Any Christian striving after spiritual health is going to be a worshipper. So why does reviewing worship CDs, particularly the American variety, seemingly contain so many pitfalls, particularly for the reviewer (like this one) who, down the years has reviewed many hundreds of worship albums including dozens from Vineyard Music? For a start there is a perception, deserved or undeserved, that some of America's major worship corporations are simply milking a veritable cash cow, turning out production-line-praise in a never ending series of albums where Scriptures are paraphrased to fit the requirements of thousands of good and bad pop melodies. Then there is the difficulty inherent in getting beyond the critic-listening-to-art bit to genuinely try and discern the anointing alongside the aesthetic dimension. This album thankfully, instantly touched me, thanks to a quite beautiful opening track. Kelly Carpenter has written a quite beautiful "Arise Oh Lord" (apparently it's been around in Vineyard's catalogue since 1994 though I can't remember it) given it to a thoroughly exceptional singer (who's probably called Rita Springer - praise albums' usual sloppy sleeve small print writer strikes again), a wonderfully stripped down accompaniment featuring an elegant concert grand, and a lyric which resonates a simple prayer surely in many hearts ("Hear us Lord/Hear us now, Lord have mercy/Hear our prayers/Hear our cry for revival.") Nothing else on this album quite reaches the deeply transcendent quality of this opening track but there's still some beautiful new songs from Michael Hanson and David Klein (the husband of Laurie " I Love You Lord" Klein - one of the vocalists here) and hearteningly unfussy production throughout from Joe Randeen and Lonnie Tubbs. The album's subtitle promises '12 Songs Of Healing, Comfort And Faith'. I wouldn't argue.
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