Never for Nothing - CCM Record Reviews archive T

3 WINANS BROTHERS : Foreign Land.   (Absolute :  ABMGCD5)
This 15 track CD from the latest iteration of the famous Winans family is a 'deluxe edition' reissue of the original from 2014, with three re-mix / re-edit 'bonus tracks'. Here we have a mixture of slow ballads (sometimes a touch TOO slow) and upbeat funk featuring sequenced drums and bass with vocals up to the usual high Winans standard, with harmonies beautifully arranged and delivered. We also have superb sound quality, in stark contrast to the compressed mush that characterises so much ccm these days - a pet frustration of mine. On first listen the standouts for me were the eminently danceable 'I'm not ashamed' and 'Negative positive' with its 'life turned around' message delivered via a repeating chorus riff 'turned it from a negative into a positive' that ran through my head for hours afterwards! Further listening revealed one or two 'growers' including the remixed 'Dance'. Whilst in my view the original 'Move in me' was probably best left as it was(!), I found the remixed 'Dance' to be a big improvement on the rather plodding original, and the 'breathed on' 'I really miss you' to be a similar improvement, although my toes were curling at the cheesy 'love lost' lyrics of the latter and 'Please don't go'. Overall then a bit of a mixed bag - definitely a 'dem record' for those with nice quality sound systems, two or three outstanding tracks, others worth a listen, others irritating and the remainder fairly unmemorable. A difficult one to give an overall score to, but probably fair to make it a 7/10. David Deeks (December 2015)
TABLES OF STONE : Engraved. (Private Recording. CD $20 from: TOS, PO Box 36067, 1318 Wellington Street, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K1Y 4V3).
Another Canadian outfit for me to get my teeth into, and what a band they are! Having just played the New England Music Festival alongside the likes of Petra, and The Newsboys, plus a host of radio stations playing their songs, TOS look like a band we'll be hearing a lot more of in the future. Sound wise, the album is reminiscent of Jars of Clay with a little DC Talk added in for good measure. The result is a collection of songs that will inspire you as well as asking you a few home truths. Lead singer Colin Genereux has a great voice and a fine way of writing most of the tracks. 'Choose To Live' opens proceedings with some great guitar riffs and superb vocal harmonies, answering the age old question of which road to follow. The repentant Christian is the feature of 'I Believe in You', a quiet acoustic number that flows right through you. 'Forgive My People' is another track that is filled with awe and worship for God. Getting the message of the Gospel over to the youth of Canada is number one on the bands list of priorities. Canada is most fortunate to have TOS. 9/10. (October 1998)
TAKE 6 : Brothers. (Warner Alliance : WBD6447).
Have they or have they not split up, that is the question? Reports are inconclusive either way, but at least the latest album has reached these shores. Hitting off with the funky 'Sing A Song', this sextet sing some lovely harmonies and some downright rubbish. There's a great ballad called 'I'll Be There' while 'Delilah' is more upbeat. Instantly forgettable classics are 'We Don't Have to Cry' and 'Do Right', were the lead vocals are drowned out by the backing singers' "doo-wops". The simple songs seem to be the most accessible and 'Can't Stop' is a prime example with it's singalong chorus. It's soul music with most emphasis on the vocals, and it's quite good, at times. The final track is an assurance from God that whatever you go through in life "I will be there...don't let go" - an excellent song. If we have heard the last of Take 6 then, with this album, they will be remembered with a whimper rather than a bang. 5/10. (February 1997)
TAKE 6 : So Cool. (Reprise : 0936 2467952 3)
"We're back to our acappella roots, doing what we do best". So say Take 6 with their latest release "So Cool". An album that I never thought I'd hear following the hype of their previous offering which promoted it as "their last album together". So, yes there are very few instruments backing the remarkable voices of these 6 guys. The doo-wop sounds of the title track is a little too old fashioned and sounds more like a barbershop quartet. Mid-album comes the goodies and "If You Only Knew" and "Wings of Your Prayer" are really sweet. "Fly Away" is a calypso tune that I soon found myself tapping my foot to, and there's a clever, restrained, acoustic guitar on "You'll Be Waiting..." Unfortunately, it was then I lost interest in the sounds as the harmonies seemed to get caught in too complicated arrangements, resulting in a wall of unclear sound. Too bad really, because this had the makings of something promising. 5/10. (February 1999)
TAMMY TRENT : Set You Free. (Sparrow : 7243 8517322 6)
Another one of those bright young things from across the pond appears onto the CCM scene with an album that will, I believe, appeal to the teen market. Described as an "energetic exercise in fun" the tracks' style move from sugary pop to some quite excellent slower numbers. "I Do Believe" is a prime example of the former, complete with dance beat and an unquestionable belief in God. "If You Need Love" is very much in the Britney Spears mould, but "Trusting You" finds Tammy in a more mellow mood. "Without You" is one of the strongest cuts, and has already featured on my playlist. With a pedigree of touring with the likes of Big Tent Revival, Out of Eden, and Petra, she's already begun to make her mark. Not a classic album by any means but better than average. 7/10. (October 2000)
TARGET : Alternatively. (CD £10 inc p&p from: Target, 4 Oliver Road, Southampton, England, SO18 2JP)
I must admit, I still get a feeling of excitement when an independently released CD drops through my letter box for review. Doing the business for God on the south coast of England are four guys who are moving towards their 100th gig in 4 years. "Alternatively" collects 10 tracks from their live set and returns to life, the two and a half minute pop song. The sound is almost a throwback to the late 70's - a cross between the Skids and the Undertones, so I was well pleased. Sometimes, I found the songwriting lacking a little in overall strength, but more experience will, I'm sure, rectify that. "Lighthouse" and "God Is A Heartbreaker" are just two early good songs but the breakthrough comes with "Perseverance". This, slower number, raises up the Lord with praise and worship straight out of the heart of Target. "Down on the Beach" is bound to be live favourite and the energy from it does carry over onto the recording. If you expect a flawless album, you'll be disappointed, but Target are aiming high and are well on their way to their goal. 8/10. (September 2000)
TAYLOR SORENSEN : The Overflow. (Rocketown Records ; RRD1026)
Straight from Michael W Smith's stables comes Taylor Sorensen. Groomed and trained by Mr Smith, no doubt, there are many of his traits within this release. However, there's also a more modern approach to some of Taylor's songs, and this gives numbers like "Love Somebody Else", a very snappy Ian Eskelin sound. "Upside" is a great little song, and it's a pity it's so short. It has infectious riffs and phrases throughout and I wish it lasted longer. "Follow me" rocks things up but it's "Red Fone" that just oozes class. In the style of, say, Keane, this poppy ballad canters to the finish as a sure radio winner. "Sanctuary" has the feel of a U2 rocker, while "World Keeps Spinning" gets a bit too repetitive for my liking. Not sure whether Taylor wants to be a praise and worship artist or pop, but he's well on his way to competing with the best at either. 7/10. (March 2005)
Tbc : Talk of the Town. (Authnetic : 1908402)
When I witnessed these girls in action last year, I was gobsmacked at the effect they were having on the 7-11 year olds gathered in a school hall to watch them. And, as well as watching, the kids were listening too, as each girl witnessed about God's love and moral values. Well, now, those kid's have an album to add to their collection, and what a corker it is too! From the moment you hear the opening track, 'Faithful', the good times just keep on coming. It's pop music as pop music should be, with a dance beat thrown in for good measure. The title track talks about changing your life and following Jesus, and it has a real catchy chorus. 'Beautiful' is a slower number telling of Jesus dying on the cross, and there's some real nice harmonies on show here. There's a couple of tracks that reminded me of dBa, with Shaz Sparkes at the lead. 'Brighter Day' is an uptempo dance track, while 'Calm' is simply delicious. I just couldn't get enough of this album, and I've had it playing in the car too. One track that made me smile was 'Nobody Loves Me Like You Do'. It has such a Beatles sound to it, that it could have been a 60's hit. If all this isn't enough, there are three karaoke tracks for young listeners to practice in their bedrooms. All in all, a terrific album. 10/10 (May 2008)
TELECAST : Eternity is Now. (bec : BED73986)
This album has been re-released, along with a number of other albums, in a series entitled Re:Commended. I've not heard of Telecast before but research has shown that when it was first released, this album got as high as No.5 in the top selling albums on iTunes last year. All the songs come from the pen of Josh White who, I assume, is also the lead singer. Telecast seem to be a contemporary praise band and, therefore the music deviates little from the safe theme of God and His love. The sound is very much in the mould of UK band Snow Patrol although saying that, "Close to You" is very west coast American in style. "Release the Deep" says that "Jesus, you're all I ever need", and it has good riffs to make it pleasing to the ear. "Absolution" is a slower and uneventful song, while "Fade into You" plods along like relentlessly, but getting nowhere. Again, I felt little inspiration from any of the songs. Crossrhythms rated this song as a 9/10, but I'm afraid I can't give it more than 4/10. (April 2006)
TEN SHEKEL SHIRT : Risk. (INO Records : 000768227428)
If this album could be likened to an F1 Grand Prix, then all the pre-release US media hype would have ensured that it started on the front row of the grid. And, in all honesty, it does speed from the blocks with the Travis inspired title track, containing hypnotic rhythms and progressive vocals. And, by track or lap 3, this car would still be leading the pack as "This Story" powers it's way in top gear. What happens next must be classed as an engine blowing up as the car slowly slows and slips slowly down the pecking order. Briefly, the melancholy "February" breathes life back into things but it then drives like a 1960 Ford Zephyr - good looking but a museum piece. Lyrics about knowing God since childhood, praising Jesus, and walking with God are all very well, but there's not much to get excited about here. 3/10. (January 2004)
TENTH AVENUE NORTH : Over and Underneath. (Reunion Records)
This band hail from Palm Beach, Florida and have been touring with some top bands. Indeed, they are currently on the road supporting Sanctus Real. Sound wise, they're a lot like Mercy Me and Mike Donehey's vocals are really smooth. 'Love is Here' has already been a big US Christian radio hit, and it's a very engaging song. It tells the listener that Christ's love is here for all. All you need to do is ask for it. 'By Your Side', I found to be very re-assuring. It's a good song, about being safe in God's hand's, and I loved it. If there's one thing I would point out about this album, it's that I found some of the lyrics hard to understand. On numerous occasions I listened to a song and then wondered what on earth it was trying to say. However, that can't be said of 'Beloved', which tells of Christ's wedding vows to the church. A strange subject to write about perhaps, but it works well. I can't say that Tenth Avenue North lit exploding fires for my listening pleasure, but it's quite a good debut. 7/10 (October 2008)
TENTH AVENUE NORTH : The Light Meets The Dark. Reunion : 602341014427
This CD was a hit with me right from the word go, I like the simple Rock / pop arrangements on here. There's some nice piano playing, some subtle guitars, and the string arrangements are really nice. If I had to compare this band to anyone, the nearest comparison would be Del Amitri. The lyrics are well thought out, and all of the songs deal with subjects that most people will be able to relate to, in a fairly easy to understand way, from the spiritual to the personal. I have to say that (In my opinion) this is the best CD I've reviewed for a while, if you should come across a copy buy it. 10/10. Andy Sayner. (August 2010, Album of the Month)
TENTH AVENUE NORTH : The Struggle. (Reunion Records :  02341-0163-2)
This is on the whole, a fairly up tempo rock album. Some of the songs are contemporary, some of them are worship songs. The lyrics deal with the general doubts and worries of everyday life, and I would think that there would be something on here that just about everyone could relate to in some way. The music reminds me a lot of U2, in particular the vocals. I didn't find any tracks on this CD that I didn't like though. The title track is very good, and there's a track called "You Do All Things Well", which I thought might be a cover of Chris Tomlin's identically titled song. It isn't though, It is one of the best tracks however. This will appeal to anyone who likes straightforward no nonsense rock music. Definitely worth a listen if you get the chance.   9/10.   Andy Sayner. (November 2012, Album of the Month)
TERRY HOLLMAN : DNA Transformation. (Provident)
This is Terry Holloman’s debut album. The innovative keyboard driven project is a fusion of Bethel style soaking worship sounds, mellow jazz, Windham Hill-esqe piano with touches of techno and urban influence. The instrumental album, with occasional vocal layering is a perfect backdrop for worship, quiet study, or prayer but with enough movement for dance, and as a soundtrack for the rhythms of everyday life. She says; "It is my prayer that this project penetrates the heart of the listener, and brings them to another place, a deeper connection with God". The album has 6 pieces of music and starts with “Take You In”. There are various sampled sounds and repeated vocals, such as “Breathe on Me.” “Deeper Further” is the most uplifting track, with a pleasing tune that I enjoyed. Imagine raindrops falling, or shards of glass, and you may be able to imagine the sounds that start “DNA Transformation.” The title is vocally repeated several times over some warm, synth' pa’s which I found to be quite soothing. Indeed, Terry seems to have achieved what she set out to do. Listening to these sounds, I found it quite easy to drift off into meditation and prayer. “Heaven’s Invasion” is a tune that consists of piano and atmospheric sounds, plus occasional crashing percussion. Both “Morning Flow” and “Preparing the Way” follow similar make up, with the whole thing coming in at around 35 minutes. An interesting and enterprising release. 7/10. (December 2016)
THE TRIBE : Take Back the Beat. (Alliance : 1902219)
Here it is then, the first two tracks to be taken from the forthcoming Tribe album. It may be an all new line-up but is there any difference to the sound? Not much, if these tow songs are anything to go by. Saying that, it's quality that counts and there's certainly enough here to make you want to hear more. Hip hop's at the front of what's happening and the title track gives the listener just what they want. I preferred the more dancey "Shout It Out" but, then, what do I know. The album is due for release on July 30th. we can only wait. (June 2001)
