|"We want the whole listening experience to be showered with the message that God is better - better than any other source of pleasure, joy or fulfillment", says Barnard. That is exactly the message this CD sends.|
This is worship music as it should be, from the heart and from the mind. It contains beautiful melodies, soft harmonies, and intelligent heart-felt lyrics that intertwine with the Word of God. The Lord loves when we pray His Word back to Him, and this CD is filled to the brim with scripture. Shane Barnard and Shane Everett really help you to consider your relationship with God through their guitar-driven acoustic folk/pop/rock music, prayers and words. It cries worship!
Scripture is found throughout the lyrics of this CD and Barnard does a wonderful job of combining his own perceptions of God's greatness into the Word for the songs. "Your mercy reigns, Your mercy comes, Your mercy falls and rises with the sun.....It's new every morning, it's good enough for me" from "Mercy Reigns" exalts God's mercy through uplifting melodies and breathy, prayerful vocals from man to God.
Picking up the tempo a bit in a joyous celebration of knowing God are lyrics like "you are my portion, my never-ending, overflowing, Lord...my reward, my portion Lord" in "Song of Surrender". It is a song about the release one feels when they surrender their life, their struggles, to God, and the sweet anticipation of waiting for His return. There is another song that sings this same kind of celebration on the album called "When I Think About the Lord" that makes you want to shout "Hallelujah!" right along with the worshippers, the Shanes'. "When I think about the Lord, How He saved me, how He raised me, How He filled me with the Holy Ghost, How He healed me to the uttermost". It is a good reminder of what God has done for His children and why it should put smiles in our hearts.
Nicole Nordeman lends her vocals and talent to "Beauty For Ashes" with lyrics taken right out of Psalm 63 and Isaiah 61. It is a wonderful prayer of one desiring to be conformed into the likeness of God. Nicole Nordeman also appears in the backgrounds, on the opening track "Barren Land". Wispy background harmonies draw the listener into worship right from the start by inviting God to enter the "barren land" and fill it with fruit and life. The chorus pricks the soul by crying out "But if for rain! But if for rain! But if for rain to fall irresistibly call. Rain to cover me. But if for rain to heal, uncontrollably fill, the soil of eternity." Whoa! It invokes chills. This album is an awesome offering of love to the Father, Who is soaking it all up in heaven.
The CD finishes out with a radio edit of "Be Near" that is a more heavily orchestrated than the "Be Near" positioned as track #3. Unlike the softer piano and acoustic sound of the original, this mix is from Peter Furler (Newsboys) and contains a bigger drum sound and a very majestic chorus mixed perfectly with some humble electric guitar to help bring it along as a radio friendly song that would do well on both Adult Contemporary and more youthful pop Christian stations.
This album is a wonderful collection of worship songs that would do well to draw one closer to God. It explores the relationship of man to God and is a great reminder of how much the Creator is in love with His Creation. The breathy vocals, beautiful string arrangements, simple acoustic sounds and piano-driven music are put together well on this CD. The only weakness I can identify is that the CD runs out of steam a bit. The quietness and slower tempos of the last few tracks (less the last track) may "lose" the listener, but as I mentioned above, it is all brought back together for a fitting end to a beautiful, creative work.
4 of 5 stars
Review by Susan L. Prince