Thursday, May 19, 2011


Artist – Deitrick Haddon Presents the Voices of Unity

Album – Blessed & Cursed

Label – : Tyscot Records

Street Date – 2010

Album Length – 12 Tracks, 54 minutes 04 seconds

Genre – Gospel/ Urban/ RnB

IPod Pick – Over Again

Wow! I absolutely love this album. It’s just so fab and Word packed. It’s much better than the last one from the voices of unity (the worship together project . . . . which was also very good). As usual we have variety of artists featuring on this album.

Michelle Williams (Formerly of Destiny Child) appears on ‘More like You’ a beautiful worship ballad. Rock Nation rock things up on the hip and funky ‘Anything is Possible’. The man himself Deitrick Haddon opens up the album with the urban ready ‘I’m Blessed’. You would sure be moving to the beats from the intro. Jessica Reedy and Lowell Pye are invited in on ‘Praise in the House’ to take it all gospel and Motown. ‘So what’ begins with rap that’s reminiscent of M.O.C’s and a chorus that would do for any rock song. Damita Haddon appears on the RnB- esque ‘Breath Away’ and alongside Sean Hardin on the worshipful and church ready ‘One touch’. I must say, it’s been a long time not since the days of Eagled eyed cherry and Seal have we heard a beautiful sound such as the one displayed on ‘Over Again’. It’s a fine mellow song that deals with second chances. I must emphasize this, nothing on this album sounds like this particular track in style of sound. You would love it in its entirety including the transparency of the lyrics.

If this is a soundtrack album, really I also can’t wait to see the movie these beautiful sounds where chopped from. That’s by the way. Blessed and Cursed soundtrack album is so good you don’t wanna miss. It’s packed, take that from me. Are you on your way to the store? You don’t want to miss this one. Sure you don’t.


Artist- Adie

Album- Just You and Me

Label- BEC Recordings

Street date- March 9, 2010

Album length- 10 Tracks: 43 minutes, 3 seconds

Genre- Pop/ Praise and Worship

IPod pick- Oh You Bring

Adie is Mrs. Camp. Yes, wife of popular CCM artiste Jeremy Camp. She’s African, specifically South African (I think I like that...). She’s also former front lead singer of popular Christian rock band ‘The Benjamin Gate’. Note, this isn’t twenty- eight years old Adie’s first Solo effort. This is her second release. After a tragic miscarriage, Adie brings to the table 10 songs of deep reflection on whom our God is. The result is what some could turn off easily without a steady and careful listen.

The strength of this album is in its consistency. Yes, it’s consistent musical style. The soft worship tunes seems to blend into one another. The song pace aren’t that much different and it works well for this album. The lyrics reflect a sense of deep communion (‘Beautiful Lord’, ‘Oh You Bring’, and ‘Only You’). Amazing guitar riffs on ‘Beautiful Lord’ would make you wonder out loud who played the guitar on that track. Adie’s cover of ‘Soon’ is breathtaking. ‘Love come down’ sounds very ‘anthemic’. It would make a beautiful church worship song. Adie also covers ‘Oh You Bring’ (formerly covered on the Hillsong United’s ‘Tear Down the Walls’ project), ‘Only You’ (formerly covered by the David Crowder band on their ‘illuminate’ album) and ‘All I Need Is You’ (formerly also covered by Hillsong United on their ‘Look to You’ Project).

Though Adie’s sophomore’s project deviates a bit from her pop driven debut (‘Don’t wait’). It’s still bold and strong and worth the listen. Fans of artiste like Darlene Zschech (especially her ‘Change Your World’ project), Sheila Walsh and Mariam Webster would love to have this album. ‘Just You and Me’ would be a worship experience, just you and the Lord and that’s Fo’sho.

Monday, May 16, 2011


Artist – Audrey Assad 

Album – The House You’re Building

Label – Sparrow Records

Street Date – July 13, 2010

Album Length – 11 Tracks. 42 Minutes 53 Seconds

Genre – Pop/Rock

IPod Pick – Everything is yours

It’s rare for an artist to give you a straight walk through their heart. In the mainstream market, the few who allow the listener to come have a drive through the avenues of their emotions and desires in the form of cathartic song writing (artist such as Pink and Adele) have been known to produce edgy and dark lyrics that might get some listeners doing a reverse before getting to the third house (third track to be précised) of the heart avenue one has been given a privilege to enter.

