March 2012                    Vol. 21.5

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Former ‘Neighbours’ actor Mark Stevens (aka “Nick Page”) who starred in the show at its peak in the 1980s and worked alongside well known names such as Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan; no longer lives the sex and drugs lifestyle he once battled with and is better known today as a musician about to release his first album.

“To Be With You” is a collection of songs, which reflect the dramatic change in his life from those former days. The inspiration behind this album is the question, ‘Why am I on this earth?’. This question is one that constantly resounds in so many lives and Mark explores through his writing on this exciting new album.

Mark, who openly admits that the lifestyle that came with his original career in the entertainment industry was full of challenges and temptations such as drugs, also explains that because of this period in his life and the journey he has been on since, meant he was able to write personal and authentic songs that address key life issues through music. This unique album is an intimate and eclectic expression that has been borne from a conviction of leaving the old behind on a daily basis.

A must have, Mark’s first ever solo album is a collection of great songs from an experienced artist and will both inspire and touch the listener’s heart as Mark shares his personal journey.


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The Happening

Kingsway are to release the various artists project 'Faith, Hope & Lullabies: Sing Me To Sleep', in April. The compilation will feature lullabies and worship songs from such artists as Steven Curtis Chapman, Michael Card, Nichole Nordeman, Christy Nockels, Matthew West and Twila Paris.

GORDON GILTRAP has joined forces with lyricist Rev Martin Green and singer Carol Lee Sampson to record an album of contemporary hymns. 'Echoes Of Heaven' is released by BigWeb Entertainment. Carol achieved considerable popularity as a worship leader in the '90s as half of the Colin And Carol Owen ministry duo.

The latest CD compilation in Kingsway's long running 'The Best. . . Ever' series is released on 27th March. 'The Best Celtic Worship Album In The World. . . Ever!' features 50 recordings from such acts as Robin Mark, Joanne Hogg, Eoghan Heaslip, Kathryn Scott and the Rend Collective Experiment.

Last month THE STEELS were in the studio demoing a whole album’s worth of new material. You can hear lots of the new songs on the forthcoming tour as the band work towards recording an album later this year. The Steels took their video camera and filmed a little studio diary for your enjoyment. You can see more videos like this by subscribing to The Steels Tube.

‘Kingdom Victory – Live’ is the brand new album from BISHOP IONA LOCKE, produced by Damien Sneed.

Blacksmoke Films Present the DVD “Church Girl” – the Hit stage play by Angela Barrow Dunlap. Emily Franklin is a pastor’s daughter who is lured away from spiritual and virtuous lessons she has been taught since childhood. She still goes to church ever Sunday but it’s what she does Monday through Saturday that would shock the congregation. Featuring Anela Winbush, Robin Givens and Karen Clark-Sheard, this film is available from online stores.

March sees IAN YATES and band continue on the Good News Tour. Through to April the band will be leading worship at various churches and events. Ian personally invites everyone to join them FREE for what are going to be “amazing nights of celebration, worship and encounter.” 2012 will also see the release of some new singles and a brand new album.

Popular speaker and first-time published author DAWN JONES has found herself topping a list that includes such superstar peers as Dale Carnegie, Dave Ramsey and Stephen Covey with her new release, Top 7 Personality Challenges: Successful Communication Secrets for Differing Personality Types, which recently hit No. 1 on the iTunes Top 100 Business Audiobooks chart. Top 7 Personality Challenges, which was released in January, is published by Made for Success.

A missional force. A musical vanguard. An authentic voice. These are just a few phrases that characterize the energy, musicality and compelling artistry flowing from one of today’s most beloved worship bands – STARFIELD. With the release of their new album, The Kingdom, this award-winning brotherhood is aiming straight for the soul once again, confirming why the accolades accompanying their career to date are so well deserved. Starfield – No Ceilings, No Walls. About their new independence as a band, the front man says “Our label was great to us, and we’re grateful. Artistically though, there is something very cool about knowing you don’t have any ceiling. There is a freedom of expression that comes with being independent, and it has affected our songwriting.” Writing songs on their own terms, and responding to the One who shapes their destiny as a band, Starfield has given yet another gift to the humble heart intent on pursuing God.

‘Identity’ is the brand new album from JAMES FORTUNE & FIYA. Guests on the recording include LeAndria Johnson, Zacardi Cortez, Kim Burrell, and Fred Hammond. Available online or in stores, the album includes the smash single ‘Still Able’.

