Kari Brooke Jobe was born on April 6, 1981 in Waco, Texas. She’s a part of Gateway Worship, a team that leads worship at Gateway Church. According to Wikipedia.org, it is a 36,000 member congregation in Southlake, Texas. Kari released her self-titled major label debut in 2009 (Integrity Music). It was produced by Ed Cash and executive produced by Thomas Miller. It hit #3 on the Billboard Christian Albums chart. She put out a Spanish language version of the album, called LE CANTO, and it won a Dove Award. In 2010 Kari was also nominated for ‘Best New Artist of the Year’. Of her self-titled album, she writes: “The week before starting the project, I spent some time in the mountains. While I was there, God downloaded more vision and heart for this project. I didn’t think I could dream any bigger or write any more for this, but God’s heart is so big and deep...I was reminded again that God has called me to be a ‘connector’ of people to the heart of God. Which is what worship truly is”.
Kari co-wrote ‘I’m Singing’ with Ed Cash and Chris Tomlin. It’s a beautiful adult contemporary selection that debuted at #13 on the Billboard Hot Christian Songs chart in November 2008. Kari makes it clear who her audience is: “And I’m singing to the God who brings redemption to the nations/Kings and oceans bow to Him in praise/And I’m singing to the God who wrote the book on our salvation/To the One who covers me in grace/I’m singing”. Mike Guglielmucci wrote ‘Healer’ on which David Davidson plays violin. These lyrics offer testimony: “I believe You’re my healer/I believe You are all I need/I believe/And I believe You’re my portion/I believe You’re more than enough for me/Jesus, You’re all I need”.
‘Everyone Needs a Little’ is a light pop song on which Ed Cash plays mandolin and contributes harmony vocals, while Frances Cash sings background vocals. This is a song of spiritual invitation: “Come all ye weary and ye broken/Come to the table of the Lord/Come sing the song of the forgiven/Come lay your burden on the Word/Come and find peace/Everyone needs a little/Rest, everyone needs a little/Joy and a song to sing in the hardest night/And life, even when it gets you down/Hope will turn it all around/But love is the greatest of these/Everyone needs a little”. ‘Joyfully’ includes these happy words: “I will sing from the mountaintop/I will sing/I am overcome/I will sing making melodies/I will sing from the valley low/I will sing because of Your love/I will sing, You’re my King, I will sing/Joyfully I lift my voice in praise to Thee”.
Kari, Paul Baloche, and Mia Fieldes wrote ‘Beautiful’, which is the only song here over six minutes in length. This pretty praise and worship ballad begins with these words of surrender: “Here before your altar/I am letting go of all I’ve held/Of every motive, every burden/Everything that’s of myself/And I just want to wait on You, my God/I just want to dwell on who You are”. Ryan Edgar sings harmony and John Catchings plays cello on ‘My Beloved’ which finds God lovingly calling out to His children: “You’re My beloved, you’re My bride/To sing over you is My delight/Come away with Me, My love/Under My mercy come and wait/Till we are standing face to face/I see no stain on you, My child”.
‘Singing Over Me’ is a celebratory pop track: “Oh, there is freedom in surrender/Oh, how I know it/Your songs have never stopped/You’ve been singing, always singing over me/Your words are still enough/And You’re singing/You give me faith/You give me strength enough to wait/To stand in faith and listen for/Listen for your melody”. ‘No Sweeter Name’ is one of three songs on the album solely penned by Kari. Ed Cash plays mandolin on this heavenly love song: “No sweeter Name than the Name of Jesus/No sweeter Name have I ever known/No sweeter Name than the Name of Jesus/You are the Life to my heart and my soul/You are the Light to the darkness around me”.
‘Be Still’ is a touching easy listening song that declares who God is: “He is here for the broken and life to the one who is undone/He is peace to the wounded and hope for the helpless one/He is here, He is here”. ‘Sweep me Away’ converses with God: “Father, I love Your ways/You came in Your mercy and died in my place/All I can do is bow because of Your goodness and Your sovereign grace/That You sweep me away/Sweep me away in Your love where nothing else matters”.
Jennie Lee Riddle wrote the majestic and now super popular worship anthem ‘Revelation Song’. Kari’s fine version here finds Steve Brewster on drums and Dick Hensold playing the Northumbrian Smallpipes. It begins: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain/Holy, holy is He/Sing a new song to Him who sits on Heaven’s mercy seat/Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty/Who was and is and is to come/With all creation I sing praise to the King of kings/You are my everything and I will adore You”. The album closes with ‘You are for Me’, a ballad of comfort: “I know that You are for me (2X)/I know that You will never forsake me in my weakness/And I know that You have come now, even if to write upon my heart/To remind me who You are”.
I have to say I was blown away by this, Kari Jobe’s major label debut! If I could pick someone’s singing voice to have instead of mine in Heaven, I think I’d pick Kari’s. What a sweet and powerful voice! This is a top quality modern worship record with pop and adult contemporary sounds mixed in for flavouring. This record declares who God is and what He has done for us. He has given us salvation, redemption, healing, hope, peace, rest, and so much more! This album is about putting one’s trust in God and enjoying the comfort and freedom He brings. I’m rating KARI JOBE 100%. For more info visit: www.karijobe.com.