that they fit in anywhere.  The song is a real self-confidence booster: “Don’t let anybody tell you that you’re not loved/And don’t let anybody tell you that you’re not enough/Yeah, there are days when we all feel like we’ve messed up/But the truth is that we’re all diamonds in the rough/So don’t be ashamed to wear your crown/You’re a king, you’re a queen/Inside and out/You glow like the moon/You shine like the stars/This is for you/Wherever you are.”  ‘All This Time’ was written by Britt, David Garcia, and Ben Glover.  It is the first single for the Christian market, spending eight weeks in a row at Number One.  The song talks of how her parent’s divorce caused her pain, but states that God was there for her: “I remember the moment/I remember the pain/I was only a girl, but I grew up that day/Tears were falling/I know You saw me/Hiding there in my bedroom, so alone/I was doing my best, trying to be strong/No one to turn to/That’s when I met You.”  This pop song musically and vocally sounds like pre-major-controversy Miley Cyrus.

‘Look Like Love’ asks some very important questions: “If I believe there’s a Savior/Is the proof in me?/Is He alive and breathing?/Is He what they’ll remember?/Is He what they see/When they look at me?/Do I look like, look like love? (2X).  Britt slows things down musically with ‘Who You Say You Are’.  This one finds her confidently placing her faith in God: “Life’s gonna knock me down/It’ s not gonna keep me down/I’m gonna trust You now in every season/I know You’re here/I know You’re for me/I know that joy comes in the morning/God, I believe it now/God, I believe You now/You’re who You say You are/When life knocks me/I won’t stay down/I’ll get back on my feet now/You’re more than a conqueror.” 

‘Ready or Not’ features successful Christian hip hop artist Lecrae.  It has a cool feel to it and is about witnessing for Christ: “I’m not ever sellin’ out/A love out loud is what it’s all about/Givin’ everything to see the lost get found/Yeah, it’s goin’ down/You, you, you want me to take my light/Fit it in your box, right?/I want you to look me in the eye.../I refuse to keep this buried deep inside of me/Yeah, this lil’ light of mine, it’s time to let it shine a bit/Cause there’s no point in hidin’ it/It’s everything I am/The source of all my hope.”  ‘Breakthrough’ is a great pop song that reiterates that Britt is a fighter: “You used to have me stumblin’/Yeah, trippin’ again and again/But I been studyin’ you/And now I know you like the back of my hand/You can’t keep me here/I’ve cried too many tears/Yeah, I’ve had enough/Now I’m gonna call your bluff/You made your bet, but the stage is set, get ready/’Cuz I’m lightin’ the fuse!/...I can feel a breakthrough comin’”.

‘Stand’ was penned by Britt, Dan Muckala, and Jason Ingram.  It shows her vulnerable side: “I wake up to another day/I don’t know if I can face/All the fears that are starin’ me down/Yeah, I’m tryin’ to be brave/But I’m a thread about to fray/I want to stand, but I don’t know how/I look up and all I see is Your love holding me/When I feel like giving up/When my heart has hurt too much/Feels like I’ve reached the end.”  This one is a mellow, radio friendly song.  ‘The Sun is Rising’ is a song of encouragement that falls into the modern inspirational music category.  Here are some of the words: “The night can only last for so long/Whatever you’re facing/If your heart is breaking/There’s a promise for the ones who just hold on/Lift up your eyes and see/The sun is rising.../Even when you can’t imagine how/How you ever gonna find your way out/Even when you’re drowning in your doubt/Just look beyond the clouds/The sun is rising.”  ‘Amazing Life’ is appropriate music for a club’s dance floor: “It’s a colorful, colorful world/Painted so bright/Gonna walk on air, gonna take flight/I’ll never understand it all/It must be supernatural/I wanna drink, drink, drink every drop of sunshine/Got a smile on my face, I won’t apologize/I’ll never understand it all/It must be supernatural.”

‘Still That Girl’ is a quiet song written by Britt, David Garcia, Christopher Stevens, and Ben Glover.  It asks a good question of those of us who sometimes question God’s ways: “What if the picture is bigger than you see/And God has you right where He wants you to be?/Just listen to your heart.”  ‘Seeing for the First Time’ finds Britt having an intimate encounter with her Creator: “I lay here under the stars/In awe of who You are/You’ve never been so real/I’ll never understand it fully/Lost here in Your beauty/No words could say how I feel/It’s like I’m seeing for the first time/Like You opened my eyes/To show me everything I missed before/And I want more.”
Britt Nicole is married to Joshua Crosby.  They have a young daughter named Ella.  Britt says: “I write songs to myself and it’s always great to see them connect with other people who need to be reminded that worth doesn’t come from having all the right things or from success-it’s about being who you are.”  GOLD is a clean, fun, Christian pop album that does not disappoint!  Britt’s voice is great and the pictures of her accompanying this mainstream re-release are cute and tasteful.  This album, which I’m rating 93%, is a good alternative to a lot of the sexually infused pop music on the market today.  For more info visit: www.brittnicole.com.