Reviewed by Andrew Rolfe
"I am a friend of God, he calls me friend." American Michael has been leading worship since his voice broke. Brought up in a Christian family he didn't suffer that infamous "falling away" period during the turbulent teens. Perhaps he didn't drift because he was also able to sing my opening quote during those years. This debut album from a new worship leader sees the songs blending effortlessly. I felt I was in a concert, not listening to a CD in the car during my Christmas travels. And boy, did I listen to it a lot; the thing was close to becoming molten. "You're bigger than my imagination, larger than a world of dreams...you're everything to me." Michael obviously has the intimacy in songwriting that Brian Doerksen talks about in the Vineyard interview I also review this month. The songs are saturated with phrases of closeness and passion for our Creator. Track four especially treats us to electric and acoustic examples of Michael's guitar skills, which are plenteous and on display throughout the 15 songs. The style tends towards modern rock, but I'll let Michael describe it himself, "I write and play a lot of different styles of music, but as far as this album goes, it has a rock edge to it, but we take things a little outside the norm from typical rock. There are tastes of jazz, Latin, and even a tinge of classical." The whole thing is founded on the inspiration of Christians through recent history, as Michael says in his "acknowledgements" section, "...thanks to all the great Christian authors and songwriters that have influenced me and inspired thoughts that led to the writing of many of my songs, please keep inspiring people towards Christ!" Like Brian Doerksen, Michael has had to battle against shyness in order to stand before people and lead them in worship. Maybe these are the type of front men and women the Lord wants? I recommend this album to all of you who enjoy rock-fuelled worship led by a man whose love for the worshipped One is plain to see.
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