Tuesday, March 31, 2015


The Happy Goodman Family was founded in the 1940’s by Howard ‘Happy’ Goodman.  In 1964 they began appearing regularly on ‘The Gospel Singing Jubilee’ program.  Eventually they had their own TV program.  Howard, wife Vestal, and brothers Rusty and Sam Goodman, released their first full length album I’M TOO NEAR HOME in 1963.  It was picked up by Canaan/Word Records in 1965.  In 1968 the group won a groundbreaking Grammy Award for their album ‘The Happy Gospel of the Happy Goodman’s’.  The next year, Vestal won the first ever Female Vocalist of the Year Dove Award.  Rusty died in 1990, with Sam following him the next year.  In 1996 Howard and Vestal revived the group along with Johnny Minick, who’d been a member in the 70’s.  Their last project was 2001’s THE FINAL STAND.  Howard died in 2002 and Vestal followed in 2003.  Fast forward to 2014 and we have Goodman Revival, a trio.  Tanya Goodman Sykes is Rusty’s daughter.  She performed with the Happy Goodman Family as a teenager.  She has also had a solo career and been part of Heirloom.  Her husband, Michael Sykes, has produced for the likes of the Oak Ridge Boys and the Gaither Vocal Band.  Johnny Minick pastors River of Life Assembly of God Church in Smyrna, Tennessee.  The trio’s first album is SONGS IN THE KEY OF HAPPY (2014, GSM, Spring House Productions).  Tanya shares: “There is trust between the three of us.  There is friendship.  There is a wealth of shared experience.  We all grew up in church 24-7, and this music has been a big part of all three of our lives.  None of us planned this, but we’re in a place in our lives where we walk through doors as they open”. 

The album begins with ‘What a Happy Time’, an upbeat Southern Gospel tune that anticipates Heaven: “We will labor, watch and pray as we go along/Letting Jesus lead the way, keep the courage strong/Knowing that we’ll reach our home by His grace and light/When we all are gathered there/What a happy time/What a happy time tw’ill be/When we all get home/Over by the crystal sea/Never more to roam”.  ‘Eyes of Jesus’ is a country ballad written by Joel Hemphill.  It reflects on who Christ is: “The eyes of Jesus are upon each footstep that I take/His ears are always open when I pray/His hands are always there to help me lift my heavy load/His heart is broken/Every time I stray”.  ‘Until you’ve Known the Love’ is another country ballad.  It is one of many Rusty Goodman compositions and shows God as the One we ultimately need to pursue: “If in your lifetime you could meet everybody/And you could call every name from here to yon/But if you’ve not come face to face with Jesus and His saving grace/Then you’ve known no one, until you’ve known God and His love/Until you’ve known the loving hand that reaches down to a fallen man/And lifts him up from out of sin/Where he has trod/Until you’ve known just how it feels to know that God is really real/Then you’ve known nothing/Until you’ve known the love of God”.

‘I’ll Be Alright’ is a great song for Easter: “Very soon I will reach the hill, Golgotha/I’ll touch the cross crudely fashioned from a tree/And if just one precious drop of His blood touches me/I’ll be alright because now I’ve reached Calvary/If my feeble hand of faith can only reach out/Through the dark and dreary storm of unbelief/If He’ll slip His nail-scarred hand into my hand/I’ll be alright as soon as I’ve touched Calvary”.  ‘The Sweetest Song I Know’ is a terrific, upbeat Southern Gospel song with conversational lyrics: “I’ve heard them sing He paid the price and Jesus bore it all/I’ve heard them sing I’m coming home and hear the Master’s call/I’ve heard them sing the modern songs and the songs of long ago/But amazing grace, how sweet the sound/Is the sweetest song I know”.  ‘This is Just what Heaven means to Me’ paints a picture of utopia: “A place where there is no misunderstanding/And from all enmity and strife we’re free/No unkind words which wound the heart are spoken/This is just what heaven means to me”.

