STYLE: Pop RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 127930-19613 LABEL: Fervent 080688838829 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1 RELEASE DATE: 2012-09-24 RRP: £12.99
Reviewed by Lins Honeyman
This release comes on the back of Texas-born singer/songwriter Chris August winning Male Vocalist Of The Year at the 2011 Dove Awards and contains a generous helping of 14 quality songs written by August and a handful of co-writers including Ben Glover and producer Ian Eskelin. This is undoubtedly a polished production - thanks in part to August's uncanny vocal resemblance to the ultra-smooth Michael Bublé - and songs such as the opener "Center Of It" and the gentle acoustic pop of "This Side Of Heaven" are natural born radio hits. Refreshingly though, August juxtaposes this album's otherwise slick nature with an overriding realism in relation to matters of faith with thought-provoking numbers such as "A Little More Jesus" and the wonderfully infectious "Let The Music Play" addressing ego and insecurity issues respectively whilst "Restore" and the title track confirm that hope can be found in the lowest of circumstances. Elsewhere, the nostalgic "1989" coupled with the mild funk of "Unashamed Of You" add further variety to this well-crafted and appealing release from one of CCM's most skilled exponents.
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Chris August has seen the upside, and the down in these past few years and months - and is better for it. After climbing to relatively quick success with his best-selling début release, No Far Away, Chris garnered three Dove Award wins, spent six weeks on top of the radio charts with Starry Night and toured with the largest tour in the country.
Setting out to write and produce his sophomore record was a challenge he was energized and confident about, and dead-set on what he wanted to say. Ironically, while recording, Chris experienced a true "down" moment when he was in a serious skateboarding accident. Returning to the studio with a renewed awareness and sensitivity, song after song began to have new meaning and importance.
A 14-track album, Chris was set on writing and crafting songs that were purposeful, vulnerable and direct, not shying away from truth and not hiding meaning with metaphor. Stand out tracks include the upbeat Center Of It, gospel-infused Amen, and compelling ballad, This Side of Heaven.