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Slow down as you approach the gate, and have your change ready....
Artist: Paul Baloche
Label: Integrity Music
Length: 12 Tracks/57.52 Minutes
Paul Baloche is the writer of several modern worship classics such as "Open the Eyes of My Heart," "Above All," and "The Earth Will Sing Your Praise." On his latest CD A Greater Song, Mr. Baloche contributes a fine collection of praise/worship gems that alternate in style from the U2-eque anthem of "Hosanna," to the solid and heartfelt crescendo of "A Greater Song," and the potent piano-driven duet/ballad with Sara Groves "You Have Been So Good." Baloche even mixes things up with a nice piece of countrified worship called "Thank You Lord" that manages to fit nicely on A Greater Song without veering to far away from the overall sound and motif of the CD. Musically the CD brings Baloche into a more modern rock sound than some of his past efforts. A Greater Song is a seamless worship experience performed live at Baloches home church of 16 years. The crowd is on the same page as Baloche and the band and knows right when to sing, clap, shout, and join in the praise (witness the cheers in the final climactic cut "Rising"). Baloches fine songwriting skills are expanded upon as he is joined by Brenton Brown, Matt Redman, Graham Kendrick, Sara Groves, Don Moen and others to create some memorable and majestic tunes that will point the listener in the right direction! This enhanced CD also features a bevy of worship helps, including guitar commentary and free chord charts so you and your congregation can join in the praise!
Barry Nothstine hosts Soul Frequency ( http://www.soulfrequency.com) a weekly FM radio show showcasing progressive rock, instrumental rock, power-pop, psychedelic rock, rock classics and moregreat rock for the ages!
Paul Baloche has written many of the current popular modern worship tunes you hear weekly in contemporary churches. A Greater Song is a live album recorded at his home church in Lindale, Texas (home of the late Keith Green). Baloche sticks to his tried and true formula here: adult contemporary middle of the road rock with loud guitars and infectious hooks. What you get here is no surprise: lots of repeated choruses that are easy to learn, easy to sing along with, and easy to lose yourself in. As always, the effect works better in person than on disc, but Baloche comes close to making you forget this is a live disc.
As with most worship discs, the guest vocalists are fast and furious: Kathyrn Scott sings on "Your Name," "Just as I Am," and "Here and Now," and Sara Groves chips in on a song she co-wrote: "You Have Been So Good." The tunes that work best – "A Greater Song" and "Rising" - are collaborations with Matt Redman.
A Greater Song achieves its purpose: the crowd here is entranced, singing along with Baloche throughout, and at least five of the songs here will become very widely known in corporate worship, if they aren't already. A Greater Song? Debatable. But certainly very, very accessible songs.
Brian A. Smith