STYLE: Pop RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 150811-22203 LABEL: Fair Trade Services 696859309427 FORMAT: CD Album RELEASE DATE: 2014-05-13 RRP: £12.99
Reviewed by Tony Cummings
When I first learned about this album's existence I must confess it sparked no particular interest. Let's face it, the fact that one more American mega-church, this one emanating from the Fellowship Church in Grapevine, Texas, were releasing an album for international distribution is hardly likely to excite a reviewer who since the rise and rise of modern worship has heard literally hundreds of albums with a similar big church genesis. But this CD proves again the adage that you can't pre-judge an album. Rather than being a live in a church affair with house band and one or two vocalists-cum-worship-leaders belting out anthemic songs of praise, 'Running To Follow' is something far more intriguing. Apparently the album is the collective work of the entire church where songs were composed not from a single pen but from voice memos and emails emerging out of the members' struggles and faith experiences. Not that the lyrics here are mired in personal obsession, they continually relate back to Scripture and biblical principles. And musically they demonstrate a hearteningly wide musical sweep. "Futureback" for instance takes in elements of Stevie Wonder-style funk with hip-hop elements; "Always Been About You" has a rich Lumineers-flavoured vibe; while "Desperate For You" written after one of the leaders lost his father is a powerful and completely convincing expression of musical need. Although it's a little frustrating to a music detail anorak like myself not to be given on the sleeve the names of the excellent lead singers, male and female, who sing these songs it seems to fit with the ethos of the project to give glory to God and not to add to the doubtful cult of the star worship leader. One fact I have been able to glean is that 'Running To Follow' was produced by C J Eiriksson, the brilliant engineer/producer who's worked with such luminaries as U2 and Matchbox Twenty. As one would expect, it's sonically sumptuous.
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Fellowship Creative is a community of creative thinkers and artists from Dallas, Texas pastored by Ed Young, Jr. This is their fifth album but the first on the Fair Trade label. Made up of original songs that represent the heart of our culture, Running to Follow is the most accessible project to date.
Leading off with the radio-friendly Glory in the Highest this pop-tinged praise release contains 13 tracks, with lyrics that come straight from the heart of Scripture. It’s a soul-stirring project that is sure to fill the listener with hope.