THEA WRAY : Noboundariesnobordersnolimits. (CD £11.50 from Wateriiwine Ministries, PO Box 39325, London, England, SE13 DO)
The Wateriiwine Ministries is committed to serving God by ministering to those who are thirsty for the word of God, and who are thirsty for the Spiritual wine, which only God can provide. One part of their outreach is a Jamaican born lady called Thea Wray, and this is her album. There's lots of reggae Caribbean influences contained throughout the playlist, but don't expect just reggae! For instance, there's the really hip "High" that sounds as if it's straight out of the charts. Thumping bass drum and great tune. But, if it's reggae you're after, then the infectious sound of "Halleluujah" will be just what the doctor ordered. For those who enjoy the smoother tastes, "Broken For Me" has everything you could ask for. Lovely piano sound and Thea's voice soaring high and full of feeling. There's one or two low points, for me, where the songs don't quite live up to their predecessors, but this is a very good debut. Ending the album is a 20 minute instrumental devotional section which, on it's own, stands up well to "big label" recordings. Check this one out!. 9/10. (May 2003)
THEOCRACY : Ghost Ship. (Ulterium Records : B01J94EKMQ)
OK I’m biased. I love this sort of music. As soon as the drums and guitar kicked in on “Paper Tiger” I was hooked. Reminding me of Helloween circa “Keeper of the seven keys” (their best era) with odd nods towards Axxis, Judas Priest, Metallica and Within Temptation what was there not to like? It’s no wonder that this album entered the Billboard hard rock chart at 19. It is brilliantly written, played, recorded and produced. The drums and bass drive at a fast pace, the guitars riff like there’s no tomorrow and the solos are a mix between “I can play faster than you” and melodic. The vocals soar above it all (sung, not grunted) and the harmonies are the icing on the cake, with some brilliant singalong choruses (e.g. “A Call To Arms” and the anthemic “Easter”). The key changes lift each song (rather than sounding like they’ve run out of ideas as I’ve heard other bands do). The only bit I felt they didn’t quite pull off was the lower-register vocal in parts of “Easter” but it’s a minor quibble. Lyrically they’re God-centred and want to minister to the hurting (e.g. “Grace has a way of building hope out of despair” from “Around The World”). The album certainly lifted me and I’ll be checking out their back catalogue. If you’ve been sceptical about the quality of “Christian metal” give this a try. It might just change your mind, as you headbang to the verses, belt out the choruses and rejoice in music giving God the glory. Best track (this was seriously difficult – a nice problem to have): “Around the world and back”. 10/10 (surely 11?) Paul Ganney. (January 2017, Album of the Month)
THERE IS A REASON - This Hope (www.thishope.org)
I've grown to like Southern Gospel music in the years that I've been Music Co-ordinator for UCB Radio, and although the Gaithers seem to dominate the market, there are others out there who are doing quite nicely, thank you. This Hope are five guys based in Woodstock, Georgia, Daniel Johnston, brothers David and Tim Inabnit, Jeane Bope and Mikah Boudreaux, and this is a very polished product, their sixth release since their debut in 1998. The whole thing is full of good tight harmonies (I can vouch for their ability to sing excellent acappella), and it's miles away from some of the cheesiness that often masquerades as Southern Gospel, thanks to excellent production from Scott Williamson, a bunch of seasoned sessioners handling the musical bits, and on three tracks, the presence of the Nashville String Machine. There are audio demos of the guys' repertoire available on their website, suffice it to say that 'Break My Plans' is on the UCB Inspirational playlist, with more to follow, so that should tell you all you need to know. Well worth investigating. 8/10 Trevor Kirk (April 2006)
THINK TANK : Faith.   (www.facebook.com/thinktanktunes)
This EP is part one of 3 (the others will be called ‘Hope’ and ‘Love’). It may be horribly unfair, but I can’t help but feel that I spent a lot of time listening to CDs like this in the 70s. It’s much better recorded and produced (and pedants may like to point out that there were no CDs in the 70s), but the vocal style over the acoustic guitar backing (plus notable contributions on percussion and strings) is all so Medicine Head, with a nod to Badly Drawn Boy via a few CSN&Y album fillers. The backing’s OK (the guitar work on “Why” especially), but I wasn’t overly impressed with the vocals – they had a slightly flat delivery and some of the lyrics seemed rather rushed to get them all in at times. It’s probably great in a tent at 3am during festival season, but not one I’m overly keen to put back in my playlist. Best track: “Fear”.   4/10 Paul Ganney (June 2015)
THIRD DAY : Conspiracy No.5. (Reunion/Word : CD10006)
A lot of media hype met with this release a couple of months ago, so I was intrigued to finally get my hands on a copy. Third Day are going down a storm in the U.S and CCM press over there are going wild. "Oh no", I thought, on first listen. "It's Pearl Jam", not one of my favourite bands. However, despite the opening 'Peace' and 'You Make Me Mad', the album does mellow out a bit more. 'How's Your Head' is a tuneful cut that lends more than a passing resemblance to a couple of Brit pop bands. 'Alien', I've heard before and I still like it's thumping beat and driving guitar. It's not all head down rock, and 'I Deserve?' is primarily acoustic and a superb song. Without being outstanding, this is a good album and maybe we're just beginning to see just why our American friends are creating such a fuss about this band. If their next album builds on this one, we could be in for quite a release. 7/10. (February 1998)
THIRD DAY: Come Together (Essential).
"Winners of FIVE 2001 Dove Awards" said the blurb in the (very nice) package. It looked remarkably like a 7" single, did this CD. Fooled me until I took it out, anyway. The attention to detail upped my anticipation levels, but I have to say that the "Winners" blurb lowered it again. But I have maligned the Dove awards - this is a very fine album indeed. Probably the best CCM album I've heard since "King of Fools" by Delirious?. In a slightly different mould, but well up-tempo, well written and well performed. It's got subtlety, too, such as "I Don't Know" - it's just like a classic Rock ballad should be. Expect the lyrics to turn up in a liturgical confession near you. Either that or your worship band to strike up the Paul Simon-esque "Sing Praises". All the album lacks is a catchy melody that I can't get out of my head and it'd score 10/10. Think Ocean Colour Scene meets classic Bruce Springsteen meets Lynyrd Skynyrd (vocals) with odd Delirious-style guitars, roll it into a 2002-style rock mix and get your local shop to play you "40 days" or "I Got You". Then buy it - you won't be disappointed. Now I've just got to find a way of fitting a 7" single into my CD rack. 9/1 Paul Ganney. (February 2002)
THIRD DAY : Offerings II. (Essential Records)
Third Day are a band I have heard a lot about in the past and, fresh from winning their first Grammy award, this offering (no pun intended) is intriguing to say the least. Half of the 12 tracks are studio recordings and the other half live recordings with, as far as I can tell, some of the live tracks being new songs and some live versions of songs from previous albums. The album jumps back and forth between the studio and live recordings which makes it hard to get into at first but it is well worth persevering because the music rewards repeated listening. The sound is unashamedly rocky with a great depth and variety of instrumentation, while lyrically there is real spiritual depth and the songs are clearly both written and sung from the heart, with an openness that leads to a feeling of intimacy with God even in the midst of a screaming crowd and a huge guitar riff. If I had to pick one stand-out song it would be "Anything", but there is plenty to recommend the others, especially the gentle, piano-led "Offering". I will be listening to this for a while yet. Recommended!! 9/10 David Cooper (May 2003)
THIRD DAY : Wherever You Are. (Essential : ER10795)
There's no getting away from it, Mac Powell has probably got one of the most instantly recognisable voices in CCM, and his vocal quality is top notch. The formula for this album is simple, as the band keep to their tried and trusted style of rock. However, there's something about this release that has turned the heat up just a little, and resulted in a brilliant collection of songs. The theme, too, is simple with the focus on what God can do in your life. Take the opening track for instance. "Tunnel" is all about the light at the end of your dark days, all you need to do is ask. A promise of help for the lost is at the centre of the power ballad "Cry Out For Jesus", while the hard rock of "I Can Feel It" centres on God's love. Song after song is just filled with these truths and the way Third Day sing them is first class. With other classics such as the mid-tempo "The Sun is Shining" and the power and passion of "Rise Up", I think this could be the best thing that Third Day have ever done. 10/10. (March 2006, Album of the Month)
THIRD DAY : Christmas Offerings. (Essential : 0830610826)
Whenever the Christmas albums start to drop through my letter box I cringe at the thought of hearing yet another version of "O Come All Ye Faithfull" and the like. Why, I ask myself, do record companies think that they can release albums full of the same traditional carols, year after year, but by a different artist? It was such a surprise, then, to hear this album by Third Day, and to really enjoy it. Yes, all the well known songs are there, such as "Do You Hear What I Hear?", "O Holy Night" (with a lovely piano ending), and "Away in a Manger". Mac Powell's rock voice is warm and vibrant as he sings, and the rest of the band carefully play their way, with that distinctive Third Day sound. Maybe it's a sign of old age, or maybe I just need my eyes testing, but try as I may, I just couldn't read some of the song writing credits on the sleeve notes. New songs to my ears, like "Born in Bethlehem" and "Jesus, Light of the World" are an added bonus, but track of the album has to go to "Christmas Like A Child". It's just full of the joys of Christmas, and deserves to be a huge hit. This is not just another Christmas album, it has enough going for it, for it to stand up in it's own right. Give it a try. 8/10. (December 2006)
THIRD DAY : Chronology Volume One (1996 - 2000). (Essential Records. 83061-0838-2)
This CD is a mix of fairly straightforward mainstream rock tracks driven by some quite heavy guitars. There are 12 tracks, plus the usual 5 bonus tracks. Why they can't just release it as a 17 track CD is beyond me. The first 9 tracks are all either new mixes, or complete new recordings of old tracks, while the bonus tracks are mostly live tracks and a couple of rareities. Having not heard the originals I have no idea how these new versions compare, but I quite like them anyway. "Theif 2006" is on of the best tracks on here, it's also one of the least heavy ones too, being more piano led. While "My hope is you" sounds very much like it should be a U2 track, and "I've always loved you" sounds frighteningly like country music, complete with steel guitar, although nobody's blind dog seems to die anywhere so it's not two bad. All in all this is quite an enjoyable CD, there's enough variation between the tracks to keep it interesting. There's also a DVD included, which includes 5 music videos some of them are tracks from the audio CD, There is also a live performance from the Dove awards which has another 6 tracks. So there's a lot here for your money. If uncompromising rock worship is your thing, then this CD will be worth checking out. 8/10 Andy Sayner. (August 2008)
THIRD DAY : Chronology Vol.2 - 2001: 2006. (Essential : 83061-0839-2)
Hailing from Georgia USA, together since 1994 and recording since 1996, Third Day have recently released the title under consideration here as well as the earlier 'Chronology Volume 1 - 1996-2000'. Accompanying the 18 track CD is a DVD containing a 60 minute documentary charting the band's development, plus a range of short 'bootleg' videos and live performances. I first enjoyed Third Day's music when their track 'Agnus Dei' was included on the 'WOW 1999' compilation, and on subsequent 'WOW' releases it was interesting to note the band's progress. Along the way they have gained considerable recognition, being awarded 3 Grammys and 23 Dove Award trophies (15 of these in 2001) as well as managing 24 No 1 radio singles. 'Chronology Volume 2' confirms that the later years have seen the band's original energy and enthusiasm develop into an extremely coherent, musical, rock sound led by the capable vocals of Mac Powell. The stand-out for me was 'Cry out to Jesus' - one of the four live tracks on the album, all of which show just how proficient Third Day are out of the studio. Others I particularly enjoyed were 'Mountain of God', 'God of wonders' 'Nothing compares', 'Movin on up' and 'I see love'. The down side is that Mac's particularly broad American accent can make some lyrics a bit obscure to British ears, and no printed lyrics are included. The DVD is a worthwhile addition however, and overall this release is a great introduction to a gifted group of guys whose hearts are in the right place. Definitely worth checking out. 8/10. Dave Deeks. (December 2007)
THIRD DAY : Lead Us Back – Songs of Worship. (Essential : 83061-1025-2)
Third Day singing worship songs? Of course, it shouldn’t surprise me, but it didn’t quite sit right with me, at first. However, as soon as Mac Powell’s immaculate vocals began to sing, I felt much better. The band are as good as ever and, although simple in make up, the opening ‘Spirit’ is superb. Mind you, if that’s superb, I’m not sure what superlative to use for ‘Soul on Fire’? Featuring All Sons & Daughter, this is a tremendous tune. Listen once, and you’ll play it again. I promise, it’s one of those songs that you just can’t stop singing. The intense sound of ‘Our Deliverer’ is more like a usual Third Day track, with guitars giving a driving energy to the overall sound. ‘In Jesus Name’ features Michael W Smith, Natalie Grant, and Michael Tait. It’s another song that lends itself to congregational worship and I’d certainly enjoy hearing it used in my church. ‘Victorious’ didn’t quite have the same impact, but I couldn’t really put my finger on why? ‘Maker’ (There is no-one like you) and ‘Father of Lights’ are better, but never quite hit the heights of the earlier songs on the album. Saying that, there’s no doubt that Third Day fans will simply lap this up. 9/10. (August 2015)
THIS BEAUTIFUL REPUBLIC : Even Heroes Need a Parachute. (Forefront : FFD73968)
Here's a band from Toledo, Ohio who have been going down a storm on the live circuit, over in the States. They're a five piece outfit who play their music with a great deal of passion and energy, with the guitars in the forefront of each song. One plus point for me was that they're not scared to use the "J" word. Let's be honest, we're glorifying our saviour, Jesus Christ, so why not say His name? So many artists seem frightened of this. Anyway, 'Jesus to the World' is a great song and possibly the best on the album. A close second would come 'Black Box', which gallops along with a punky edge to it. 'Let's Be Honest' shows the band using solid rhythms, while the lighter 'New Year' contains some nice melodies. My main concern about the album is that too many songs sounded alike, and certainly by the end of the album I was wondering where one song finished and the next one started. Not the best debut I've ever heard but, also, not the worst. 5/10. (December 2007)
THIS BEAUTIFUL REPUBLIC : Perceptions. (Fierce!)
