Monday, April 16, 2018
GRACE LIKE RAIN
Todd Wilson Agnew was born on March 15, 1971 in Dallas, Texas to a Native American mother. He was adopted by a white couple. He released THE BLUE CD independently in 1997. In 1999 he helped Andy Savage with a Bible study for college students and singles at Germantown Baptist Church in Tennessee. This is when he began introducing songs he was writing, to the group. These songs would end up on his label debut GRACE LIKE RAIN (2003, Ardent). The album was produced and engineered by Jason Latshaw with additional engineering by Matt Martone. John Hampton mixed the album, assisted by Leo Goff.
1. Starting things off is the rock song, 'Reached Down' with Jack Holder on electric guitar. It includes these words of testimony: "I could not see the top of the well in which I'd fallen/I was choking on the rising tide of filth and shame/You pulled me from the mouth of hell so You could hold me/You knew You'd save me long before I called Your Name/You reached down and saved me".
2. 'The Fragile Breath (The Thunder Song)' is one of several penned solely by Todd. The chorus of this rock ballad worships God: "You speak with thunder and lightning/Your voice shakes the mountains/The foundations of the earth/All I can offer is this fragile breath/And with each one I'll praise You/With each one I'll praise You more".
3. Accordion and baritone guitar are two of the instruments used on 'Shepherd'. Dena Parker provides lovely backing vocals on this ballad that cries out to God: "Shepherd, Your sheep are lost/We chased our wants that we thought were needs/Now we can't get home/Shepherd, Your sheep are longing/We ate and we ran, and we played and we danced, but we're empty".
4.Chris Collins and Todd wrote 'Grace Like Rain' based on 'Amazing Grace'. Kevin Paige provides backing vocals on this great positive pop song: "Hallelujah, grace like rain falls down on me!/Hallelujah! And all my stains are washed away, they're washed away!"
5. 'Romans 12:1' is a groovy pop/rock song that begins with these words: "Brothers and sisters, I beg you/In light of all He's done for us/To offer yourselves in worship to our God/Brothers and sisters, I ask you/Present yourselves a living sacrifice/Holy and acceptable to our God". Rick Steff plays B-3 and piano.
6. 'Still Here Waiting' is a beautiful ballad that speaks of God's faithfulness: "I fail to see why You'd still be waiting to forgive me/After all that I have done/But I cannot say/That one time I returned and You had turned away/Your love never fails/You say 'Come home' and You'll be there/And I can run into Your arms".
7. Robbie Seay is credited with music and arrangement on 'Come Ye Sinners'. It is a song of invitation: "Come ye sinners, poor and needy/Weak and wounded, sick and sore/Jesus ready stands to save you/Full of pity, love, and power.../Come ye weary, heavy-laden/Lost and ruined by the fall/And if you tarry until you're better/You will never come at all".
8. Jonathan Chu who spent several years playing for Skillet, plays violin on 'You Are'. This rootsy ballad includes these words we all could utter: "I need some wisdom to choose which way to walk/I need some strength to take this very step/I need some faith to help these blinded eyes to see/I need something more than everything inside of me". Steve Selvidge plays electric guitar, lap steel, and 12-string electric.
9. Chris Tomlin, Jesse Reeves, and Louie Giglio wrote 'Kindness' on which Shara Worden contributes guest vocals. This track dabbles with jazz and converses with Christ: "It's Your kindness Lord that leads us to repentance/Your favor, Lord, is our desire/It's Your beauty, Lord, that makes us stand in silence/Your love, Your love/Is better than life".
10. 'Lay it Down' includes guest vocals by Susan Marshall and a four person choir. This great blues/rock/gospel number shares the Gospel: "Jesus died to give us life/A little joy in the midst of this pain/He paid your debt in full and you are not guilty/So, why do you still wear those chains, chains, chains, chains?"
11. Next up is 'Only One Thing' penned by Todd and Chris Collins. It speaks of God's goodness: "Your love reaches across the miles I raced/To separate me from You/Your love cradles me like a child when I finally reach for You/Your love's beyond my understanding".
12. 'Wait For Your Rain' is a come-to-Jesus song: "So I throw myself on Your mercy/And I throw myself at Your feet/And I throw my filth on the grace of One whose beauty is beyond me/And I wait/And I wait.../And I wait for Your rain to fall/The waves of Your grace to wash over me/And I wait for Your rain to fall/Strange how forgiveness comes so easily/When I call Your Name/And wait for Your rain". After a couple seconds a slow Rock Version of 'Grace Like Rain' is presented. After a break of silence a Rock Version of Dorothy A. Thrupp and William B. Bradley's hymn 'Savior Like a Shepherd' concludes the album. It is a prayer: "We are Yours, please befriend us/Be the Guardian of our way/Keep Your flock, from sin defend us/Seek us when we go astray.../You have promised to receive us/Poor and sinful though we be/You have mercy to relieve us/Grace to cleanse and power to free/Blessed Jesus, Blessed Jesus/You have loved us, love us still".
GRACE LIKE RAIN is a wonderful debut album from Todd Agnew. It's a great rock record with several songs that could also be classified as modern worship. Adult contemporary, funk, blues, and jazz influences are also heard on this record! God's love, grace, mercy, kindness, and salvation are well documented on this album. People are invited to give their lives and cares over to God. There are also prayerful songs here. Todd genuinely leads the listener into desiring what God wants for their lives and in their lives. God is seen as powerful and the ultimate life-Giver. If you are a fan of Third Day, Nickelback, Jeremy Camp, and/or Kutless you need this one in your collection. I'm rating GRACE LIKE RAIN 90%. For more info visit: www.toddagnew.com or connect with him on Facebook.