On ‘The House you’re building’ 27 years old Audrey Assad puts cathartic song writing to an edifying use. Audrey’s music sounds like what you would have if C.S. Lewis did lyrics and Nichole Nordeman does the Piano with an Arabic throwback tune.  We see Miss Assad opening up her avenue with Thanksgiving on the first track (For the love of you) singing ‘You are the highway I travel. . . . You live in a million places. . . For the love of you I’m a sky on fire’. The second house on her avenue gets us hearing very mellow catchy beats, something artiste such as Plumb and Alanis Morissette might just use on a less major track for a major hit album with lyrics like ‘I’m a broken stone so lay me in the House you’re building’. Speeding it up a bit to the fourth house ‘everything is Yours’ which is a heart cry of surrender is beautiful in its entirety. We find Audrey praying on ‘Restless’ ‘and I’m restless. .till I rest in you’. It’s a song inspired by a thought from Saint Augustine. ‘Carry Me’ starts with lyrics that gets us thinking ‘Pain is a forest we all get lost in’. Musically ‘Ought to be’ sounds different from every other song on this album and maybe should have been reserved for another project. ‘Known’ follows in the same heart cry of ‘Everything is yours’ but with a different perspective.
When asked by New Release Tuesday about the inspiration behind the stark imagery of the song ‘Breaking Through’ which was written with producer Marshall Altman (who has also worked with artist like Natasha Beddigfield, Bethany Dillon and Marc Broussard) she comments “That’s been my journey the last few years, learning to believe that and walk in that acceptance of God choosing me,” she says, musing, “That’s what my journey will probably always be. The first reason I write songs is to preach to myself”. The ‘House you’re building’ though not perfect in its entirety is something to believe in. Miss Assad has shown us on this one that she’s a work in progress and we can’t wait to see the great things God would continue to do through her come her next album but before then ‘The House you’re building’ is worth the walk. Come walk Miss Assad’s avenue, it might just surprise you when you start finding buildings that look the same.


Artist- Natalie Grant

Album- Love Revolution

Label-  Curb Records

Street date- 24 August 2010

Album length- 12 Tracks. 52 Minutes 44 Seconds

Genre- Pop

IPod pick- Human

Four times GMA award winner of the female vocalist of the year award, Natalie Grant does have a great voice, but I just don’t get the point. Why does she have to channel her powerful vocals into a genre that just doesn’t suit her voice? That story was for her former albums (maybe except ‘Awaken’, that was a good one). On ‘Love Revolution’ the story changes and more.  .  .

I couldn’t wait to lay my hands on Natalie’s Love Revolution album once I heard that former winner of American Idols; Jordin Sparks penned a song (Human) for the album. With the first listen I wasn’t disappointed. The album opens up with the rock driven ‘Daring to be’ that talks about leaving one’s comfort zone to show love to others. Generally the album avoids the pitfall of cliché lyrics. Lyrics like ‘I’m waving goodbye to my pretty little life’ on ‘Daring to be’ and ‘may what I behold still my anxious heart/ take what I have known and break it all apart’ on ‘Greatness of Our God’ (which was the first single from the album and also covered on Hillsong’s ‘Beautiful Exchange’) are proof of this.

The track ‘Love Revolution’ is a rising love anthem that I fell in love with on first listen. Natalie goes the Gospel style on ‘Someday Our King would come’, an encouragement to believers and her voice does sure shines through on this one. The beaty ‘Human’ is an RnB flavoured tune which sounds like something Jordin Sparks herself or contemporaries like Rihanna and Keri Hilson would record (if they were Christian artistes). The lyrics of this song are beautiful and powerful and I’m proud of Jordin for letting God bless the body of Christ through her with such a song. Songs like ‘Beauty Mark’ would have fitted better on former projects like ‘Deeper Life’, but still goes beautifully with the album theme.

I was surprised to find ‘Desert Song’ (written and formerly covered by Brooke Fraser for Hillsong) on this album. But I tell you, Natalie grant’s version of the song is indeed beautifully unique and I love it. The good thing about this album is that the album theme runs through even on the worship tune (Your Great Name, Power of the Cross, You Deserve, Song to The King, Greatness of Our God, Desert Song). I hear someone say ‘oh it’s a worship album after all’ but how can we love others without realizing the love the Father has for us. Brace yourselves for the love revolution. I’m in on this one. Are you?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Author- Ted Dekker
Title- the Martyr’s Song
Genre- Thriller/Suspense
Publisher- Westbow Press

The setting: Atlanta, Georgia. The year: 1964. Marci is shaken when an old woman named Ivena approaches her with an offer to make her beautiful. The last thing Marci wants is anyone rubbing in the fact that she’s ugly. But something about Ivena captivates young Marci as she accepts her invitation.
Marci arrives at Ivena’s place expecting a magical transformation into a beauty queen but is met by a simple but yet powerful story of wartime in a distant land when a group of soldiers decide to play a deadly game on a town during the celebration of a girl’s birthday named Nadia.