'This Beautiful Republic' are an Ohio-based rock outfit formed in 2004, with current lead singer Ben Olin joining shortly afterwards. This album represents my introduction to the band, so I checked them out. They are fairly recent arrivals on the recording scene, their first issue being the January 2007 EP ' Casting off', followed by their April 2007 first full-lengther 'Even heroes need a parachute' - both picking up some good reviews. Some of the songs here are heavy-ish with punk influences, others are medium-paced melodic rock. There is a predominance of strongly tuneful hooks, and the largely well-written lyrics are delivered by excellent lead vocals from Ben. The stand-out track for me is 'For the life of me' - a powerful song about faith and repentance, with a particularly strong melody and words, and a chorus that stays with you afterwards. Other ones worth special mention include the opener 'Pain', 'Beautifully Broken', 'Learning to fall' and 'Change the world' - extremely effective whilst using only a piano and strings backing. In my view the band are at their best when delivering the less frantic stuff, with heavier tracks sometimes sounding as though they are trying hard to be heavy when they aren't really! A largely enjoyable listen then, and I am sure we haven't heard the last of this band. Check out www.thisbeautifulrepublic.com 8/10. Dave Deeks (October 2008)
THIS BEAUTIFUL REPUBLIC : Perceptions. (Forefront Records : 509995221927)
This CD starts off with a fairly rocky style, which reminded me a little of Delireous in their early years. As it progresses each track seems to be heavier than the rest. By the time I was half way through it reminded me more of someone like "Third Day". I quite liked this CD, although it's not one I could listen to every day, in fact listening to the whole thing in one go was not easy, it's not the kind of CD to put on in the background, it's loud music, and demands your attention all of the time. The quality of the recording is very good, and the band are very tight, which you would expect from a company which is part of EMI. The lyrics are well thought out, and are relevant to real life, whilst managing to avoid all the usual Clichés, which is not always the case with Christian bands. "Learning to Fall" and "No Turning Back" are stand out tracks for me, although non of the tracks were particularly disappointing. So, a good CD on the whole, it may be better if you dip in and out of it rather than listening to it all in one go. Unless of course heavy guitar based rock is your thing. If you go to http://www.thisbeautifulrepublic.com/ There are some tracks from a previous CD available to listen to, and they are very similar in style to this CD. 7/10 Andy Sayner (December 2008)
This Time of Year - Children's Ministry. (Faith Kidz CHMCD044)
Ali Croxford and Simon Goodall are the musicians behind this project, an "eclectic mix of 12 original Christmas songs specifically written for children aged 4-11". The album's main plus point is the fun and uptempo nature of many of these songs and a real sense of the true joy of Christmas is conveyed to the listener. This is good to hear as many seasonal offerings, both contemporary and traditional, often have a much more melancholic feel. "Here We Go Again", "Let Us Celebrate", "Hey You" and "We're Following the Star" among others are all guaranteed to have your foot tapping. There is a nice mix of styles too and the temptation to include bells in the arrangements for all the songs is thankfully resisted. The album finishes with three traditional carols and these are presented well. Overall, a pretty good album that will work with kids but also have a broader appeal to families. 7/10 Robin Thompson. (December 2006)
THIS TRAIN : Mimes of the Old West. (Organic : ORCD-9801)
What a strange one we have here! Featuring ex-Alter Boys vocalist, Mark Robertson, This Train rattle off 13 (maybe 14?) songs at a, sometime, quite hectic pace. Kicking off with the surfer's instrumental 'Hanger 84', you're transported back into the early 60's with echoing guitars and bubblegum keyboards. It's a great formula that's repeated, once more, on 'Seaform Green' albeit a little shorter in length. These guys have got a quirky sense of humour that won't be lost on the British public, especially 'We're Getting Nowhere' which appears to be a parody of themselves. Throughout, there's a feeling of retro music being brought up to date which, for the most part, does pay off. 'A Million Years' features some great harmonies to add to the mainly guitar driven sounds. Listen carefully and you'll here the voice of the late Rich Mullins on backing vocals. It's fun, it's frantic, it's different! 7/10. (August 1998)
THIS TRAIN : The Emperor's New Band. (Pamplin : ORCD2011)
It was the band's witty lyrics that made their debut album stand out from the crowd only 18 months ago and, I'm pleased to say, that the winning formula has been continued on this follow up. However, what has changed is the move from just plain old rock, to include jazz, swing, and rockabilly. "She's A Rocker" brings in the big band sound and the result is the kind of thing that former Stray Cat, Brian Setzer, is doing so well at the moment. The title track then switches into typical U.S rock and shows that these three guys can still rock with the best. Those of us old enough to remember The Shadows, in their hey-day, will love "The Way It Sounds", complete with twangy guitars. Want something a bit different? Try This Train. 9/10. (March 2000)
THOUSAND FOOT KRUTCH : The Art of Breaking. (EMI CMG/ Tooth & Nail Records)
Toronto- based Thousand Foot Krutch were formed while the members were still in high school. Using the modern hard rock sound, the band have a huge fan base, thanks to the relentless touring they have undertaken over the last 4 years.. Listening to the album, I found it hard to hear what the the band were actually trying to say through their music. It's not just due to the, sometimes, incoherent vocals, it's just that some of the lyrics just don't seem to make sense. For instance, on the track "Go", I sat and read the lyrics several times before it dawned on me that the song was about Peter's denial of Jesus - I think. The title track has thumping rhythms and crashing guitars, but it's nothing special. "Hit the Floor" made me sit up and take note, but the best is left for last. "Breath You In" is the most tuneful song on show, and it's a glorious piece. That said, I found the rest of the album to be filled with mediocre numbers that did little to raise my enthusiasm. 6/10. (December 2005)
THREE CROSSES : Skinny Flowers. (Benson : 84418-2206-2).
This Dove Nominated group contains ex-Spin Doctors guitarist Anthony Krizan and sound in the vain of Sheryl Crow and the Eagles. This certainly comes to light in track 2 'Maggie's Prayer'. However, there's a whole bunch of boring songs until 'April & ME'. Finally, a good song with lively music. 'Fast Food Religion' keeps the tempo going but then things start to go downhill again. I was nearly asleep by the time 'Monday Mornings' appeared. Good song, good music. Too many of the songs sounded the same, however, and tended to droll on, and on without really getting anywhere. Sometimes the vocals are terrible, an example being 'Bag of Creation' - it sounds like an audition that went wrong. I liked 5 out of the 14 songs, and I definitely would not buy it. 3/10. Anna Howlett. (September 1998)
THREE STRAND : Famished. (40 Records : 6694 47297529)
Drawing on their experiences of working with numerous top CCM artists, the members of Three Strand use a celtic base with this debut album. They tell us that their music is the new Pop praise and worship. What's new? Well, I guess - for a change - it's the American youth who are taking a leaf out of the British book. What? I mean, it sounds just like any album that's come out of the Stoneleigh Live albums or, indeed, any other youth festival of it's kind. There's ballads like "Pour Your Anointing Oil on Me", funky gospel , in the shape of "Joy", and even an anthemic "Before the Throne of God Above" - complete with crashing percussion and seering bagpipes. Is it any good though? The answer is, "yes, it is". It's great to see, and hear, some young Americans who aren't quite as easily pigeon holed as many of their fellow countrymen/women. Not really my cup of tea but I couldn't help admire Three Strand. 7/10. (December 1999)
THIRD DAY : Live Wire. (Essential : 6107632)
Third Day pack in the audiences wherever they play, and the sound that accompanies this live album is filled with screaming and cheering. Therefore, you get the instant feeling that this band are something special. You know what I'm going to say don't you? Sadly, I've not found that "something special". One rock song drones on into the next and by the time track 5 came along, "It's A Shame", I was beginning to think it was a shame I hadn't asked someone else to review this! Not one single song stood out for me. The singer has an almost monotone vocal, which in itself was monotonous, and the guitars rock like….well, rock guitars actually. A bonus to this package comes in the shape of a DVD featuring the band in concert playing many of the songs on the album. At least you've got something to watch while the songs play. For fans of Thrid Day, I'm sure that this is as good as it gets. For me, it just wasn't good enough. 4/10. (April 2005)
THIRD DAY : Revelation. (Essential : 083061085322)
I'd been waiting for this one to drop through my letter box, hoping that Third Day would provide something special. I've long been an admirer of their music, and Mac Powell's "rasping" vocals. It all starts with an attack sounding song called 'This is Who I Am'. Powell's voice is at it's best and the rest of the band are musically as one. Third Day may be one of the biggest Christian rock bands on the scene, but they never forget that their message is convey the gospel. 'Call My Name' tells you of the promise of Jesus will be there with you at all times. You just have to call His name. There's some good, well produced female harmonies on the plodding 'Run To You', and this song really did grow on me. 'Let Me Love You' depicts a wonderful God and His unconditional love, in a way that only Third Day can convey. It's stylish, adult rock and it's all done very professionally. 'I Will Always Be True' has a good rocking beat to it, and the motoring 'Caught Up in Yourself' thunders along. The band have certainly come a long way since their 1996 debut, and long may they continue to grow. 10/10. (December 2008)
THIRD DAY : Live Revelations. (Integrity)
If I was reviewing just the audio Cd of this package, I would be a little disappointed at the rather short running time. Just nine tracks are available, but well up to Third Day standard. Mac Powell's vocals drive the songs along, especially on tracks like 'Run To You' and Bon Jovi-esque 'I Will Always Be True'. 'Revelation' has quickly become a crowd favourite and this live version pulls no punches. What this package does offer is a 75 minute DVD documentary on the band, looking at off stage, on stage, and back stage footage of the band, as well as the guys trying to balance life on a tour bus, performance demands, and family relationships. For me, the DVD was much stronger than the audio CD. There's also good live concert footage to watch and that was worth waiting for. Whether you're new to the sound of Third Day or a long term fan, this release is a worthy collectable. 9/10 (August 2009)
THIRD DAY : Miracle. (Essential : 83061 09462)
It will be no surprise to anyone familiar with the music of Third Day, that this is another collection of songs of very high quality. I’ve always loved Mac Powell’s vocals, but it’s the band’s overall music prowess that makes me dream of seeing them live. ‘Hit Me Like A Bomb’ tells of that feeling when God first comes into your life. It’s like nothing that you’ve ever felt before, and the song is littered with addictive hooks. The medium paced ‘Your Love is Like a River’ comes right from the heart, while ‘I Need A Miracle’ is THE song of the album. It is so well put together and one of those that begs to be played over and over again. There’s great guitar work and backing vocals on ‘You Are My Everything’ – another song that I played numerous times. All the songs are very similar in style but that similarity doesn’t stop the album from being up to the band’s usual standard. ‘Forever Yours’ stands out late on in the running order, while it all ends with a great version of the classic hymn ‘Morning Has Broken’. It’s sensitive to the original tune, yet has a modern twist that is bright and bouncy. Fans won’t be disappointed by this album. 10/10. (January 2013, Album of the Month)
THIRD DAY : Revival. (Essential Records)
After following this band for more than 20 years, I thought I knew what to expect from a new release. How wrong could I be! According to the media, Third Day have “gone back to their roots” and deliver a collection of songs that, on the whole, sound like dated, gospel blues. The title track wasn’t too bad. It begins with some acoustic rhythms, before launching into a rock n’ roll, boogie-woogie number. Then, comes a couple of self-indulgent bluesy tracks that I took an instant dislike to. Where was the Third Day sound that I was used to? I thought things were changing with the great ballad “Let There Be Light.” Mac Powell’s vocals are spot on, and the song is so moving. Sadly, the brief highlight is soon forgotten. Indeed, I found “Gather Round Now” to be quite dreadful. The music sounds laboured and there was just no life to the song. I’m not sure why the band picked Paul Simon’s “Loves Me Like A Rock” to cover, but the overall production sounds like a live jam, rather than a serious recording. The album was recorded at the Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, the same place that's welcomed everyone from Aretha Franklin and Etta James to Otis Redding, If this is the sound that Third Day are going to continue with, it will be interesting to see whether fans move with them. I, for one, couldn’t wait for this album to end. Very disappointing. 4/10. (November 2017)
3RD DAY RISING : Spiral. (CD Only £10 from: 3rd Day Rising, 20 Beechwood Cresent, Newport, Gwent, Wales, NP9 8AB).
