Storytellers Go On Tour

Tom Read

Tom Read

BIGCHURCHLIVE are excited to bring together three incredible artists for the Storytellers national Tour this March.

Shane Claiborne, Tom Read and Oliver Pengilley join forces for an evening of storytelling, challenge, music and art.

Shane Claiborne is an activist, author and speaker, and one of the founding members of the The Simple Way community in Philadelphia, USA. Shane writes and travels extensively speaking about peacemaking, social justice and Jesus. His books are translated into more than 100 languages and inspire people all over the world.

Tom Read is a worship leader, song writer and recording artist. Born in the UK, Tom has lived most of his life in Hong Kong and worked for 12 years as the Worship Pastor of The Vine Church. In 2013 he returned to the UK to be part of the Worship Central team based at Holy Trinity Brompton in London.

Oliver Pengilley is a professional artist, widely known for his inspired paintings. His combination of artistic excellence and spiritual sensitivity enables him to capture and convey images that bring comfort and envisioning to many. Oliver has painted in many parts of the USA, Canada and Europe, painting during live music sessions, one-on-one training and running workshops.

With six dates all around the United Kingdom, and tickets for just £10, this tour is one not to be missed.

For more information and tickets go to

Our promo video can be watched here:

Tuesday 15th March – Edinburgh

Wednesday 16th March – Southsea (Portsmouth)

Thursday 17th March – Exeter

Friday 18th March – Belfast

Saturday 19th March – Bristol

Sunday 20th March – Leigh-On-Sea



Jools Holland and Ruby Turner and the Rhythm and Blues Orchestra. : Jools and Ruby. @rubyturnersoul @JoolsBand

JoolsRuby_PackshotJools Holland and Ruby Turner and the Rhythm and Blues Orchestra. : Jools and Ruby.   (EastWest : 825646862993)

I’m writing this just a few days shy of New Year and of course, it wouldn’t be New Year’s Eve without Jools Holland’s legendary Hootenanny. Regular viewers of the programme and/or “Later…with Jools Holland” will be familiar with his regular performances with Ruby Turner, one of Britain’s best, if not the best, female black gospel and soul singers. Jools and Ruby have been performing together for some time but this is their first collaborative recording and the expected elements are there, from Jools famous boogie-woogie piano playing to Ruby’s lush and rich vocals. Ruby takes American Black Gospel and re-invents it in a British style – less flamboyant and more disciplined and as a result, to my English ears at least, far more listenable and enjoyable. There are some strong gospel elements, from the opening track “Peace in the Valley” to the closer “Precious Lord”, but there are some plain blues numbers too, such as “Role out of this Hole” and “My Country Man”. I’m a particular fan of “This Train” both lyrically and musically, and the arrangement is particularly suited to the song (it sounds like a train speeding up and slowing down – not completely original but done very effectively in this instance). In short this is two excellent musicians at the top of their game producing some excellent music and that is always a good recipe for a winning album. 9/10   Robin Thompson.

Review Xtra – Various : Praise is Rising @elevationmusic

Keswick Praise is RisingVARIOUS : Praise is Rising.   (Elevation : ELE2119D)

Celebrating 140 years of Keswick Praise, this 2CD package is filled with 30 tracks that will have something for every listener. If you’ve attended the event over the years, then you’ll know the format is pretty straight forward. In some respects, the sound is a little old fashioned in its production, but I think that is part of its charm. There’s powerful and joyful renditions of “Hosanna”, “How Great is Our God”, Be Thou My Vision” and “10,000 Reasons,” The recording capturers the togetherness of the worship band and the congregation throughout, but possibly the best on “Open the Eyes of My Heart” and “How Great Thou Art.”. Although there are no singing credits given, I’m pretty sure that Stuart Townend features on various song. Of the others, the musicians and worship leaders do a fine job on the touching version of “Here I Am To Worship”. Less so on, the modern version of “To God Be the Glory”. The new tune takes a lot of the pomp from the original version, and that’s shame. Nevertheless, this is a really collection that I shall be playing again.   8/10.

