The Review Zone – MATT MAHER : ECHOES. (Essential : 83061-1078-2)

The accompanying press release tells that this album is totally born out of the recent loss of his father. If Matt’s records weren’t personal enough before, this record sees him lay his heart wide open. Piano led, most of the songs have a simple formula, but that could be the album’s undoing. I found that many of the tracks sounded very similar. “Awake My Soul” and “Faithfulness” are just two that spring to mind. This deluxe edition features extra tracks called “Echoes One” and “Echoes Two.” Personally, I found neither of them to be very memorable. “What A Friend” races along, declaring that Jesus is faithful and that He is our friend. The song is okay, but nothing special. In fact, that was my feeling about most of this release. Exceptions to the rule are “Won’t Let Me Down” and “The Cross Forever Speaks.” The former is a catchy, pop number that you will be singing for days. Meanwhile, the latter is quite majestic in its production. However, some media report that the song expresses the “subversiveness of Christianity’s most revered emblem. I didn’t read anything into the song myself but, perhaps, that’s something lacking in me. So, there’s some good tracks, and some not so good. Therefore, I can only give this album  6/10.

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Grammy Nominations for MercyMe

MercyMe scored two nods for the upcoming 60th Annual GRAMMY Awards. The recognition in the Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song category for “Even If” and Best Contemporary Christian Album category for LIFER totals five career nominations for the multi-platinum selling band. The GRAMMY awards will take place on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018, at Madison Square Garden in New York. “When you’re in a band for 23 years, your priorities tend to change a bit. Things that seemed important in the beginning just aren’t that important today. That being said, being nominated for a GRAMMY is NOT one of those things. It’s actually the opposite,” shares MercyMe’s Bart Millard. “The longer we’re in this industry, the more we’ve come to appreciate each moment along the way. We are incredibly grateful.”

New Recruit for Stryper

After months of speculation, multi-platinum rock band STRYPER is excited to announce the addition of iconic bass player Perry Richardson to the band lineup. Richardson joins original members Michael Sweet (vocals and guitar), Robert Sweet (drums) and Oz Fox (guitar), all of whom are currently in pre-production on their upcoming album due in 2018 from Frontiers Music SRL.

The bass player position became available following last year’s highly successful 30th Anniversary To Hell With The Devil Tour, which saw record crowds and featured Stryper’s largest sound and lighting production in nearly two decades. Perry becomes only the 3rd bass player to fill that slot in the band’s 34 year career.

Richardson is best-known as a founding member of the multi-platinum band Firehouse, who exploded onto the scene in the early 1990s with hit singles like “Don’t Treat Me Bad,” “Love of a Lifetime” and “When I Look Into Your Eyes.” In 1992, the band took home an American Music Award for Favorite Heavy Metal/Hard Rock New Artist, beating out both Nirvana and Alice In Chains. Since departing Firehouse, Richardson has remained active touring with various artists including Trace Adkins and Craig Morgan

 

The Review Zone – 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.

Surgery Joy for Natalie Grant

Multi-GRAMMY nominated and award-winning artist NATALIE GRANT has received positive news from her medical team following thyroid surgery on October 10th.

Grant underwent surgery last week to remove half of her thyroid after two tumors were found on an ultrasound. The results of the surgery and pathology report revealed papillary thyroid cancer in two nodules in the right lobe of the thyroid. The pathology report showed that the cancer was fully encapsulated in the nodules and had not travelled any further into the surrounding tissue or neighbouring lymph nodes. Her surgeon stated that by removing the right side of the thyroid, they removed all traces of cancer and no further treatment will be necessary.

Natalie Grant states, “My heart is overflowing with gratitude in every way. I’m forever grateful to Dr. Netterville and the entire medical team at Vanderbilt for the world-class care I received. I am humbled by the outpouring of support from around the world, which has strengthened my faith in more ways than I can express. God is so good. He was good before surgery, and He is good after. His goodness was never dependent on my outcome. I’m just grateful I’ll have many more years to sing about Him.”

 

Exciting New Single Release from Nyasha T

Nyasha T’s highly anticipated single Jump to the Beat is out FRIDAY 10TH NOVEMBER

“GOD IS LIGHT IN OUR LIVES AND PEACE IN TIMES OF DISTRESS”, SAYS NYASHA T, WRITER OF ‘JUMP TO THE BEAT’.

“I wrote this song in a quiet reflective moment just strumming on an acoustic guitar, but had a bit of a revelation one night, that it needed to be high energy and connected”, the verse was written with Margo, a great friend of Nyasha, which highlighted further the pure joy and happiness of the song. Nyasha T is an emerging singer, songwriter and worship leader, whose mandate is to let the world know of the wonders of Christ and His glorious love. The release of his single ‘We Declare’ (Isaiah 53 vs 5) which peaked at 2nd in iTunes Christian & Gospel Charts whilst Nyasha T continued work on his debut album ‘Arise & Shine’.

“His music is more than just songs, but are heartfelt words to the Father.”
– A Step FWD

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The Review Zone : THE PERRYS – Testament. (Stow Town Records : STR3191)

Southern Gospel Group The Perrys can be traced back to 1970 when Libbi Perry Stuffle began their journey. Today, she is the mainstay of the group and provides lead vocals on various tracks upon this album. Songs such as “I Will Pray” and “Find Me Faithful” see Libbi in full flight with excellent vocals. In fact, the vocals of the five members are pretty faultless throughout. Only the lead on “Who Could I Have Been” fails to maintain the high standard. As with most gospel groups, harmonies are so important to the music, and The Perrys fill that responsibility so well. “It’s Not Here to Stay” is all about the temporary world that we live in today, and it’s comparison to the glory of eternal life, that’s waiting for us. The song is well delivered and has a catchy hook. I’m always a sucker for the sound of a banjo and on “Moses and Elijah”, it gives almost the feel of a hoe-down to proceedings. Ballads are few but the big production number has to be “It Carried Him.” The vocals are full blooded and carry great power. This group are stalwarts of the US scene, and it’s about time that the UK heard what all the fuss is about.   8/10.