In one form or another the members of 3rd Day Rising have been playing music together since the late 80's, with the current line up being together for two years. "Spiral" certainly doesn't hold back and hard rock fans will be clamouring to get hold of a copy of this release. Once "Pain" belts out of your system's speakers, you know that your in for a musical ride of a lifetime. With influences like Led Zepplin, Metallica and Nirvana, you don't need me to tell you that this really is for serious metalheads. On a lighter vain, "Violence" sounds like Bon Jovi at their very best as the band look at the subject of violence in today's society. "Sleeping Giant" is a choice cut, complete with its catchy rock chorus, heavy verse and tremendous guitar work of Mike Soear. On vocals is Chris Edwards and his voice IS the business. Even on the closing "Spiral Down" his gritty delivery - combined with excellent riffs - literally shakes you to the bone. It's a long time since I heard metal as good as this. 9/10. (September 1999)
THOUSAND FOOT KRUTCH : The Flame In All Of Us - Tooth & Nail Records 094638824725
This is a fairly up beat album, just straight forward no nonsense guitar led rock music. There's not much wrong with any of the songs on here, I suppose I could say that all of the tracks sounded very similar, as though the band have one style and no real variation, but for all that I quite liked this CD. "Learn to breathe" I would say for me being the stand out track, but there was nothing on here that I particularly disliked. The band sound reminiscent of "Soul Asylum" Particularly the vocals, although with perhaps just a slightly heavier sound. Definitely worth a listen this one. Also there's a code with the CD so that you can get your hands on a digital sampler album and a load of ringtones. 8/10 Andy Sayner. (April 2008)
THROWBACK KID : Throwback Kid. (7Core Music : 7CEP00106)
This is a five track EP consisting of very catchy acoustic rock / pop songs, written by Pete James, who is a well known worship leader. These songs are quite lively, and bounce along quite nicely, just the kind of thing that would give you a lift if you were feeling down. These are the kind of songs that will have you singing along in no time. Kicking off with a track called "Bluebells and blossoms" which is reminiscent of Badly Drawn Boy, as are all the songs on offer here it never goes downhill, personally my favourite song on here is "Colour Of Love" which has the feel of something that Lindisfarne would have put out in their later years. I really enjoyed this album, and I don't think that there is any one track that lets it down at all. I found it to be well written, and well recorded. I would have liked to have heard more tracks than just five, as it leaves you feeling somewhat short changed in a way. Just as you are getting into it, it ends. Other than that though, this is an excellent EP, and definitely worth checking out. 10/10 Andy Sayner. (August 2017, Album of the Month)
TIM HUGHES : Love Shines Through. (Kingsway : KWCD3151)
If, like me, you’ve been living on the energy of Tim’s ‘Happy Day’ for the last couple of years, you will be excited by this new release of songs. And, in typical track listing, there’s a powerful song to start things off, in the shape of ‘Counting Your Name’. It’s high tempo praise and worship in contemporary style. By track 3, he’s also giving us a rocking declaration that we ‘Never Stop Singing’, co-written with Paul Evans, Martin Smith, Ben Cantelon and Jon Dean. Saying all that, this album took two or three plays for me to really begin to enjoy it. ‘All Glory’ is one for collective worship and that was a song typical of it growing on me, the more I heard it. ‘Jesus Saves’ and ‘Keep the Faith’ are fine songs but at the other end of the scale ‘At Your Name’ and ‘Ecclesiastes’ didn’t quite do it for me. ‘Wake Up’ in quite an infectious sound, and it’s another song that has Martin Smith as a co-writer, as well as Stu G. As I say, not an album that I immediately took to, but maybe it’s a slow burner. 7/10 (May 2011)
TIM HUGHES : Ultimate Collection.   (Kingsway : KWCD3287)
From a young age, Tim learnt the value and purpose of worship which then continued when appointed Director of Worship at Soul Survivor. From here, Tim moved to London’s Holy Trinity Church, Brompton and established Worship Central where he continued to learn the importance of equipping the local church with leaders. This collection puts together 16 tracks with all the favourites included. Teaming up to write with Phil Whickham, Tim opens things up with ‘At Your Name’ – a particular crowd favourite. Then, comes ‘Happy Day’. I’ve got to admit that this song is one of my all time favourites, I love singing along. ‘In similar fashion ‘Here I Am To worship’ gives me a lump in my throat every time I sing it, without fail. I just think that it’s one of the most moving songs I’ve ever heard. I don’t think that I had heard ‘Everything’ before, but what a powerful song it is! Even more powerful when I turned it up louder. Is it me, or does ‘May The Words of My Mouth’ sound a little like Oasis at times? ‘Beautiful One’ and ‘Counting on Your Name’ are both there, and ‘Whole World in His Hands’ really comes on strong from mid-song. The album is predominantly guitar orientated and ‘Holding Nothing Back’ has a rocking good chorus to add to the sound. I loved listening to this album and I’m sure that you will too.   10/10. (September 2012, Album of the Month)
TIM HUGHES : Pocket Full of Faith. (Integrity : 64392)
This 12 track CD is the fifth studio album of ordained Anglican minister Tim Hughes, and is claimed to 'capture a theme of explosive celebration and wild adventure with honest emotion and vulnerability'. Tim is well known of course as a prolific and influential Christian songwriter, whose songs such as 'Here I am to worship' are said to be sung weekly by millions around the world. A feature of Tim's songwriting has always been strong melodies. The album certainly doesn't disappoint in this respect, and gets off to a rousing start with the medium paced rock 'Here with me', the one track where friend Phil Wickham is drafted in to share vocals. Things continue in a similar vein with 'Only the brave'. The initially stripped back title track 'Pocketful of faith' follows and is one of the standouts, being lyrically a typical and very effective Tim Hughes personal worship song ('take this pocketful of faith, it is all I have today, I'm giving it all') that has a triumphant climactic ending. As the album continues, it is obvious that Tim is still at the top of his game. 'Set apart' reminds me of another Tim Hughes song, but I'm blowed if I can remember which one! I would imagine with its simple repeating chorus, 'Plans' will go down particularly well live. 'Arms' is absolutely beautiful. Arrangements and production overall are excellent, although sound is a touch compressed for my liking. This is a strong album however and a worthy 9/10. Dave Deeks. (August 2015)
TIM TOTANI : Back Home.   (www.facebook.com/ttotani)
This CD has a great classic rock feel to it, in the mould of Bob Seger, Nickleback, Bon Jovi et al. Although it does also show up listed as “country rock”, I beg to differ (despite some of the backing straying into Shania Twain territory). It strolls on down the freeway at cruise speed and doesn’t disappoint. I did worry that the opening lines about being on the road again were set for predictability, but instead hit the theme of heading home and living life through a hotel phone (a very evocative lyric). Thematically the CD sticks in that territory: saying goodbye, wanting to go back, driving. There’s no flashy solos (not even on the ballad “All For You”), just solid playing underpinning the vocal on the edge of hoarseness (think Bryan Adams – probably the best reference point). The CD does rather peter out more than rock out but overall, a good one and very deserving of a listen. Best track: “Turn Up”.   7/10 Paul Ganney. (July 2015)
TITUS : The Ground Had Shook (CD £7.99 inc p&p from: 161 Abbots Way, Preston Farm, North Shields, Tyne & Wear, Newcastle, England, NE29 8LS.
