Reviewed by Tom Lennie
While modern worship songs and choruses have proved phenomenally popular in churches in the West in recent decades, it's clear that hymns - be they centuries old or brand new compositions - retain an irresistible pull on most believers. This anticipated second release from Keith & Kristyn was two years in the making and features a dozen songs composed by the couple over the past few years, many in conjunction with Stuart Townend. Like its 'In Christ Alone' predecessor, 'Awaken The Dawn' comprises thoughtful, stirring lyrics based on solid, balanced biblical truths; along with orchestral arrangements (conducted by the creative but under-rated Rob Mathes), plus full band and including the able lead vocals of Kristyn. The album was craftily shaped as a service of worship, and as such includes a compelling introduction, a rousing call to worship ("Come People Of The Risen King"), songs of praise and adoration (eg, "All Round The World"), a call to stillness, a Communion hymn, a song of proclamation ("By Faith"), a benediction, and so on. In fact, only a few of these tunes carry distinctive Irish Celtic tones, and the popular "Every Promise Of Your Word" even features a bluegrass style accompaniment. Songs like "Compassion Hymn" and "When Trials Come" encourage believers to reach out to a hurting world (the former song is being used promotionally by the charity, Compassion Int'l). 52 minutes long, this disc will call for repeated playing, and included is an attractive 15-min 'Behind The Hymns' DVD giving rare and helpful video footage of the Gettys and their music. Produced by Grammy Award-winning Phil Naish and featuring many congregationally-friendly hymns, this album is proving highly popular among church groups and individuals alike.
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