Emerging recording artist SOMMER FLOYD recently released her highly anticipated debut CD, Ray of Light. Floyd’s love of the great outdoors served as inspiration for a number of other songs on the project, including the upbeat anthem, “Let It Rain,” the gently rocking, “Lighthouse,” and slow-burning “Live Like Jesus.” She unveils her vulnerable heart in the lovely, yet achingly poignant, “Stronger,” a song she wrote for a friend battling leukemia. “I had just gotten off the phone with her husband,” she muses. “She had gone to the emergency room, thinking it was just allergies. I cried out to God, wondering why bad things happen to good people. I still don’t have the answers to that question, but I know that the love of God is sufficient for all our needs. And when life gets harder, God makes us stronger. He has destined us to overcome, even when it doesn’t look like it from the world’s perspective.”
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Music for Mike Lane started out as a hobby. From being a teenager he always had a guitar in his hand and was singing. During time spent in Hong Kong, he became part of a Chinese four piece band and that was it, he was hooked! On his return to England he continued to play and sing at various shows that his friends had asked him to do. Finally Mike turned professional in the 1980s and now has achieved amazing success not only in the UK but worldwide!
His talent and hard work has resulted in concert bookings all over the world. His music can be requested and played on most mainstream radio stations and is available for download on iTunes, Reverbnation and other internet sites and shops.
Mike is also a regular on various country charts throughout the world and his new songs are receiving critical acclaim in Nashville, Ohio, Kentucky, New Zealand, Australia, Japan and Europe plus UK.
Mike is now changing direction to bring his unique country style to gospel music. He has a facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/mikelanegospelmusic/) and is promoting his Angel on My Shoulder Show. Helping Mike with publicity is Greg Diwell, who would be interested in hearing from churches or people who know of churches that would like to stage this show for a nominal fee or just a collection.
Contact Greg on 01405 760314 mobile 07941147139 email firstname.lastname@example.org
#WORSHIP : Our God. (ELECD2101D)
The popular #Worship series returns with more songs for the church which features current and contemporary songs of worship, written by some of the finest writers in the world today. There’s a nice mix of new and more familiar songs on show, with “God of Wonders” kicking things off. There’s a rather rough vocal sound to “Holy is the Lord”, but it works well with just a mandolin backing. “Our God” gets a top rating from me, as it’s such a powerful version. The female vocals are top notch and the thrashing guitars help to get the message across that “Our God is Greater.” In similar style, “You Never Let Go” has a prevailing sound that just hits the right note. Of the newer songs, the quieter “Would You Restore”, written by Steve Fortunato is really good. On both “The Power of the Cross” and “Amazing Grace” vocalists are at the forefront of the songs, as just piano is used for accompaniment. I thought that the former worked well, but I wasn’t too sure about the latter. It seemed to lack any real meaning. Of the others, “Because of the Cross” deserves a mention. The female vocalist reminded me of Leigh Nash, and consequently the sound came over in a Sixpence None the Richer sort of way. Some nice choices of tracks here, and well worth a listen. 7/10.
JEAN WATSON : Wonder. (Shadowlands Music)
My introduction to Jean Watson’s music came when I positively reviewed her ‘Christmas … not the way it seems’ album for NFN back in 2014. Michigan-based but with strong connections with Ireland, this ten track album finds Jean’s lovely voice set against the usual excellent Celtic-influenced contemporary arrangements. Here however her Irish links are more strongly represented in the form of three Irish style folk instrumentals featuring her very capable violin playing. I have to say that this juxtaposition doesn’t really work for me – the upbeat ‘Cooley’s Reel’ for instance comes as a bit much of a contrast(!) and the high speed ‘Czardas’ which follows the beautifully delivered ‘It is well’ completely jars the senses! It is difficult to select one standout track – I found ‘Wonder’, ‘Blessed be your name’, Restless’ and (the already mentioned) ‘It is well’ equally enjoyable. ‘Everything can change’ from Jean’s 2009 album of that name is repeated here in the form of a piano and voice version that suffers from the lack of ‘build’ of the original. ‘Amazing grace’ brings nothing new to that well-loved hymn. I listened in CD quality via ‘Tidal’ and the sound really is very good – including lovely deep bass available for those whose speakers can reproduce it. A bit of a mixed bag, then. 7/10. Dave Deeks
Recent ASCAP 2016 Christian Songwriter of the Year award recipient MATTHEW WEST has announced the launch of Story House Collective, a new venture inspired by his desire to translate his and others’ stories into impactful experiences.
“Story House Collective has been on my heart for a while, and I am so excited to see it come to fruition,” Matthew West shares. “It’s a vision that represents the core of everything I do. I’m passionate about seeing people’s stories impact lives, and I want to utilize the resources and platform I’ve been given to pave the way for even more stories to be told and lives changed for the Kingdom of God for years to come.”
The multifaceted company will house a variety of media and ministry entities, including West’s nonprofit ministry, popwe. The mission of popwe is to nurture and encourage people in telling their stories of life change, hope and redemption all for the glory of God.
MARIA GILPIN : Giving It All. (www.7coremusic.co.uk)
Maria Gilpin is a talented singer songwriter from Portadown, Northern Ireland, and leads worship alongside her husband Mark at Portadown Elim Church. Drawing influences from artists such as The Civil Wars, Foy Vance and The Lumineers they travel from place to place with their music, hoping that people can relate to the songs they sing. Maria says; “Through our music we hope and pray that people will find peace in Jesus and see that they aren’t in their journey alone.” This 5 track EP gives a taste of what to expect from a live performance, kicking off with the title track. It’s a piano led song that tells of surrendering all to Jesus to find a new life. “You Give Life” follows that theme with a light, shuffling rhythm. You can hear real feeling in Maria’s voice during this song, which is accompanied by some nice acoustic guitar sounds. On Lead My Way”, she attacks the song vocally, and her delivery reminded me of classic Alanis Morrisette tones. Plodding on at pedestrian pace is “Fashioned By”, my least favourite track. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but I found the song to be less appealing than the rest. Finally, the closing “Overflow” sees Maria tackling a big, powerful ballad, and she comes out on top. Vocally perfect, as she sings “Take my heart and let it overflow,” it’s a good end to a nice recording. 7/10.