Now here's one to watch out for. This is the debut recording of a young three piece band from Tyneside, home of YFriday and yours truly. So what's new? ... Apart from living in a musically talented area (!). Sometimes when you hear something for the first time, something grabs you about it - you know there is potential there. These three lads of far eastern origin have written some excellent rock worship songs, with nice, mature arrangements - but not your average D? wannabes, there is originality here. The recording itself was done on a budget, and I'm afraid it shows in the production, but that's just me being a perfectionist. The songs shine through, and so does their faith. 'Time Will Come' is a great track, and the title track 'The Ground Had Shook' will go places. 'I Cried Out to God' is another one. If you buy a copy of this album now, it'll be an investment as I'm sure it will be a collector's item in years to come. As it says in the song, 'Fame', (boy, doesn't that show my age!), 'Baby,remember my name ....' 8/10 Julie Lord. (March 2002)
TIM TIMMONS : Cast My Cares. (Reunion : 02341-0181-2)
I knew nothing of Tim Timmons before listening to this album. It was only afterwards, that I learnt that this is his first studio recording, and just how personal the songs were to him. For the last 12 years, Tim has been battling against an incurable type of cancer, and ‘Cast My Cares’ is his way of telling the world how God has helped him through it. Musically, it’s contemporary pop in style. The opening ‘It’s Your Revolution’ and ‘Starts With Me’ are both bouncy, positive songs, centering on relationship with God. The title track is the most poignant for me. Here, Tim sings of his Lord as his hope, when all hope is gone. “I cast my cares on you, because you love me”. When doubts rear their ugly heads in our lives, then remember, God remains faithful and constant, on the song ‘You Remain’. I took to Tim’s vocals straight away, as there’s a real warmth to them. And, as the first review of a New Year, it was good to hear some excellent songs. ‘Christ in Me’ had a bit of a Matt Maher feeling about it, while ‘Let’s Be Beautiful’ challenges everyone to show how beautiful they are within, by showing love in action. A sparkling release by a very talented man. 9/10. (February 2014, Album of the Month)
TITUS : I CouldRun A Thousand Miles. (CD £3.50 + £1 p&p from: www.titusmusic.com)
Titus originally began life in 1995 when 4 Christian friends started playing music together. Since 2001, they've been a 3 piece outfit, and this e.p is their first release. The title track is full of driving energy, as are the others, and I'm not too old to appreciate that. Guitars are full of sound, the drums are solid, and the vocals just gritty enough to avoid being too nice. We're in the land of Blink 182 and Sum41 here of what is a short, sharp look at a band who are delivering the good news through music that appeals to the youth of today. Let's here more lads because this has given me a taste for more. 8/10. (April 2003)
TITUS: Point of No Return. (ICC/Elevation)
I managed to catch Titus at Greenbelt 04 and 05 and was mighty impressed. They're a Geordie Chinese three-piece (i.e. in a genre of their own) who play powerful, driving high-tempo rock. Live, they're awesome. But - and here's the clincher - does their recorded sound carry anything like the energy? On first listen, I wasn't too sure, but on second, the answer has to be "yes" (especially if you crank the hi-fi up). Stand-out track is easily "Fight Another Day", with "Take Me Back" a close second. The better songs are definitely towards the end of the CD, making you want to start playing it all over again when it finishes. But what does it all sound like? It's guitar-driven rock, with shades of Guns & Roses (but with better vocals), Nickleback, Nirvana, Ramones and the Bill Mason Band (for those of you old enough). It's fast, it's energetic, it's tuneful (try "Please Forgive Me" for evidence), it's excellent. Buy it now and catch them live. You won't regret it. 9/10 (CD) 10/10 (Live) - Paul Ganney. (November 2005)
TO SAVE A LIFE. (New Song Pictures : RM1040099)
To Save a Life is a 2 hour feature following the story of Jake Taylor (played by Randy Wayne - Dukes of Hazard), a guy who seems to have it all...liked by practically everyone, good at sports, a college scholarship and possibly the hottest girlfriend in school. This all changes though after Roger, Jake's childhood best friend takes his own life right in front of his eyes, at the end of the road being fed up of not fitting in & being rejected. Jake is devastated by what he sees and starts to ask some serious life questions, turning away from much of his former way of life, eventually finding faith & feeling compelled to look out for those on the fringe or seem as "uncool". Well, that's a brief synopsis anyhow! If you were to pay a great deal of attention film critics, you may well be tempted to give it a wide berth. The secular crirics seem to take joy is being downright nasty because of the film's Christian content, whilst giving small credit to the production. On the other side, we have the Christian press with a tendency to over-spiritualise, having a go at the lack of biblical content & references to Jesus...the list goes on. Oh come on guys, let's take this film at face value. It is not meant to be a Hollywood blockbuster, nor is it a super-spiritual epic. Get over that & it's a watchable story that does tackle some real life & gritty issues (rejecting those that don't "fit in", drink) plus others which many of us are likely to relate to at some point. It is really geared towards the teen/family audience, but thankfully not as cheesy as Glee or High School Musical, although given the American high school setting it is hard to shake off that image. For a section of the target market though, that could even add to the appeal! Production & acting was very good indeed, with only rare cringe moments. I have to say as well that the flashbacks at the beginning of the film did make my head spin. All in all though, I don't think this deserves the rap it has been getting in the press. It's not so spiritual that it couldn't be watched & enjoyed by a secular viewer, nor is it too weak to offer up challenge to Christian & non-Christian audiences alike. Take it for what it is and it's very watchable. 8/10 Simon Redfern (February 2011)
TOAST : Praises from the Polden Wheel. (www.cherithmusic.co.uk)
Toast is a varying collection of musicians that accompany the worship in the Polden Wheel Benefice, a collection of villages in the Polden Hills of Somerset. The core of the group are folk musicians, but they are joined by orchestral and brass band players. As the group say themselves, they don’t expect to set the world alight with their releases, this album gives a depth to the worship in rural churches, where the congregations are small. What we have, then, are 15 songs that vary in vocal quality. ‘May the Blessing’ and ‘Rejoice Rejoice’ took me back to the early 90’s with a sound of typical church praise from that era. A simple acoustic guitar and recorder provide the backing to ‘O Lord Hear My Prayer’ – a hymn that I’ve never liked, while the piano solo in ‘There is a Balm in Gilead’ is very nice. Without wishing to sound harsh, the quality of the whole album lifts with the rendition of ‘The Lord’s My Shepherd’. There’s something about it that is just head and shoulders above everything else on the album. I’m not sure that the sweet vocals really do justice to the traditional spiritual song ‘I Want Jesus to Walk With Me’. However, the similar ‘Steal Away’ is delivered well by a male vocal in the style of Paul Robeson. (August 2015)
TOAST : Prayers from the Polden Wheel. (www.cherithmusic.co.uk)
The most recent release from this group features 23 tracks of songs and prayer readings. In recent years, I can only think of the lovely Marilla Ness, who has released similar albums in the UK. Again, the market for this type of album maybe small but is so important for that minority. The vocals on ‘Seek Ye First’ are almost angelic and provide a lovely version of this well known tune. As it ends, Variatons on Pachelbel’s Canon provides the backdrop to a short prayer. Of all the prayers featured, I liked the simply titled ‘Prayer’ the best. It’s perfect for starting each new day, and gives God praise and thanks for His creations. Graham Kendrick’s ‘Lord You Are So Precious’ is a joy to hear, but my favourite has to be the ‘Irish Blessing’. With music provided by a mandolin and violin, it’s classic folk number that ends with the line; “May God go with you now my friends, and this blessing stay with you”. I doubt that we’ll ever hear of Toast filling the Royal Albert Hall but, they provide a welcome filling for a niche market. Therefore, both albums get 7/10. (August 2015)
TOBY MAC : Renovating Diverse City. (Forefront : FFD11228)
I've not really enjoyed anything that Toby Mac has released in recent years, and I'm sorry to say that this new release fails to alter my opinion. The music comes across as hip hop but with some Rn'B thrownin for good measure. I suppose that at it's best, it sounds a lot like Eminem. "The Slam" is one such song but I've not the faintest idea just what it's all about. Toby keeps on repeating the phrase "This is the slam" but that's as far as I understand. There's one bright spot, for me, that returns to his heady days with DC Talk. "Burn For You" is a quality song and wouldn't have sounded out of place on the brilliant "Jesus Freak" album. "Gone" features some Oasis style brit-pop singing but I simply loathed the karaoke style of "Intruding Again" which features an annoying child rapping over the top of the track. Although not a fan of Enimem, several tracks do stand up well to his single releases and therefore, I guess this album could be worth you while. Not one for me though. 5/10 (April 2006)
TOBY MAC : Tonight. (EMI : 5099922637123)
This is the 4th solo album from Toby Mac, which debuted at No.6 in the US Billboard 200. Try as he might, poor old Toby can't get away from returning to his DC Talk roots, with songs like 'Changed Forever' and the Latin feel of 'Start Somewhere'. But, there are breaks from tradition, and I particularly liked the opening, action packed title track, about reaching out for more of God. On the other hand, the noisey RnB sounding 'Funky Jesus Music' left me cold, and I didn't like it at all. There's a hip-hop/rock marriage on 'Showstopper, but the next highlight had to be 'Hold On'. It's a really strong song in the RnB genre, and well worth a few plays on your player. If, like most people, you wonder about your relationship with God, then the aptly named 'Wonderin' will at least put your mind at rest that you're not on your own. Perhaps the surprise track of the album, is 'Break Open the Sky'. It's got a reggae feel to it, and asks God to break open the sky so that we can see His face. Toby says that he wants his songs to be said in a way that anyone can relate to them, and move them toward God. He gets the message across, but some of the songs are just over produced. 6/10. (May 2010)
TOBY MAC : Moving Pictures. (Forefront : 5099964206394)
This is a collection of all of Toby Mac's music video's culled from his four successful solo albums. There's a mix of concert footage and staged theatricals, but it was the former that impressed me most. I've neve3r been the biggest Toby Mac fan, but this DVD certainly made me sit up and take note. 'Tonight' opens proceedings, and it's a mixture of the concert footage and the man himself riding a motorbike. It's quite a rock inspired song, and I liked it a lot. There's more RnB to 'Lose My soul' - a song about the trappings of the material world. The live concert experience must have been something special because the thrill of it really does come over on the film. Toby really rocks it up Linkin Park style on songs like 'The Slam' and 'Extreme Days' and it was these songs I liked the most. For fans, it's a must buy. 8/10 (February 2011)
TODD AGNEW : Reflection of Something. (Ardent : 252627)
Todd Agnew is a new name to me, but what do I know? - evidently his debut album 'Grace Like Rain' has flown off the shelves since its release in the US last year, and this is the follow-up. Memphis-based Todd has a gruff, rock voice - a sort of cross between Chris Rea and Brad Roberts (lead singer and genius behind the Crash Test Dummies). Here we have an album full of overtly Christian lyrics, with the title taken from the first track 'Something beautiful' - pure 'distorted guitar-driven' rock. 'New name' follows - distorted guitars again, medium paced blues rock. 'Blood on my hands' is slow contemporary pop featuring acoustic and electric guitars, and strings. The stand-out track for me is 'Always there', although there are several very strong ones, including 'Unchanging One', 'Isaiah 6', and 'Fullness Found' - and in fact there isn't a duff one. A pity then that overall, the sound is well over-compressed. And incidentally, don't expect only the 12 tracks listed on the sleeve - or the 15 that your CD player displays! Tracks 13 and 14 are each 30 seconds of silence and there then follows a 'bonus track' of the hymn 'When peace like a river' - almost 8 minutes as it's never been heard before! Confusing, but a tremendous closer. For more info, try www.toddagnew.com and www.musichristian.com. 9/10 Dave Deeks. (November 2005, Album of the Month)
TODD AGNEW : 'From Grace to Glory - the music of Todd Agnew. (Provident : B06Y35Q7NG)
I am getting used to the fact that my advancing age makes time pass ever faster - but I was still amazed to discover that it is almost twelve years since I favourably reviewed Memphis-based Todd Agnew's debut album 'Grace like rain'. Since then I have somehow lost touch with his progress, but here we are seven albums later with Todd said to be 'still focused on ministry, using his music to proclaim the gospel'. In the original review I described Todd's voice as a sort of cross between Chris Rea and Brad Roberts (of Crash Test Dummies fame). If anything, the most recently recorded tracks show that it has become even gruffer with the years - but he does a great falsetto that he really should use more! This compendium of new and old tracks begins with one of the best tracks 'Glory to our great redeemer' and ends with the excellent title track of his original very successful album. 'Our great God' is shared with Rebecca James and has a great chorus. 'His eye is on the sparrow' is a particularly strong track with an excellent riff that develops into a bluesy groove at the end - again shared vocally, but with a brilliant singer whose name we don't get to know. There is wide variety here, from quietly reflective to a full-on cover of U2's 'When love comes to town'(!) and from fully produced to the odd demo - and to an extent, the album suffers from this variety. For me, the first six tracks are excellent but I found myself losing interest in some after that - and I can't help wondering if twelve good ones may have been better than the full sixteen on offer. Regrettably, music lovers listening through good headphones or sound systems will find that sound quality varies from passable to poorer than that. A fascinating 'catch up' on Todd's ministry however - there is some very enjoyable music here. 8/10 Dave Deeks (August 2017)
TOM + OLLY : Tom + Olly. (Elevation : ICC1274D)
Tom Logan and Olly Purchase hail from Brighton in the UK. Their hip hop style has been likened, of course, to that of The Streets but for us older music fans, there's a little bit of John Ottaway madness there too. The songs are often difficult to understand, but I am assured that they do have a Christian message! I liked the infectious chorus of 'Little Things' but thought that 'Trouble' disintegrated into an intelligible noise and a waste of precious recording time. 'Love at the Disco' moves along at a fast pace in a sort of US punk style, but I have no idea what the song is about. "The sun is smiling but I don't feel like smiling today", is the hook line from 'Sun is Shining', and I guess that it's just the way the lads feel when they've got out of bed the wrong side. 'Paint a Smile' is 70 seconds of acoustic sweetness, while 'Jamie', 'City Stars', 'Falling' and 'The Beginning' does show more depth in their writing. Not really sure what to make of this duo. Only time will tell if the world is ready for Tom + Olly. 5/10 (August 2009)
TOM READ : Compass. (Kingsway : KWCD3320).
If you’ve not heard of Tom Read before, it’s probably because he’s been living in Hong Kong for a number of years, and playing as part of The Vine worship band. This debut solo album was recorded in the UK and features 10 songs. I played the album through once, then for a second time, and not one song could I recall as being memorable. Subsequent plays helped but I was left with a feeling of disappointment of the album as a whole. There’s a Matt Redman feel about ‘Over All’ but it’s not a particularly strong number. One song that did become more enjoyable with plays was ‘From Ashes To Beauty’, a song about the spirit of God. ‘Come’ is a bright little number, co-written with Trevor Su, while ‘Broken Hearts Can Sing’ has a nice acoustic feel to it. The closing ‘You Walk Me Out’ is a lengthy track that just seems to amble along without any real destination, and I found myself reaching for the “skip” track button each time I played it. As always, lyrics wise, there’s nothing to complain to about. Tom certainly doesn’t have a problem there, but I was just rather disillusioned by the finished product. 4/10. (January 2013)
TONEX & the Perculiar People. : Out the Box. (Zomba Recording Company : 8267 6537132)
I must admit at the start that I don't like dance music much, but even so I tried my best to find something that I liked about this CD. I have to say that I didn't succeed. The album is a live double CD, and it starts with a cliche ridden introduction by Yolanda Adams that is so over the top that it made me cringe before the music even started. I'm sorry but I'm afraid that I have no time at all for people who use language such as "Kicking the devil's butt", It doesn't make me immediately think Wow! these people have a lot of spiritual authority, which is unfortunate considering the fairly aggresive style that this guy seems to adopt while leading worship. After the intro there are several tracks of stuttering loops and samples that jumped about so much that they actually had me checking to see if the CD was faulty, and finally we get to track four, when the first thing that could be be recognised as an actual song starts. There is a choir featured on a lot of the tracks but they seem to shout rather than sing, and every so often there are samples of an American preacher screaming at the top of his voice about various things that are wrong with us. In fact apart from odd bits here and there the first disk is just never ending noise from start to finish, and while the second disk is a bit more restrained with some slower worship songs, even this gets tedious very quickly as Tonex (Pronounced Tonee or if you like toenail without the L at the end) won't let the worship flow on it's own but keeps butting in with un-needed encouragement to the audience who, to be fair, seem to be managing ok on their own. In the end I was glad when this CD ended, I found it to be extremely hard work to listen to. Perhaps it will appeal to the American market. Personally I thought it was just too over the top to bother with. 3/10 Andy Sayner (September 2004)
TONY COOKE & FRIENDS : The Love of Jesus. (CD. Details from: New Life Christian Centre, Bridlington Avenue, Hull, HU2 0DU)
Tony has been a tireless children's worker in the East Riding of Yorkshire for a number of years and it is, therefore, a disappointment to hear this CD of Children's Celebration Songs. There's 24 tracks here, mostly with primary school children accompanying the singing. The result, sadly, is poor on what was, surely, a good idea. As always, the lyrics are Biblically sound, but the delivery and interpretation leaves a lot to be desired. "Do Not Be Anxious" sounds like OMD from the early 80's but that's as good as it gets. "Ask, Seek, Knock", "Oh Praise the Lord", the list of poor recording and production is just third rate. Tony will doubt it as he reads this review, but I do love the guy and his work. It's just a pity that a valuable ministry doesn't always make a good CD. 1/10. (November 2003)
TONY CORNISH : First Heart. (Private Recording. CD £13 Cass £9 from: Broken Records, 6 Vicarage Road, Llangollen, Denbigshire, Wales, LL20 8HF).