Nashville-based film company City of Peace Films and indie record label City of Peace Media have received two Dove Award nominations in the Short Form Music Video of the Year category with "As For Me And My House" by John Waller and "A Thousand Generations" by Sean Spicer with Tilly Cryar. Dustin Marcellino directed and Yochanan Marcellino produced both videos for City of Peace Films and City of Peace Media. Waller's "As For Me and My House" video is a YouTube favorite, with more than 350,000 views. The song, the title track from his third album, is featured on the Top 10 Courageous movie soundtrack. Waller also wrote and performed the theme song featured in the movie Fireproof, entitled "While I'm Waiting." Spicer's "A Thousand Generations" is featured on his current CD, Olive Tree, which was named Best Instrumental Album of the Year at the 2011 Covenant Awards, presented annually by the Gospel Music Association of Canada.


The epic soundtrack to the Psalms, gifted composer Steven Faux introduces a beautiful musical and visual journey in the language of feature film. Steven recently composed the music to the hit BBC series Earthflight and has an impressive CV including top film and television projects. This CD and DVD package mixes short films on a cinematic scale with breathtaking orchestral arrangements, drawing the listener into a world of reflection and awe…..Following her incredibly powerful debut release Those Who Dream, Kristene DiMarco (formerly Mueller) returns with a heartfelt follow up, “Safe Place”, featuring stunning vocals and acoustic melodies, and words full of truth and the beauty of God. Kristene is a Jesus Culture worship leader and was recently featured on their latest release Awakening: Live from Chicago….. Worship Anthems 2012 is the newest instalment in this popular series features over 30 of the most powerful live worship recordings around. 2012’s double CD collection expands its breadth to include recordings from the top UK events as well as international highlights from Jesus Culture, True Worshippers and Vineyard Music….. Piano Moods is the second in this new series of high-quality instrumental music, featuring beautiful arrangements behind piano melodies. Perfect background music for reflection and meditation.


Best known as the face of ‘Songs Of Praise’ and the voice of Premier radio program ‘Hearts And Hymns,’ where she has reached the 600th episode, Pam Rhodes is a journalist, presenter, writer and speaker cherished by many. Kingsway is proud to announce the release of a compilation of her favourite hymns titled ‘Hearts and Hymns’. Containing thirty tracks spread over two CDs, each song on the compilation was personally selected by Pam herself. Celebrating her 25th anniversary of presenting Songs Of Praise, Pam has seen at first hand countless examples of the power of a song to draw an individual - and their community - closer to God. This double album is full of worship songs that can do just that.


25 year old Andy Cherry, songwriter and worship leader, delivers thoughtful, complex arrangements stitched together with roots and a pinch of British rock, on ‘Nothing Left to Fear’. Lyrically, Cherry challenges commonly held assumptions about God, urging listeners to open up and be bold enough to ask God the tough questions and believe that he has the shoulders to bear those questions…..Fireflight returns with their most explosive and personal album to date entitled Now. The fourth studio release contains the signature aggressive rock that Fireflight is known for with some new elements. Including the singles 'Stay Close', 'He Weeps' and 'Keeping Me Alive', the album theme is an urgent call to action to make a difference in your life and others Now…..’Sound of the Broken’ is the first studio release from Jeremy Horn, worship leader at Christ the Rock Church in Memphis, Tennessee. With an engaging blend of up-tempo, energetic pop and intimate worshipful moments, Jeremy never fails to be authentic in sharing the message of hope in the midst of broken people…..The latest release from the artist who first came to prominence with the song 'Grace Like Rain'. How To Be Loved is Todd Agnew's newest project and his 6th studio recording. Produced by Paul Ebersold (Skillet, 3 Doors Down), How to Be Loved offers a pop inspired collection of songs like 'God Undefeatable', 'The One You Want', and 'There's Coming A Day'…..Robin Good And His Not So Merry Men is a Lesson in Handling Hurt. There's no hurt too big for God! Robin Good has a mission - fundraising from the rich and giving to the poor! But when a greedy Prince starts stealing the townspeople's hams, donations are down and Robin's band of friends desert him to give robbing a try. Can Robin overcome his hurt, show his friends what's right and restore the townspeople's hope? This is the latest title from Veggie Tales.

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Gig Guide

The NFN Gig Guide is on a page of it's own.

