Jeremy Thomas Camp was born on January 12, 1978 in Lafayette, Indiana. He has sold four million albums, had 3 American Music Award nominations, and a Grammy nomination. He is also an ordained minister. He lost his first wife to cancer at age 21 and more recently his second wife Adrienne miscarried. The Camp’s have three kids. I WILL FOLLOW (2015, Stolen Pride Records/Sparrow Records) is Jeremy’s 8th studio album. A press release says: “The lyrical and biblical depth to Jeremy’s songs reflect years of studying God’s Word, in which he gained a foundation from growing up in a pastor’s home and attending Bible college”. Here, I will be reviewing the Deluxe Edition, sixteen track, 59 minutes and 9 seconds long, version of the album.
‘Living Word’ starts things off. It is an energetic adult rock song written by Jeremy and Ian Eskelin. It shows reverence for the Bible: “I will stand on the truth/In the living word of God/’Cause every time it moves my soul/And shapes my every thought/It’s alive in me/The very breath I breathe/I’m holding on with all I’ve got/To the living Word/The living Word of God”. ‘I Will Follow (You are with Me)’ is a terrific rock song, actually one of the best I’ve heard in a while. It is one of six co-written on the standard edition of the album, with Seth Mosely. He is the album’s main producer. This song is one of great determination: “Though the desert may be before me/And there’s no relief in sight/Though the enemy is breathing all the lies into my mind/You will always carry me until my dying day/What You have for me is worth it/’Cause I’ll see You face to face/I will follow, follow You, wherever You go/And I will listen to the very promises I know”.
‘He Knows’ is a power ballad. Hebrews 4:15 reads: “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are-yet he did not sin”. These lyrics run with that theme: “He knows, He knows/Every hurt and every sting/He has walked the suffering/He knows, He knows/Let your burdens come undone/Lift your eyes up to the One who knows/He knows.../Every time that you feel forsaken/Every time that you feel alone/He is near to the broken hearted/Every tear/He knows”. ‘Finally Home’ anticipates all the good awaiting believers in Christ in the next life: “I will be dancing free/Unashamed before my King/When I am finally home/Won’t need no bed to sleep/I have too much to see/Just staring at Your throne/Eyes will fill with tears of joy/Your fullness, I will know/I will be forever running free/Moving to all Heaven’s melodies/Colors that I’ve never seen/Bigger than my wildest dreams/We’ll be together/When I’m finally home”.
‘Christ in Me’ is a co-write with Bernie Herms, Natalie Grant’s husband. It includes these words of confession: “Done with what holds me down/The things I once was chasing after/Throw off these heavy chains/That I have let become my master/Oh, so now I’m running free/Into an ocean of mercy, unending”. ‘’Til the End’ is an adult contemporary song of a man sure of his calling: “I will trust ‘til the end/Even if fear’s all around me/I will pray ‘til the end/It’s where I find my strength/I will serve ‘til the end/Showing Christ to the broken, hurting/I will stand ‘til the end/Even if I’m the last one standing”.
‘Can’t Be Moved’ is percussion heavy with a neat stomp-like feel to it. It reminds us not to store up treasures on this planet: “I can’t lean on earthly things/’Cause it’s broke and gonna fade/And I can’t stand on the dirt below/’Cause this dust gonna blow away.../Truth be told, silver and gold ain’t where my treasure’s found/So when I die, gonna open my eyes with a different kind of crown”. Tom Camp plays harmonica. ‘Only in You’, a co-write with Matthew West, is an upbeat modern worship song: “There’s a place/Where thirsty souls/Find living water/And thirst no more/And there’s a place/Where weary hearts/Find perfect rest/In mercy’s arms (2X)/Only in You, hey, only in You, hey/Here in Your presence/You’re making us new/Only in You, hey, only in You, hey/Nothing compares to the life we find only in You”.
Jason Ingram co-wrote the rousing worship song ‘Same Power’. It offers us both confidence and assurance: “The same power that rose Jesus from the grave/The same power that commands the dead to wake/Lives in us, lives in us/The same power that moves mountains when He speaks/The same power that can calm a raging sea/Lives in us (2X)/He lives in us, lives in us.../No power of darkness/No weapon prevails/We stand here in victory”. ‘We are the Dreamers’ yearns for spiritual renewal and revival: “I have a dream that the Earth would shake with the sound of Heaven/I have a dream/That the world would know the kind of freedom that breaks through every chain/With every debt erased/With hearts that are wide awake/We are the dreamers/All things are possible/You are Redeemer/You’re working miracles/Let’s rise, rise/Rise to our feet/And proclaim the name of Jesus”. ‘Here I Am’, a co-write with Ed Cash, includes these prayerful words: “Here I am/Falling to my knees/I’m crying out again/Jesus, take me deeper than I’ve ever been/Lord, here I am/All of me reaching to the places that I cannot see/Desperately, I need You to know me/Here I am.../Everything surrendered/I am Yours.../God won’t You move me?/Here I am”.
The Deluxe Edition of the album includes 5 bonus songs. ‘Spirit Now’ invites God to do a mighty work: “I bare my soul/Inside every part of me/Come so close I can feel Your heartbeat/Let Your fire consume what is not of You”. ‘Be Still’ is a nice ballad on which Matt Butler plays cello. It includes these words of testimony: “You are faithful and Your love endures forever/Yes, Your love endures forever/You are able/In You I’ll stand forever/Yes, in You I’ll stand forever”. ‘Perfect Love’ is an adult contemporary number that conveys a deep maturity: “You are good, You are true/Even in my pain/And I’m thankful for the suffering/Cause it’s brought me right here on my knees.../It’s deepened every part of me”. Closing off the project are acoustic versions of ‘He Knows’ and ‘Here I Am’, on which, Cara Fox plays cello and Hawk Nelson frontman Jon Steingard plays guitars and keys.
The strengths of this latest album, I WILL FOLLOW, by Jeremy Camp, are its strong Christian lyrics, spot on lead vocals, great background vocals, and skillful instrumentation. All in all, it is quite a good album for fans of such artists as Newsboys and Sanctus Real. This album will help you commune with your Creator. All this being said, the album suffers from a bit of an identity crisis when it comes to what genre to file it under. At times, it sounds like an adult rock project, and then, a lot of the time it sounds like worship music. I would still like to see Jeremy make an all out rock record, complete with electric guitar solos. I’m rating I WILL FOLLOW, by one of CCM’s most handsome men, 93.5%. For more info visit: www.jeremycamp.com and www.sparrowrecords.com.