Already likened in style to Phil & John, as well as Eden Burning, Tony Cornish is another new name to the world of CCM. With 12 self-penned songs, he has released this delicious collection for a wider audience. For starters, we have the poignant 'The First Heart to Break', written after the Dunblane tragedy. Here, Tony carefully puts into words the feelings of those who were hundreds of miles away from the event, yet still grieved. The main course is served by the extremely tasty, 'Upside Down'. You can really get your teeth into the catchy hooks and the foot tapping beat. After dabbling with some juicy jazz/blues mid-course, presnets one of the best titles for a song I've heard in some time. 'Windy Side of Your Welcome Mat' tells of his personal trust and thankfulness of being IN God's house, rather than outside and open to the elements/temptations. For desert, we're served up with the quite beautiful 'Oceans of Forgivenss', a song of meditation that concludes with some prime saxophone playing. With another batch of songs ready to record, Tony must be careful if he is to live up to the standards he's set with this one. 9/10. (January 1999)
TONY CORNISH : Sacrifice. (New Dawn Music : NDD006). £4.00 from: New Dawn Music, 1 Beech Close, Towcester, Northampton, England, NN12 6BL).
Things have certainly started to move for singer/songwriter Tony Cornish, since the release of his debut album "First Heart". After signing up with Brian Taylor's New Dawn Music, and gaining support slots with the likes of Loose Goose, he's ready to release his EP, "Sacrifice". Four tracks that show that he's not a man to rest on his laurels, but to build on what he's already achieved. The lyrics of "Honest Injun" asks for truth and honesty from world leaders, and the sound is moving towards that of The Waterboys. From there, we travel into Beautiful South country, with a laid-back ballad that has some very good backing vocals. "Swimming With the Dolphins" would be the obvious track for single material, with it's quiet verse, pressure building middle eight, and distorted guitar chorus. Great song. It's the title track that finishes things off and, after it's predecessor, isn't as strong. However, I think that both new and old fans will enjoy this release. 8/10. (June 1999)
TONY WILLIS : Rivers of Grace. (£7.99 from www.innocent-records.co.uk)
Tony Willis is a worship leader in Acton, London, and has released this collection of worship songs that reflect on his personal discovery that God is "more willing to give, than he (Tony) is to receive". Not sure of the reason, but the lead vocals aretaken by Fraser McDermott, while Tony supplies some backing, plus most of the instrumentation. "For Your Prayers" opens things up and it's an uptempo song that you can imagine one of the bigger names in worship performing. The title track is just contemporary worship at it's best and would go down a storm at worship events. "Thank You For the Cross" and "You Died For Me" are really poignant reflections, were Fraser's vocals are really in their element. As I've recently settled at a new church, I've re-discovered some of the more simple truths of god, and albums such as this one have been a boom. Not sure of Tony's influences but I swear there's a hint of U2 guitar in "I Worship You". For a new name to the worship circuit, Tony Willis has produced a good album. 9/10. (July 2003)
TORONTO AIRPORT CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP : Catch the Fire 6 - In Majesty He Rides. (Kingsway : KMCD2250)
This church is known for the 'Toronto Blessing' and has held continuous nightly revival meetings since January 1994. "Catch the Fire" is an event where leaders have come from around the world and been empowered and refreshed by the Holy Spirit. I have to admit 6that this is the first album I have listened to from the fellowship, and I am quite impressed. There is a good selection of songs, both traditional and modern, by the likes of Noel Richards, Stuart Townend, Martin smith etc. Robert Critchely and Jeremy Sinnett are the worship leaders on this release and they write my favourite songs. "I Will See Ya" (Sinnett) is a quiet, contemplative song, while the title track (Critchely) is a powerful praise number. "In His Majesty He Rides" is a good compilation, catching some of my own favourite songs. The quality of the singing and music is excellent and captures what must have been a spirit filled event. I can only wish that I had been there! 9/10. Pam Robinson. (June 2000)
TORONTO AIRPORT CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP : Praise the Mighty Name of Jesus. (Kingsway : KMCD2367)
Featuring senior worship leader Robert Critchley and Jeremy Sinnott this album comes live from the "Catch the Fire" conference. Attracting worship leaders from around the world, who wish to be empowered by the Holy Spirit, the refreshing is often carried home to bless their own church, city and nation. This collection of songs isn't quite as good as the previous ones in my opinion, although I was drawn to one of the male voices. No credits to which of the leaders sing on which song but, the likes of "I'm Making Melody" and "Do You Love To Praise the Lord?" are very powerful indeed. I also liked the old fashioned folky sound of "There is a Song" which, although 8 minutes in length, is very thoughtfully delivered. Some songs became much of a muchness for me and I found some songs rather tedious. "My Troubled Soul", however, doesn't come into that category as this big worship number draws the listener instantly into some great time of worship. As I say, not quite as good as the previous releases in the series but worth a listen. 6/10.
(February 2002)
TOSE : Love Walk Volume 1. (www.toseofficial.com)
Hertfordshire-based Tosé is on her way to becoming a voice to be reckoned with as one of those vocal power-houses championing Contemporary Worship in the UK. Her artistry has been described as a fusion between the energetic on-stage persona of Yolanda Adams and the powerful, passionate vocal renditions of Kim Walker-Smith of Jesus Culture. This 5 track EP was released a couple of weeks ago, and begins with the catchy, reggae feel of “Cast All My Cares.” There’s a definite leaning towards the American influenced “Free to Worship”, where Tose reminded me of Yolanda Adams, in presentation. On the medium paced “Great Love”, I thought that her vocals became a lot warmer, especially when she sings; “We stand in awe of your great love.” Listening to the songs, I got a great sense of how wonderful they would be to hear them sung live, and I guess plus points must be scored by the production team on this recording. “I Don’t Know” centres around what life would be like without God at the centre of it. In fact, life would be so empty! The song itself is an RnB ballad and would be my choice for airplay. Finally, Tose gives her everything, vocally on “You Are My God.” Lung bursting power is matched by gentleness as she celebrates a loving relationship with her heavenly Father. Having recently reached the finals of the Open Mic UK singing competition held at the NEC Birmingham, these songs only enhance Tose’s growing reputation. 8/10. (May 2016)
TRACEY HARRIS : Keep on Believin'. (Pamplin : PMCD9603)
"I want to cross barriers", says Tracey. "I think that the music and production of this album are strong and mainstream enough to catch the ears of people who don't usually listen to Christian music." Personally, I'm not so sure. At her best, Oregon born Tracey sounds like Ce Ce Winans, particularly on the excellent 'Dancin' in the Son'. This song is so smooth, so catchy, and just head and shoulders above any over track featured. The problem lies, I believe, with the tired feel of gospel jazz that is the main style of the album. It's very much a case of one song sounding the same as the next and, on the whole, not enough feeling from the lady herself. 'Humbly Before You' would be worthy of air play but as for the rest......3/10. (January 1998)
TRAVIS COTTRELL : Unashamed Love. ((Hosanna! Music : 26662)
Travis Cottrell is an experienced worship leader with a warm, all encompassing style, according to the sleeve notes on the cd. Not an easy thing to achieve and I speak from experience, so I was hoping this would make for an interesting listen. To be honest, I've been a little disappointed; whilst you cannot doubt the technical ability of Travis and his band, or the anointing of their ministry, there is little of any real originality here to perhaps warrant such a high profile. There are one or two good songs, notably "Better Than Life" and the title track, but on the whole, most of them are just a little bland. In this sense it, probably does achieve it's purpose; there is nothing on here that would cause offence and therefore, in a live setting, it should appeal to a broad spectrum of worshippers. But the trouble is, as a recording, this type of album is ten-a-penny. I just know this will go in my collection and will probably never see the light of day again! Fine if you want a run of the mill worship album, but for me it's very American and very middle of the road, and therefore gets a very middling 5/10. Robin Thompson (October 2003)
TRAVIS RYAN : Fearless.  (Integrity :  00076850642)
This is a no nonsense collection of  rock worship songs, dealing with several issues that confront most of us at some point in life. The theme of the album is mainly around the fact that perfect love casts out fear, and on his website Travis says that the whole album is  really a prayer that the church would live out 1 John 4:18. The opening track gets off to a powerful start with the intro to the first track "Love That Has Won". Which is about the battle being already won before we fight it. There is a really good track called "Jesus Precious Jesus, which is a simple worship song that could easily be used in any church worship time. "Awaken Us" has a very U2 like guitar riff running through it. This CD is a real change from the endless repeats of the usual songs, which seem to make up most worship CD's these days. It is very well written, well recorded, and played with great sensitivity throughout. There aren't many worship albums that I'd give anything like full marks,  this one though deserves in my opinion more than ten points. It really is that good. You need to buy it.   10/10.   Andy Sayner. (December 2012)
TRAVIS RYAN : Until My Voice is Gone. (Integrity : B01FGDIJT4)
Travis Ryan is known by the US public as a multi-dove nominated, and recognized #1 hit-songwriter. But to those close to him, he is known as a servant-hearted worshipper of God who fiercely champions the Church, and who has led worship for more than a decade. This predominantly live album will introduce him to a wider UK audience, and fans of Jesus Culture music will enjoy this. Most of the tracks are quite lengthy, and those gathered seem to be well versed in the lyrics. “Holy Spirit Come” begins rather softly, before exploding into life mid-song. The album’s title track sounds triumphant, while “The Cross Was Meant for Me” is one of those songs that was just made for worship. Travis’ vocals reminded me, at times, of a young Neil Diamond, and are very strong throughout. The musicians, too, are very good, and are the driving force on “Soul On Fire.” The “Goodness of the Lord” [“never fails me. It overwhelms me, and is always true.”] is another cracking song, as is “We Believe” – were Travis gives his take on The Creed. For me, there’s a number of times that the production seems to throw in every instrument under the sun into the backing. For me, on “You Are Alone”, gets rather cluttered with the overall sound. There’s no denying that Travis is an excellent song writer and he has put together some very powerful songs for this release. I’m sure that we’re going to hear a lot more of him in the future. 8/10. (September 2016)
TREE : 63. (Soul Survivor : SURCD037)
Is it just me, or are we getting a whole host of excellent releases at the moment. Following their UK debut last summer, South Africa's, Tree present 14 brand new songs. Opening with the U2 sounding "101", it's easy to see just why the band are proving so popular. If the Police were together today then, surely, they would sound like this. The distinctive vocals, the thumping bass and clever guitars all add up to a great sound. "Sacrifice" tells of the sacrifice that Jesus paid for us, and it really is a moving song. The softer, infectious, tones of "Fisherman" blends in well with the wide range of tempo elsewhere, such as the most excellent "Earnestly, Earnestly". Throughout, "63" is an album that will keep your attention - even if it was to turn down the one blemish ("Scary") on an otherwise "must buy" album. 9/10. (October 1999)
TREFOR JONES : The Psalms. (www.treforjones.com)
I didn’t hear Trefor’s 2007 release, ‘Fairweather’ but, apparently, it received critical acclaim. For this album, Trefor has taken 11 of the Psalms and has placed them with inspired melodies from blues to folk on them. I wasn’t quite ready for the old fashioned, upempo gospel of ‘Seen You in the Sactuary’. It didn’t really impress me, although it was nice to hear the harmonica making a comeback. On ‘How Long Will You Forget Me?’, Terfor emerges with a Bono type vocal on an engaging song that sounds like a cross between U2 and Simple Minds. ‘Sing to the Lord’ swings along majestically, and I especially liked the use of the string pads within. Choosing to live in one of the UK’s largest council estates, Trefor works for the charity Criss Cross, which engages children and young people in learning about the Christian faith. I guess that his use of some of these songs will be an excellent tool in communicating some of those relevant Bible stories. I must admit not to liking Trefor’s growly vocals on the blues edged ‘He Has Done It’, but the Dylanesque style of ‘By the Rivers of Babylon’ was excellent. My favourite track comes very late in the track listing. ‘Refuge and Strength’ just has a certain quality that puts it head and shoulders above the rest. I’ve always been a lover of grassroots artists, and Trefor is a very welcome addition. 8/10 (March 2012)
TRENT VINEYARD : Unfailing Love. (Vineyard Records : 1280732)