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The Reviews Zone



LEIGH NASH : Hymns & Sacred Songs. (Kingsway : KWCD3263)
I guess that Leigh Nash will always be promoted as the voice behind Sixpence None the Richer. Even now, I still get requests to play ‘Kiss Me’ on the radio. But, Leigh has also followed a successful solo career, and this album is her latest release. Now, although the title suggested that the songs were a compilation of well known tunes, I really struggled to recognise a lot of them. Indeed, it was only when I scanned the sleeve credits (with a magnifying glass), that I realised the rich pedigree of the song writers. The opening ‘Saviour’, written by Dororthy A Thrupp, includes some nice, uncredited, banjo playing. It’s a prayer to Jesus, our Saviour. ‘Isaiah 55’ is a modern number, and it’s a super song of praise, with Leigh’s vocals soaring throughout. Nash has her own quirky style at times, and it’s at it’s best on the well known song, ‘The Power of the Cross’. The poppy ‘Give Myself To You’ is light and happy sounding, while Fanny Crosby’s ‘Blessed Redeemer’ is also given a breath of new life. The theme throughout the album is praise, and you couldn’t ask for more than Leigh’s rendition of Charles Wesley’s ‘Praise the Lord Who Reigns Above’. The chorus is infectious, and I’ll wager that as soon as you hear it, you can’t stop yourself singing along. For the second month in a row, I am so blessed to have been able to review a really wonderful album. 10/10.
JASON GRAY : A Way To See In The Dark. (Centricity Music : CM1159)
I had never heard of Jason Gray before this CD arrived in the post, and so I wasn't sure what to expect. What I found was a very impressive album. The style of music is a fairly up tempo rock/pop, mostly acoustic guitar led. The songs are full of lyrics that most people will be able to relate to, dealing with everyday issues, in an open and honest way. The outstanding song on here is "No Thief Like Fear" the title being fairly self explanatory. In fact the general fear and uncertainty of life in general is the main theme of the whole album, and the subject is dealt with quite sensitively. I liked every song on this CD, and I would recommend it to anyone. 10/10 Andy Sayner.
TREFOR JONES : The Psalms. (
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, uptempo 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
VARIOUS : WOW Hits 2012. (EMI 5099994808520)
Readers will be familiar with the 'WOW Hits' concept – an annual compilation of tracks from the ccm scene, in recent years being supplemented by video releases as well as 'WOW Christmas' and 'WOW number 1s' cds. This two cd release says it contains '30 of today's top Christian artists and hits' – there are in fact 33 tracks. With an evening set aside, I listened to all of them in one go. On this first run through the most obvious standout for me was Francesca Battistelli with her fresh and original 'This is the stuff'. I also picked out Casting Crowns with their 'Glorious Day' (an update of the hymn 'Living He loved me'), Britt Nicole's 'Hanging on' and Group 1 Crewe's 'Walking on the stars'. On further listening Brandon Heath's 'Your love' and Royal Tailor's 'Hold me together' also made a favourable impression. Overall however I felt a level of frustration and suspicion that talented artists were in many instances having their creativity compromised by over-standardised production. Where was the variety, originality, that these artists were capable of? So much of what I had listened to was formulaic, typically a quiet beginning with anguished initial vocal with a crack in the voice, a few long power guitar chords, then the drums come in, then it builds, drops back and then builds again to a no holds barred close – and mastered with the level wacked up into distortion so that almost the only discernible difference between the vocalists is that they are either male or female. Where was the upcoming Peter Case, Sarah Masen, Chris Eaton, Jars of Clay, or Smalltown Poets? – or Phatfish or Jon Foreman? Some high points then, but fewer than I would have liked. 5/10 Dave Deeks.
CD 1 opens with some downbeat piano yet uplifting vocals. The “goth elements” I’d heard about turned out to be more “Gothic” than “1980s”, and related more to some of the vocal chants in the background. Unless you’ve been hiding for the last twelve years (or are new to the scene) you’ll know how the band sounds. Suffice to say that the intricate arpeggiated musical patterns of “Come Find Me”, the driving guitars of “Let Me Feel You Shine”, the ‘grabs you and pulls you in’ of “Blessedness Of Everlasting Light’, the genius of “The Sequence”, the worship of “There Is A Sound” and the uplifting joy of “A Return” all show that this is a band leaving at the top of their game. Subtitled “A Requiem Mass in C (the Happiest of All Keys)” the lyrics do tend towards the liturgical (especially “God Have Mercy”) although I can’t see many Church choirs