STYLE: Roots/Acoustic RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 126928-19290 LABEL: Independent FORMAT: Digital Only Mini-album RELEASE DATE: 2012-05-15
Reviewed by Tony Cummings
Being an independent artist has advantages and disadvantages for those selling and marketing their own recordings. One of the disadvantages is that even after an artist has toiled for years and developed his art to the highest creative standards he or she is likely to be recognised (and therefore financially supported) only within their homeland. It takes international touring (other than mission trips) and media exposure rather than mouth-by-mouth or blog-by-blog recommendation to build an international following and such resources are currently only offered by a decreasing number of record companies. But that hard financial reality doesn't stop the true artist, particularly one like Mark Wagner who is driven not by "art for art's sake" motivation of many singer/songwriters but by a passionate desire to communicate spiritual truth. He does so powerfully on his latest album, which by my reckoning is Mark's eighth. C S Lewis once wrote "Need-love cries to God from our poverty" and here the Tennessee-based songsmith skilfully creates a set of song that speak of mankind's unrelenting search for love ("All I Need"), the reality that when times are dark we can retreat to God's loving arms ("Hideaway") and the need for the Church to transfer divinely imparted love to others ("Carry Your Love"). The latter song with its ricocheting rhythms and memorable hook is particularly strong as is Mark's impressive cover of the late Rich Mullins' classic "Creed". Throughout the production by Ben Shive (best known for his work with Andrew Peterson and Sara Groves) is top rate. If you're a music lover searching the internet for quality music with spiritual substance, make sure you investigate 'NeedLove'. It's available exclusively through the non-profit organisation Mocha Club. Having seen firsthand the wonderful work that concern is doing in places like Sudan and Uganda I reckon that's another reason to get these eight need-love songs.
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