Trent hail from the vineyard fellowship in Nottingham, where according to their website they've been leading worship together for about five years. This is their second CD, and a pretty good job they've made of it too. The music has a rocky edge to it, and is fairly heavily bass led, in fact there are hardly any guitar solos on this CD at all really. Generally the music reminded me of early U2 when they were playing things like "New Years Day" Which is a long time ago to be honest, but I don't mean to suggest that this CD sounds dated at all, the lyrics are well written, and fairly down to earth and direct. There is a CD-ROM section on this CD too, which has photos, chords/lyrics and some video. In fact the only bad thing about this whole album was the fact that I couldn't seem to play the actual album itself on the computer, just the enhanced bit. But other than that this is a good album. Definitely worth a listen. 9/10 Andy Sayner. (October 2006)
Trent 'Live - Burn Bright' (9Vineyard Records : ELE1462A)
Trent is the worship band for Trent Vineyard Church, based in Nottingham. Featuring songwriter and worship leader Nigel Briggs, previous releases have been albums 'Hold On' (2003) and 'Unfailing Love' (2006) and a five track limited edition EP 'Radio Everything' (2008). In February 2009 The Trent Vineyard Warehouse was the venue for Trent to record their latest project 'Burn Bright'. This is a live DVD and CD album featuring songs from their earlier releases, along with several new tracks. This latest release is an excellent package, very well produced. The dvd features slick editing and a wide range of camera angles, and both dvd and cd have good sound quality. The five band members are clearly well rehearsed, and there are some good songs here. I was reminded of the Casting Crowns dvd/cd that I reviewed favourably a year or so ago - i.e. professionally delivered rock worship presented by a band clearly doing it for Jesus, with a pitch-perfect lead singer and spot-on musicianship including a particularly good drummer, but in this case without the multi-media backdrop. The standout track for me is probably 'Perfect Sacrifice', but others that continued to sound especially strong after a few listenings were 'Jubilee', 'Now and ever', 'Love Divine', 'I will hold on', 'Walk humbly' and the closing 'bonus' acoustic track 'Journey home'. Dvd extras provide a 'behind the scenes' of rehearsals, a documentary about the Trent Vineyard community project 'The Arches', an interview with Trent Vineyard leaders John and Debbie Wright, and 'song teaches' for the songs 'Burn bright' and 'Perfect Sacrifice'. Be warned incidentally that the track numbering on the CD doesn't match what it says on the insert, which overlooks the short intro track so all track numbers are out by 1! 9/10 Dave Deeks (January 2010, Album of the Month)
TRENT : Llive at Spring Harvest' : (Elevation ELE1607D)
I first became belatedly acquainted with Trent when, back in December 2009, I reviewed their excellent live CD/DVD release 'Burn Bright'. The worship band for Trent Vineyard Church in Nottingham and featuring songwriter and worship leader Nigel Briggs, Trent are definitely one of the classier pop/rock bands on the ccm scene. Here we have their latest live offering - this time on CD only. Full lyrics are provided - always a plus point. Trent really are a great live band as a whole, but Nigel Briggs deserves special mention as a gifted songwriter and vocalist, and so does drummer Adam Blundy - together they do much to make Trent a cut above the average. I was disappointed that only four of the ten tracks are Trent originals - all familiar, but very strong. The others are also good and mostly well known worship songs, including ones by Matt Redman, but it was evident as I listened that Trent are most comfortable here with their own songs - these all feature the best arrangements, with more inventive drumming and better delivery and production than the others. One negative aspect regarding Nigel Briggs' singing became apparent as I listened however - his phrasing of the lyrics seems to slavishly follow the phrasing of the tune, rather than attempting to make sentences make sense - so we have for instance 'I will give .... You all my praise' instead of 'I will give You .... all my praise'. A small point, but irritating when you notice it and a shame as everything else is so good! A worthwhile release then as a reminder of Trent's contribution to Spring Harvest, although nothing new for Trent fans. 7/10 Dave Deeks (September 2011)
TRENT : All Things New. (Vineyard Records : VRUKCD32)
Trent consist of Nigel Briggs, Matt Loose, Phil Squires and Adam Blundy. Together, they make quite a joyful noise, with their take on contemporary praise and worship. The first track is quite surprise. It’s not your usual uptempo, exciting, guitar number, but a medium paced, classy song called ‘Glorify’. With Jesus as Lord, “I Will glorify your name”. Warm, inviting vocals, and great music. The title track sounds a like a Manic Street Preachers chorus, but with rather predictable lyrics about “You Make All Things New”. There’s a definite pop sound about ‘Good and Perfect Gift’, while ‘Lift Me Up’ has an 80’s electro sound to it, rather like A Flock of Seagulls. I thought that ‘I Give You My Heart’ was a terrific song, to stir the soul. It’s certainly one that I can see being sung in churches up and down the country. ‘Still Small Voice’ and ‘My Heart Burns’ are slower, meditative numbers, with the latter concentrating on Jesus, Holy Messiah. It’s great to hear a decent British band putting together a fine album like this. The only downside, for me, was the rather flat ‘One Desire’. Lacking any real direction, it fades into some lethargic, ethereal sounds, and drifts into silence. Otherwise, well done Trent! 9/10. (March 2015, Album of the Month)
TREVOR RANGER : Together as One. (Elevation : ELE1661D)
There has been a shift in worship music in recent years towards a more concert-type style that relies heavily on the overall sound and arrangement. As a worship leader this means you often have to work hard to make the melody work with a congregation, practically always have to change the key and need a very good rhythm section. If you're a basic bash and thrash guitarist, you struggle. It's always great therefore when you get an album full of songs that are designed to be sung by a congregation of whatever age, are pitched for such a purpose, and whose strength lies in their melodies not their arrangements. This is one such album. Okay, so it's a little bit variable. The bonus track for instance, “Every Second” features a children's choir, an exception which does not sit with the rest of the album. For the most part, the songs are uptempo and joyful, “The Heaven's Declare” being an excellent and probably the best example but others worthy of note are “Lean on the Lord” and “Together as One”. Trevor is the composer of these songs but not does not perform on the album – vocal duties are spread amongst three singers and the band is made of professional session musicians – Dan Wheeler on guitar being the most notable. The singers do a decent, if unremarkable job, but this sums up the whole album. It's an album of worship, not performance. It doesn't need great singers to make it work, which means it will work with people who aren't great singers – i.e. the majority of us. Lyrically it's pretty basic, but then it's all age worship so doesn't need to be anything complicated. Mind you, all ages usually means parents and pre-teens and they are the groups that will probably get the most out of this. 7/10 Robin Thompson. (December 2011)
THE TRIBE : Take Back the Beat. (Alliance : 1902212)
So, with a brand new line up, THE TRIBE - as they are now known - explode back onto the scene with "Take Back the Beat". The whole album is a mix of hip hop and funky dance tunes, as well as the obligatory ballad "Turn Around". This track rates as high as anything UK popsters Westlife or A1 have done and could really do well, chart wise, given the right push. The hip hop tracks are my favourite - showing that I'm not such an old man after all. "God Squad" and "Generation Rising" are two prime examples of this type of music at it's best, complete with attack minded vocals and great rhythms. On the other hand, I can't say that I'm such a fan of the funkier tunes. "Only You" and "God Made Me Funky" just don't seem to work as well. The title track is more of the biting sound we've come to know the Tribe for over the years and "Fit to Burst" is another. It's still music with a message for the youth of today and, in that quota, they've done it again. However, revisiting the classic "Jumping in the House of God" was a mistake - big time. Forget it people, the new version is, as my daughter would say, "pants". 8/10. (September 2001)
TRIP LEE : 20/20. (Infinity/Reach Records)
Trip Lee is a Philadelphia based Christian hip-hop artist who has recorded independently as well as being a founding member of the Reach Records collective 116 Clique. His first solo album was released in 2006 with this CD 20/20 being released in May 08 & performing very well in the i-Tunes music store. Initial impressions were positive with a very slick cover & innovative futuristic graphics. The intro "20/20" & the following "Superstar" reminded me very much of BandWithNoName in style with lots of pumping bass & synth backing. The remaining 13 tracks combine some more hardcore tunes such as "Behold The Spirit" with a few subtle numbers like "Cling To You". On the whole this CD is very typical of the genre which I personally find very hard to relate to in terms of the musical style and keeping up with the lyrics are trying to convey - the 2 elements sometimes just don't mix. You cannot fault the recording quality and die-hard hip-hop fans will probably lap this one up, but for the rest of us appeal will be very limited. 4/10 Simon Redfern (February 2009)
TRIUMPHANT : Thankful. (Stow Town : STR3185)
Triumphant is the face of quality Gospel Music, Christian integrity, family values, friendship and dedication. The group has been that way since their beginnings in 2003, when the four friends first walked out on a stage in Tennessee as a headlining talent. Each current Triumphant group member was there in that defining moment, and has continued together ever since. This new album pulls together all that experience and superb vocal quality, and presents eleven new songs. Although all the voices are great, I couldn’t help but point out the baritone that is, Scotty Inman. How anyone can reach those notes is beyond me. The songs are fairly easy listening, as with the opening “We Welcome Your Holy Spirit.” Following that, comes “Chain Breaker.” Whether your personal chains are chains of hurt or loss, God can break you free. Throughout the track listing, I couldn’t help but think that this was an album of encouragement. God is constant, through every trial. He’s always loving, and always watching – that’s the message behind “God Will Always Be God.” Instrumentally, the musicians are of top quality and include renowned pianist Gordon Mote and Joel Key. The latter provides some excellent banjo playing on the foot tapping ditty “Thankful, So Thankful.” A couple of the ballads left me a little cold, but on the whole, this is a really good southern gospel album. 8/10. (October 2017)
TROY DONOCKLEY : The Pursuit of Illusion. (ICC : LNTNCD1)
Blending English, classical and Irish Folk traditions, this release showcases the work of Troy Donockley who has built up a reputation as both Composer/Arranger and Musician/Performer, and as a leading virtuoso of the Uilleann Pipes. As well as his work with Iona, Troy's orchestral work has been performed in such venues as the Royal Festival Hall and the Glasgow Concert Hall with soloists such as Moya Brennan and Lesley Garrett. So with a big build up like that, you know that I've very little to say about the album. I'm sorry, I just don't understand it. The press release says that music from this album has already been used in Film/TV all over the world and I'm not surprised at all. Indeed, it sounds like a collection of incidental music that's been culled from TV/film projects rather than the other way round. The sound of the ten and a half minute "Floating world" does sound "floaty" but that's about all I can say. Monotonous sounds, ethereal movements and an eighteen minute finale fail to raise this from being nothing more than a mysterious release that should send even the most avid listener into a state of unconsciousness. 1/10. (January 2005)
TROY DONOCKLEY & DAVE BAINBRIDGE. : From Silence. (Open Sky Records, VPDVD15)
Some of you may recognise Troy and Dave as being members of "Iona", and you may also know that they are not averse to producing solo projects. This DVD is a particularly interesting one - a totally improvised performance recorded live in Lincoln Cathedral in October 2004. Troy provides the melodic elements to the composition, playing a variety of whistles, Uillean Pipes and acoustic guitar which intereave neatly with Dave's chordal and rhythmic underpinning. The clever use of loops and fat orchestral sounds ensure a lush and vast soundscape which reverberates wonderfully within the structure of the building. The binaural recording technique captures these nuances beautifully and there is a real sense of concord within the whole performance. It is a shame that the picture quality doesn't quite match that of the sound, but I found that I didn't seem to notice the visual shortcomings after a while, such is its power both musically and spiritually. I could also mention the numerous typographic errors on the sleeve but these really don't seem to matter in the end. All in all something that is original and unique and a real gem amongst all the usual stuff. I just hope that non-musicians can appreciate it as much as I did. 9/10 Robin Thompson. (April 2006)
TRUCE : TheRefuge. (Integrity : NC002)
This is the second in the series from the Nicky Cruz Outreach and features 18 songs, aimed at young people. Like it's predecessor, many of the songs are in the popular style of Eminem, and the quality is top drawer. The messages within the songs are all evangelistic and offer hope to the lost youth at which they are aimed. "Let's Ride" says that "we've got the green light to save lives tonight", and it's a cry to do just that. No matter who you are or what you've done, Jesus can break your shackles and release you in new life - so say the words of "Come n' Get Him". There's one or two smoother RnB numbers slipped in for good measure, and the female vocalist on "Breathe on Me" is definitely classy. Judging by the two releases I've heard, this music will dig deep into the souls of young people. 8/10. (January 2007)
TRUE VIBE : True Vibe. (Essential : MPCD40504).