managing to tackle them successfully. The songs therefore follow a well-defined route thematically, but always with the underlying truth: no matter how close to the edge we may sail (and even over it) God can bring us back. The cover of Kris Kristofferson’s “Why Me?” sits OK here, but isn’t really as good as the one Cliff posted on “Small Corners”, although it does have more longing in it. “The Sequence” is just superb, comprising seven short tracks of which the Muse-like 1, 2 and 5 are brilliant. If the whole album just consisted of these seven tracks it’d be 10 out of 10, no problem. The others are very good, but just don’t quite live up to this standard with a couple of lone acoustic numbers particularly to blame. CD2 kicks off in joyful style, the country-rock tinged “I am a Seed” setting the tone that continues to the end, only dropping slightly for the final track. Brilliant. It’s a shame there’s none more to come from this band but at least they’ve finished with a flourish. Like leaving your best song to close the set, they’ve possibly left their best CD for the end. Best tracks: Sequence 1 and Sequence 2. 9/10 Paul Ganney.
Inside Out (DVD, Elevation)
Produced by TearFund, Evangelical Alliance and Livability, Inside Out is a six session Bible Study and Discussion course aimed at Christians/Churches wanting to explore where they fit with God’s mission to restore the world, and how to bring about transformation in their own communities. It features input from well-respected bible teachers such as J. John, Tom Wright and Elaine Storkey, among others, and is designed as a genuine series, with one study leading directly to the next through the use of “Outwork”, simple activities to be carried out between sessions. The sessions themselves are around an hour in length, and the DVD based activities include vox pops, short films, Bible based discussions, prayer and the week’s outwork. Some of the sessions offer a choice of activities, and additional material and support is available from the course website ( There are lots of resources around at the moment encouraging churches to think about their role in the local community, and Inside Out covers essentially the same ground, but the way it follows a single coherent narrative, with each study building on the previous ones, is very good, and I am certain that church groups of any size will find it to be of real value in laying the foundation for a change in their community focus. As always with these things, it will not suit everyone and those looking for something that offers more in the way of a personal challenge, or call to action, might be better served considering something like Simon Guillebaud’s More Than Conquerors series, for example. However, Inside Out is an excellent resource, offering a structured approach to what is a big and potentially difficult subject to really get to grips with, and the big advantage of the way it has been put together is that you do not require someone with prior knowledge or experience to lead the group, as everything needed is right there on the DVD. 8/10 David Cooper
DAN LYTH : The Fat Man And Baby Boy.
The date on the CD I was sent said “2007” and the web site says it was released in 2009, so I’m not sure where it’s been hiding until now but it was worth the wait. The style of the six tracks is very reminiscent of Fruup and the Divine Comedy in its structure, having orchestral overtones to the way its put together. There’s even a very interesting version of “Joy to the World”, with unusual harmonies and a harmonium for good measure. The Christmas theme that pervades the CD is more in the story-telling than the party-around-the-tree isn’t-snow-wonderful that you may be fearing, I’m glad to say. The quietness of “Mary, I Was Wrong” has a beauty all of its own – it tells of the calm before the storm, so to speak, a quiet reflection on the moment when God became Man and the world changed forever. The layering here reminded me of Sigur Ros (as did “Futaristic Chrismalistic”), with some Damien Rice thrown in for good measure. It’s a very accomplished CD, with folkie overtones (especially in the vocal harmonies) and I enjoyed it all, save perhaps “The Boar’s Head Carol”. Best track (and it wasn’t easy to single one out): “Mary, I Was Wrong”. 7/10 Paul Ganney.
BRYAN & KATIE TORWALT : Here On Earth. (Elevation / Jesus Culture Music : ELE1697D)