Review Xtra – Airstar : Retrospect

AIRSTAR RetrospectAIRSTAR : Retrospect.   (

This is an album that kicks off screaming “summer” at you, from the infectious “Wake Up” onwards it demands to be listened either when the sun is shining or when you really wish it was. From there it’s a move into mid-tempo (as though the sun had just gone down and it was time for some reflection: e.g. “Neon”), before picking up the pace (and feel) from “Chromium” to the end. The album has a solid 90s pop feel to it: familiar sounding without actually cloning anyone: lush guitars, anthemic choruses et al – possibly the band it most reminded me of was Dodgy, although there are hints of Deacon Blue and Cast in there too. Lyrically it seems more “Boy meets Girl” than “Man meets God”, but that seems to fit the style well. The songs are well constructed (I gather they spent several years putting them together: a review of a demo from 2005 has some of the same songs on it) and pleasant enough, without being ground-breaking. A lush album, but possibly a few years too late (unless I’ve missed the 90s revival). Best track: “Chromium”. 7/10. Paul Ganney.

The Review Zone – Various : Summer’s Not Over

VARIOUS Summers Not OverVARIOUS : Summer’s Not Over.   (Free Sampler from

Free – what’s not to like? And the music’s actually good enough that if you’d paid quite a bit for it you’d not feel ripped off. Kicking off with the very summery “Beautiful Life” by Among The Thirsty and the Take That-esque David Dunn’s “Have Everything” the tone is set: it’s got a lot of modern boy-band feel to it with every chorus fixing itself into your head (you could image 5SOS, 1D or Little Mix doing most of these, with Take That or Robbie Williams picking off the rest). Exceptions are Citizens And Saints who are more 80s electronica, Kutless who are more 00s rock and Aaron Gillespie who is more Praise & Worship – all stand well in the album, though and there isn’t a duff track on it. Lyrically the sampler covers a lot of ground (as you’d expect) but is firmly in the faith camp. The sampler is free to download, but they are encouraging charitable giving to CURE in response – it’s well worth doing both. Best track (it’s almost unfair doing this with so many great artists on show): “Diamonds (feat Trevor From TFK)” by Manafest.   8/10. Paul Ganney

The Review Zone – Fiona Poulson : Stay @fionapoulson


Based in the UK, singer songwriter Fiona Poulson says; “My growing awareness of the main call on my life to write song and my passion for mission led to me step out into the uncertain but exciting world of worship leading wherever asked – increasingly prophetic worship – writing songs whenever I get the opportunity, and finally getting some songs recorded.” Let me say straight away that this is not your ordinary worship album. Listening, I got the impression that this is very much a concept album, with more than just a passing nod to the styles of Florence and the Machine and Gungor. “Liberty” is a strong opening number, with Fiona’s piano playing at the forefront of the song. “I Wait for You” is a quieter song, where she sings of Jesus. Fresh and bouncy are two words that describe “How Infinite”, celebrating God’s love. “Wonderful, this love that rescues us” – how simple, but so true! “Compelled By Love” shows a completely different side to Fiona’s singing. Gone are the sweet poppy sounds and in, come a “gnashing of teeth” vocal, which comes over very alien to the rest of the album. There’s an atmospheric sound to “Stay”, while “Feathers” returns to that more easy listening sound that I think suits her best. “Reigning Now” didn’t quite light the blue touch paper for me, but “Vast Ocean” really does convey that feeling of prophetic and spontaneous worship. It’s well produced and is a highlight of the album. Finally, Fiona ends with a folky rendition of one of my childhood favourite hymns “When A Knight Won His Spurs”. Keeping enough of the original tune, she adds her own twist and breathes into it, new life. Hats off to this lady for not producing just another, run of the mill, worship album. To get the most out of this release, you need time to sit and listen carefully.   8/10.

Grammy Nominations for RCA Inspiration Artists

Kirk Franklin


The nominations for the 58th Annual Grammy Awards brought great joy to the RCA Inspiration camp.   Israel Houghton & Newbreed received nominations in the Best Gospel Album (Covered: Alive In Asia” (Deluxe) and Best Gospel Performance/Song (“How Awesome Is Our God” featuring Yolanda Adams) categories. Multiple GRAMMY winner Kirk Franklin and newcomer Travis Greene are recognized in the Best Gospel Performance/Song category for “Wanna Be Happy?” and “Intentional”. “We’re extremely proud of our GRAMMY nominees,” said RCA Inspiration’s General Manager, Geo Bivins. “There’s a lot of great gospel music that came out this year and we congratulate Kirk, Israel and Travis on this very special achievement.”