With a heavy emphasis on vocals and dance, and led by one of the founding members of the multi-platinum supergroup 98, Jonathan Lippmann, True Vibe are the latest US boy band to hit the scene. Already going down a storm in their home country, with numerous high profile TV appearances, True Vibe present their debut self titled album. Full of great rhythms, the sound is very much in the style of the Backstreet Boys and Plus One. "Now & Forever" wouldn't be lost in any match against the current secular equivalents and it's a song that I've played over Andover again. "Jump, Jump, Jump" is a real dancey number while "Sweet Jesus" lowers the tempo. "You Are the Way" has a simple message but the harmonies are just simply first class. Of the rest, I guess, "Never Again" is the best but the acappella "I Live For You" strikes home, too. 9/10. (July 2001, Album of the Month)
TRUE WORSHIPPERS : All Things New. (Elevation : ELE1665D)
Now, I'm not sure if I missed this release first time round but this album was recorded live in Jakarta, back in November 2007. It also seems to have been previously released the following year but, Elevation are currently promoting it once again, and I'm glad they have. I've not heard a sound like for some time. It's got a definite American leaning to it's style of praise and worship, but not in a Gaither sort of way. In the purest sense of the word it's pop worship, with the choir and congregation singing as one. The theme of the album seems to be the celebration of Christ and that comes across strongly throughout the track listing. 'Jesus' and 'Celebrate Your love' are particularly strong openers, which are then followed by a smooth ballad, 'All That's Within Me'. 'Redeemer King, Come & worship' is a really strong song and the voices lift you into a place of worship. 'Unto God Be The Glory' is both powerful and gentle at the same time, and made me realise just how much I was enjoying this collection of songs. It such a joy to have something different, with all due respect, to Spring Harvest and the like. There again, I'm not sure that it will appeal to the younger audience. The title track sings about redemption and being set free. It's an old chestnut of a theme, but, once again, the feeling of the song gives you such a lift. Sidney Mohede is the worship leader, but he is ably supported by the rest of the choir. No doubt a bout it, this is a hit, in my book. 9/10 (September 2011)
TRUE WORSHIPPERS : Captivated. (Elevation : ELE1664D)
In last month's NFN Geoff Howlett positively reviewed the True Worshippers 'All things new' re-release from 2007. Having seen and heard this further CD/DVD re-release (also from 2007) I can only agree with Geoff's impressions. In the DVD 'extras' worship leader Sidney Mohede modestly says that True Worshippers are 'not really a band' - but I have to say that they are a better 'band' than I have heard on many ccm releases! Recorded where they are based in Jakarta, Indonesia, what we have in this live recording are well written 'pop worship' songs, well produced, and well delivered to a large audience as (mostly) 'high energy' contemporary worship. Sidney writes/co-writes most of the songs, has an excellent voice, and is supported by 10 backing singers (mostly singing in unison) who occasionally take over lead vocals. Sound quality is excellent - in fact the DVD is one of the best I have heard - including the fact that careful mixing and/or overdubbing means that all vocals (incidentally in perfect non-accented English) can be clearly followed. The insert also includes full printed lyrics, and the title is displayed on the DVD as each song begins. The standout tracks for me are the title track 'Captivated', 'Great and mighty' and 'This is my life' which is very ably delivered by one of the backing vocalists. Downsides? Performance-wise, on one or two tracks there are some vocal tuning problems, and towards the end I sense the vocals starting to sound a bit tired. With everything else so professionally done however, the main surprise is that the (4:3 aspect ratio) dvd picture definition isn't quite sharp, so some might find it slightly tiring to watch. A well recommended release however. 9/10 Dave Deeks. (October 2011)
TRUE WORSHIPPERS : God Is Our Victory. (Elevation : ELE 1666D)
This is a live worship concert, recorded back in 2009 in Jakarta, and this particular version of the CD comes with a DVD thrown in of the same concert. This is a well produced CD, and the performance from the band is very polished, in fact if I hadn't seen the DVD, I would have harboured suspicions that overdubbing played a major part in it's recording, especially seeing as there were about twenty people onstage from what I could count. I wasn't familiar with any of the tracks on here, but I found them all to be quite enjoyable to listen to, mostly guitar led rock music, laced with power chords, just my kind of style in fact. The only thing I noticed is that the odd line here and there doesn't sound quite right, but these are all Asian musicians, so I guess it's a translation thing. For example the first song refers to Jesus as "My Majesty" which seemed to be an odd way of putting it, still this is a minor thing and doesn't detract at all from what's going on, which is a load of God's people enjoying themselves worshipping Him. I found that this album grew on me more after a couple of plays, it's worth listening to, and if you decide to go for it, I'd definitely recommend getting hold of the version with the DVD included. 9/10 Andy Sayner. (February 2012)
TRUE WORSHIPPERS : Glory to glory. (Elevation : ELE1668D)
A few months ago I positively reviewed the True Worshippers 'Captivated' live cd/dvd re-release from 2007, covering a 2007 worship concert. 'Glory to Glory' is a 2010 release, with the cd featuring recordings taken from a range of performances between 2005 to 2010 but the dvd this time featuring only four – i.e. the ones from 2010. True Worshippers' worship leader Sidney Mohede is again in fine voice, with the band continuing their obviously well-developed formula of delivering well written and produced 'pop worship' songs, incorporating 10 or so vocalists. Three songs from 'Captivated' are also on this release – although two of them are different versions. My favourite track is 'You are my Father' which begins quietly and builds – a 2010 recording, therefore on both the cd and dvd. Other standout tracks for me are 'Be glorified' (cd and dvd) and 'Captivated' (cd only) – the latter being a slower version than on the earlier release. The medium-paced title track 'Glory to glory' features a brilliant guitar break, but is spoiled by drums that sometimes 'drag' just behind the beat, and on one or two tracks there are, as with the earlier release, some minor vocal tuning problems. More positive similarities with the earlier 'Captivated' release are that sound quality on the cd is pretty good but even better on the dvd, all the song words can be clearly followed, the insert includes full printed lyrics, and on the dvd each song title is displayed as it begins. Strangely however the dvd picture definition again isn't quite sharp – although this time the picture is widescreen, unlike the earlier 4:3. Despite some minor weaknesses therefore, another recommendation for True Worshippers. 8/10 Dave Deeks. (February 2012)
TUESDAY'S CHILD : The More Things Change. (Benson/Word : 8441844522).
Previously both solo artists, Linda Elias and Lesley Glassford met over a dinner at a local restauraunt with their husbands and Benson A&R director Bill Baumgart. Their first release in 1995 met with a good response and this follow up looks set to propel them higher. Track 1, "I'm Alive" is such a great declaration of Jesus in their lives, that it's hard not to immediately replay the same song. "The Prodigal Daughter" is a strong pop song but the powerful string arrangement on "A Scarlet Thread..." is, literally, awesome. The voices of these two ladies were just meant to be together. "Hopefully, Linda & I will be able to minister to women who feel they're out there all alone", says Lesley. Well, this record is not just for the female sex, and "Love Can Take Us There" goes to prove that Christ is for everyone, no matter who you are. Beautifully crafted pop song that is a sure hit for CCM radio. Also included is the old Cyndi Lauper song "True Colours", and "Soul To Keep", a simple prayer that shows the depth of the songwriting overall. 8/10. (April 1998)
TURN OFF THE STARS : Turn off the Stars. (Credential : CLD40376)
Toronto's Turn Off The Stars began a few years ago at Western University in London, Ontario. Lead singer, Mike Walker and his brother, guitarist Andrew met bassist John Dawes while performing an acoustic show on campus. With the later addition of drummer Max Kennedy, Turn off the Stars was born. I liked the initial driving rhythms of the first track, "Wasn't Ready" and had decided by "Falling into You", that here was a band sounding like a cross between Embrace and Keane. What I didn't like a bout the sound was the messy production. At times, there seemed to be too many instruments battling for their own space and, sometimes, the vocals were lost. "30 Days" is a prime example of this, and consequently, a lot of the tracks passion is lost. It's not an evangelistic album, by any means, but there are the usual nods of gratitude in the direction of God in the band member's lives. I didn't find the album too exciting but, then, it wasn't awful either. 6/10. (February 2007)
THE TURNING : Learning to Lose. (RKT/Fierce! : RKT0492)
The Turning formed in Chattanooga, five years ago when members Matt Warren, Jeremy Little and Jeff Goff began playing and writing music in each other's garages. Michael W Smith is quoted as saying that "these songs are infectious", so I was keen to slip the Cd into my player. My first impression was, of this guitar driven rock, that the sound could have been one of a number of US bands that I've heard this year. It may be a sign of old age, that too many bands sound alike. Songs like "Never Again", "Home to You" and "Out of My Hands" are competently performed, but none of them are anything to get excited about. On "Through All the Earth", the band do show that they can write and play with the best. It's a rock praise number that matches highly with anything that the likes of Hillsong have produced. The guitar sound is prominent throughout, but "Lift You down" has a slightly different sound. It's a lot lighter to anything else and contains some nice harmonies. Sadly, that's about all I can say in favour of The Turning. They're nothing out of the ordinary, and I see nothing to make them stand out from the crowd. 5/10. (December 2006)
THE 29th CHAPTER : Louder. (Fierce! : OTRCD5142)
The 2008 Urban Music Award winners for BestGospel Act, return with a 7 track EP that easily sits alongside mainstream acts of similar genre. 'Radio' is true to it's name. It's radio friendly by todays standards and worthy of a place on any MTV channel. There's some Balkan beats on 'Get Strong', a song about rising from the chains of your old life and breaking free. Praise is given to God for His love on 'So Good', while 'Man up' is a message to teenagers who have lost their way and think of themselves of having no hope. The Hip Hop obsession with status, ego and violence gets a roasting in 'Fallback', and it will hit straight at the heart. There might only be seven tracks, but the 29th Chapter hit hard. 8/10 (December 2009)
TWILA PARIS : Greatest Hits. (Sparrow : SPD51825)
Hailed as the 'definitive collection', this album chronicles some of the highlights of Twila Paris' ministry of the last 20 years. She's been honoured with 5 Dove Awards, 3 times the Female Vocalist of the Year, 17 albums, 32 No.1 singles and over 2 million units in sales to her credit. As well as some of her best known songs, there are also 3 new tunes on this release but, in all honesty, it's the former that shine. First up is the triumphant worship of "God Is In Control". Great pop song, sung with the great belief that God IS in control of her life. "We Bow Down" is a pleasant, easy going number but "Not Afraid Anymore" stands head and shoulders above anything else. From her 1996 "Where I Stand" album, I'd forgotten just how good this sounds. Ballads of note include "The Time Is Now" and "Lamb of God" both delivered with great strength and heartfelt worship. Even as late on the track listing as 17, "Destiny" will renew a flagging spirit with it's God filled honesty. A good album for your collection. 8/10. (December 2001)
TWILA PARIS : Small Sacrifice. (Kingsway : KMCD2850)
If you like your music to be soft pop, and easy listening, then a Twila Paris album or two may well be in your collection. She's been recording the same type of music for years and continues to have a loyal fan base. She writes all the songs herself, and the lyrics are downright, straight down the middle Christian orientated. 'We Know Love' and 'I Can Do All Things' are both about God's love in our lives, and Twila's vocals, although not strong, are very engaging. Mid-album, there are two very simple songs of praise and worship. 'Lord I Need You' and 'Live to Praise' would sit very nicely on any radio station playlist. 'You are A Great God' and 'Alleluia' close the track listing. They are both quite repetitive, yet, somehow highly appealing. One negative point goes to Kingsway for the unreadable sleeve notes. For all I know, they could have been written in Chinese. 7/10. (August 2008) Forward to the next archive
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