Shawn McDonald - Closer

Published Monday 15th August 2011
Shawn McDonald - Closer
Shawn McDonald - Closer

STYLE: Roots/Acoustic
RATING 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 107695-18304
LABEL: Sparrow 5099922650528
RELEASE DATE: 2011-04-18
RRP: £1.00

Reviewed by Tom Lennie

Comparing 'Closer', Shawn's fourth studio recording, to earlier output such as 'Ripen' (2006), one thing that's immediately striking is that while his music still carries that earthy roots sound, he's moved away from the basic acoustic approach backed mainly by his own guitar into more eclectic diversity, numerous songs flowing in a mellow pop style with infectious hook lines (in fact, close to the way Bebo Norman has gone of late). The acoustic guitar is either swapped for or augmented by a cello/violin quartet, and on more laidback inspirational tunes like "Mystery", by gentle piano. A couple of tracks - the intriguing "Better Way" and "Eyes Forward" - come with a definite blues edge, while "Control" gets some rap-infusion from vocalist Josh Garrels. Lyrics are thoughtful, clear and very real - McDonald is vulnerably sharing his hurts and struggles (he recently underwent a divorce), but always clings to that divine strength. Indeed, the album comes over very much as one of hope. A beautiful, deeply moving batch of fresh songs from this most gifted of singer/songwriters.

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Sample Track Listing:
1. Better Way [Listen]
2. Hope [Listen]
3. Closer [Listen]
4. Faithful [Listen]
5. The Space Between Us [Listen]
6. Something Real [Listen]
7. Control [Listen]
8. Don't Give Up [Listen]
9. Rise [Listen]
10. Eyes Forward [Listen]
11. Storms [Listen]
12. Mystery [Listen]

This track data is supplied by the Cross Rhythms CD/DVD review library. Please note that CD tracks may vary according to release region or product version.

Product Description

McDonald wrote most of these 13 songs while “going through it” – a painful few years that brought about the kind of brokenness that brings one Closer to God. It’s a recurrent theme on the new album, one McDonald wrote mostly while in the midst of his struggles. McDonald hopes the songs – and his own mistakes and heartaches – can help others who are hurting, by pointing them to the One who heals.

“I don’t ever wish anybody to go through what I’ve been through,” he says. “But regardless of my pain, on days when I would be like ‘where are you, God?’, I would remember that He is faithful. Even in my brokenness, there was always a deeper feeling of hope. God was showing me immense mercy, even as He was rocking my faith to the core. It was like He allowed things to crumble just so He could rebuild it all. God has redeemed me, and He is healing my heart. So I hope this record can be a redemption story for people, that God can use it to speak and bring hope. Because that’s what He’s done for me.”

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