Building on the success of their involvement in leading worship at the US “Awakening” conference with Jesus Culture, this husband & wife duo release their debut album on the JC label. Their style is a little less stadium rock than Jesus Culture releases tend to be, but that’s not to say the tunes lack any vigour – quite the contrary! From the outset, it is quite clear why they did make an impact & why this release has attracted many positive comments / reviews to date. ‘Glorious’ begins the offering in fine style – a pretty lively track, mixing more than a hint of Coldplay with Katie’s melodic, slightly folky tones making a highly palatable combo. Bryan takes the lead on ‘Holy Spirit’ which is very laid back in comparison to ‘Glorious’, the impact of the song coming more from the heartfelt words with the vocal & musical arrangements bearing more than a passing resemblance to US group “The Longing”…a group which I’ve not heard for some years but an album which I was immediately hooked on. There’s a good mix of lively & relaxed tunes on the CD with the music being well played & produced throughout; blending well with some cracking passionate vocal solos & harmonies from the couple. All songs are original compositions & it’s evident that lyrics are from the heart which helps Here On Earth stand out from the crowd. This is further aided by the absence of performance from the worship offering which is fantastically refreshing. If I had to pick up on 1 thing, it would be a criticism that has been leveled at many a modern worship song in that some of the choruses can be a little repetitive - “I’m a Lover of Your Presence” is a classic example. I could imagine people in a corporate worship setting starting to wander off (mentally not physically)! That said though, this is one of the best & most original worship CDs I have listened to in some time & it certainly won’t be gathering dust on the shelves. 9/10 Simon Redfern
JESUS CULTURE : Awakening – Live from Chicago. (Elevation - ELE1741D)
Even if you are not familiar with the California based Jesus Culture church or band, you will likely have heard of Chris Quilala who is one of their worship leaders and songwriters and a significant contributor in both aspects to this cd. In almost all respects, the worship style resembles Hillsong et al so it doesn't really offer anything new stylistically – in fact it's exceedingly formulaic. However, the female vocals are of a quality often not heard in Christian Worship, being deeper and more robust, and reminiscent of secular rock vocalist, Lita Ford in style. This is very evident on songs such as “Break Every Chain” and “Perfect Love” . In my opinion, this makes it more worthy of consideration than a lot of other similar offerings, providing additional quality and allowing the album to be more appreciable musically. It's a double cd, so offers good value and whilst as previously stated, not entirely original in approach does seem to do what it does better than most. 7/10 Robin Thompson.
LIVE WORSHIP : Standing at the Cross. (Elevation : ELE1619D)
Recorded at St Thomas’ Church, Philadelphia, Sheffield, this is the second album in the Worshipping Churches series. Pete James is the worship leader, and he takes centre stage on the opening ‘We Have Come to Worship’. It’s the usual contemporary worship formula, but the song does get a little monotonous towards the end. ‘Our God Is Stronger’ is a brighter number that really draws out some collective worship, and I enjoyed this song immensely. ‘We Believe’ has a few rough edges to it’s recording but, perhaps, that’s what makes the song so endearing. I know people moan about having the same worship songs played to them over and over again, but it does take time for these new tunes to sink in. However, ‘Fill Me’ is so simple to pick up that I can’t see anyone not liking it for worship in the church. The closing songs are a little slower and quieter, as the Pete tries to bring those gathered, closer to God. I’m not sure that it really works, and the songs just close with a whimper, rather than glory. It’s a brave try from a buoyant church, and maybe the album deserves a few more plays. 6/10
VARIOUS : Let’s All Worship. (Kingsway : KWCD3276)
Part of Kingsway’s strength is in it’s mountain of back catalogue that it can pick and choose from, when putting together a compilation like this. Sub titled “The Very Best Worship Songs of All Time”, it must have been tough call to make it onto the two Cd’s. Despite a rather bland version of ‘Here I Am To Worship’, Tim Hughes features strongly, with both ‘Counting on Your Name’ and ‘Happy Day’ enjoying their place. Matt Redman delivers a powerful rendition of ‘Blessed Be Your Name’, as does Stuart Townend on ‘In Christ Alone’. I found ‘Manifesto’ by The City Harmonic to be more performance orientated and, indeed I scribbled down the phrase “Awful noise”, when I initially listened to it. As a personal favourite, Delirious? Treat listeners to the classic, ‘I Could Sing of Your Love Forever’. Of the girls featured, Cathy Burton’s ‘Mighty to Save’ is great, while Susan Ashton’s ‘The Heart of Worship’ is simply beautiful. I thought this when I first heard the version last year, and my opinion hasn’t changed one bit. Of the songs I didn’t know so well, then The Rend Collective’s ‘Exalt’ contains some wonderful brass sounds. 30 songs in all, and I’m sure there’s something for everyone within. 7/10.


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Prayer Table


25TH MARCH 2012

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