In this powerful tale of what true beauty and worth really means, Author Ted Dekker weaves a tale that is sure to spur some deep questions.

  •    Is life on earth all there is?
  • What does it mean to be beautiful?

The 13 year old named Nadia who with her plain looks and disfigured leg (due to polio) shows the world the model of true beauty is the girl in the story set right in this story. As her story translates Marci from the fact that she is ugly to the truth that she’s beautiful you also wouldn’t be left behind.

N.B- Fans of Ted Dekker especially the Heaven’s wager series would be familiar with the story in here though there are a little twists and turns and the martyr’s song is first heard. Along with the book comes a CD which includes an interview with Author Ted Dekker about the story behind the story and also the martyr song recorded by CCM artist Todd Agnew.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


Author- Ted Dekker

Title- Immanuel’s Veins

Genre- Thriller/Romance

Publisher- Thomas Nelson

Street date- 2010

I would like to let you in on a conversation I had with a friend after I got to page 200 of this book.
Friend: so how’s the book coming up?

Me: Fine I guess.

Friend: like what’s the book really about? What’s going on in the story?

Me: Honestly I really don’t know yet.

I don’t mean to sound cheeky but at page 200 (out of 367 pages) of multiple New York Times best-selling author Ted Dekker’s Immanuel’s Veins I didn’t really have an idea of what I was into. Alright maybe I should start from there, the cons of this mind blowing novel.

Before that, the story is set in ‘ancient’ Russia in a place near the popular (at least popular in vampire fiction movies) Carpathian Mountains called Moldavia. The story starts off with two warriors (Alek and Toma) under the authority of Her Majesty, Empress of Russia, Catherine the Great, sent out on a mission to protect 
the estate of the Cantemir Family and the inhabitants. On their way to the Cantemir estate, they meet a mysterious old man with a black bird perched on his shoulder warning them of an approaching evil. The warriors are cynical about the warning, shrug about it and move on. The main drama starts at the Cantemir castle when evil appears in a form so alluring that one of them finally embraced.

Now the cons. Ted Dekker is known for imagery that could get one’s blood frozen which can be a good thing when writing the suspense genre but my question as I read through the pages of Immanuel’s Veins is ‘How far is too far?’. I’m a Youth/ Teenage Church co-coordinator and personally, I’m very open with my media (i.e. the music, movies and books I’m into) with my youth group but the ‘sexual’ imagery in Immanuel’s Veins got me thinking ‘would I really be bold to give this to anyone in my youth group’. Now don’t get me wrong, the theme (which was in a part ‘deception’) was well portrayed but do the readers’ imaginations really have to be dragged in the mud?

On to the next, the setting of the novel is meant to be of a much archaic one but little is said to reflect that leaving the readers to wonder if this is a typical allegory or a fantasy. At the end we find out it is none of that.
Another pitfall of this book the first person view in which it is partly written. It sort of drags the story in a way and the reader is faced with a sort of boredom in no time. Ted Dekker should leave writing in the first person view for authors like Angela Hunt and Francine Rivers who know how to carry out this art pretty well.
I personally love how Ted Dekker gives us a new perspective on vampires (though the word ‘vampire’ isn’t mentioned once through the novel) with all the jumbo jumble fiction of the lifestyle and origin of vampires around. Series like the popular Twilight would come to mind. Ted Dekker does a good job stating a theological basis which sounds correct of this ‘creatures of the night’ as he refers to them. I tell you, you will be captivated.

With all this said, one of the pros is that the major theme explored in the novel which is the path of redemption is worth looking into. By the time you turn the last page, you would be reviewing your redemption story and if you don’t have one might just be falling on your knees saying the sinner’s prayer to start one.
As I read the last pages of Immanuel’s Veins some deep questions about my faith started spurring to the surface of my heart: Why did it have to be his blood? Did Christ go through all this just to give us a religion?
Not only old fans of Ted Dekker would want this in their hands. There are new categories of lovers. Lovers of the Romance genre, lovers of Vampire stories, lovers of sword blazing fiction in the likes of the mask of Zoro, and new fans searching for ‘at the edge of you seat’ suspense, embrace this new addition to the Dekker thriller collection cause beyond the tunnel of cons and pros mentioned above you would find a light shining bright on a fountain filled with blood drawn from Immanuel’s Veins.


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