Reviewed by Tony Cummings
Every once in a while an album comes along which makes you realise that Nashville CCM companies can sometimes deliver stunning gems. There's a growing consensus among American youth that contemporary Christian music has had its day and that on today's scene the two valid areas for Christian involvement in music are either writing/leading worship or making music in the mainstream and that just about everything else is sub-cultural and by definition bad. Such a perspective is woefully simplistic and doesn't take into account albums like this one which covers both worship (the stirring anthem of divine adoration "Our God Reigns") and the secular (a lucidly romantic "Let's Make It Last") but also through beautifully crafted songs demonstrates other giftings too. There is the much neglected gift of encouragement beautifully executed in the poignant testimony song "I'm Not Who I Was". I recently read a news story about how the music director of a radio station in Boise, Idaho said, "Since we started playing Brandon's song 'I'm Not Who I Was' we have received several calls from listeners telling us how this is the soundtrack of their lives and how Jesus has completely transformed them from who they were.' Then, there is the vital gift of evangelism. The song "I Will Lay You Down" is on a theme of the lover of our souls wooing the weary traveler through life which has been tackled by thousands of different musical evangelists down the years. But such is the consummate songwriting skill of this Nashville-born songsmith that even when it's the Old Old Story it is delivered in a new, fresh way. And make no mistake, Brandon is a song craftsman of the highest caliber so that his songs here, be it a gentle but insightful challenge to a believer's comfort zones in the title song or the simple-yet-profound chorus of "Simple Man", "Anything good in me comes from you", the songs here hit their targets with unerring precision. Brandon has written for others like Bebo Norman and Joy Williams and this, his record label debut, shows that his years performing at Nashville's famed Bluebird Café have honed his plaintive voice as well as his songwriting. Also exemplary here are the inventive drum loops and apposite keyboards conjured up by top producer Don Mukala (Backstreet Boys, The Afters) which adds to the impact of Brandon's acoustic pop. Yep, a superb debut CCM can be proud of.
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