‘It Happened’, written by Ray Lewis, is a toe-tapper that recounts New Testament events: “On the Sea of Galilee a storm prevailed/Well, the Lord arose and said ‘Peace be Still’/And it happened just like He said/Those ‘round about said ‘What sort of man rebukes the elements and they understand?’/And it happens just like He said/It happened like He said/As He cleansed the leper and He raised the dead/Fed the five thousand with five loaves of bread”.  Johnny Minick and friend Tim Hill wrote the new song ‘Settle the Score’.  Ultimately, it is a rally cry for spiritual victory: “Settle the score, settle the score/ Everything Satan has stolen, God can restore/Now’s not the time for doubt and despair/You cannot lose when Jesus is there/Don’t settle for less anymore/Settle the score”.  ‘Who Am I’ is an inspirational classic that contrasts God’s greatness with our smallness: “When I think of how He came so far from glory/Came and dwelt among the lowly such as I/To suffer shame and such disgrace/On Mount Calvary, take my place/Then I ask myself this question/’Who am I?’/Who am I that a King would bleed and die for?/Who am I that He would pray/’Not my will, Thine’ for?/The answer I may never know/Why He ever loved me so/To an old rugged cross He’d go/For ‘Who am I?’”.

‘I Don’t Want to get Adjusted’ finds the group having church: “I am longing for the coming of my Savior, Lord, and King/And I can hear all my loved ones singing/That brand new song/I’d like to sing/Oh, I don’t wanna get adjusted to this world, to this world/I’ve got a home that’s so much better/I’m gonna go there sooner or later/I don’t wanna get adjusted to this world”.  ‘I Hold a Clear Title to a Mansion’ includes these great words of Christian testimony: “My deed was both signed and recorded/The day Jesus saved me from sin/And my name was engraved in gold letters/In the Lamb’s Book of Life, safe within/I’m an heir to a mansion in glory/When from this life here I will roam/I’m waiting for Jesus to call me/Then I’ll lay down my cross and go home”.

My favorite ever Happy Goodman song, ‘I Wouldn’t Take Nothing for my Journey’, is up next.  This peppy Southern Gospel song was penned by Jimmie Davis and Charles Goodman.  It makes good use of the fiddle.  Here are some of the lyrics: “Well, I started out travellin’ for the Lord many years ago/I’ve had a lot of heartache and I’ve met a lot of grief and woe/But when I would stumble, then I would humble down/And there I’d say/I wouldn’t take nothing for my journey now/Well, I wouldn’t take nothin’ for my journey now/Gotta make it to heaven somehow/Though the devil tempt me and he tried to turn me around”.  ‘Look for Me’ is a sentimental ballad about the other side: “As you go down your list of first things, there’s no question/You’ll want to see your loved ones waiting there for you/And when ya feel you’ve shared your story with the last one that wants to hear you tell just how you made it through/Look for me/I’d like to hear it too/I realize when you arrive there’ll be so much to view”.

To me, SONGS IN THE KEY OF HAPPY is the perfect album!  The vocals are wonderfully performed in classic Goodman Family fashion.  The instrumentation is both traditional and contemporary.  Instruments used include: steel guitar, dobro, organ, mandolin, and harmonica.  The lyrics boldly point to Christ and our hope, as believers, of Heaven.  Young and old alike who are going through a difficult time, should acquire this album full of encouragement.  I hope this trio puts out many more albums together!  I’m rating this one 100% and recommending it to fans of Ontario, Canada’s The Proverbs.  For more info visit: www.goodmanrevival.com, www.vestalandfriends.com, and www.gaither.com.

is ears are always open when I praH

Saturday, March 28, 2015


Jeremy Thomas Camp was born on January 12, 1978 in Lafayette, Indiana.  He has sold four million albums, had 3 American Music Award nominations, and a Grammy nomination.  He is also an ordained minister.  He lost his first wife to cancer at age 21 and more recently his second wife Adrienne miscarried.  The Camp’s have three kids.  I WILL FOLLOW (2015, Stolen Pride Records/Sparrow Records) is Jeremy’s 8th studio album.  A press release says: “The lyrical and biblical depth to Jeremy’s songs reflect years of studying God’s Word, in which he gained a foundation from growing up in a pastor’s home and attending Bible college”.  Here, I will be reviewing the Deluxe Edition, sixteen track, 59 minutes and 9 seconds long, version of the album.

‘Living Word’ starts things off.  It is an energetic adult rock song written by Jeremy and Ian Eskelin.  It shows reverence for the Bible: “I will stand on the truth/In the living word of God/’Cause every time it moves my soul/And shapes my every thought/It’s alive in me/The very breath I breathe/I’m holding on with all I’ve got/To the living Word/The living Word of God”.  ‘I Will Follow (You are with Me)’ is a terrific rock song, actually one of the best I’ve heard in a while.  It is one of six co-written on the standard edition of the album, with Seth Mosely.  He is the album’s main producer.  This song is one of great determination: “Though the desert may be before me/And there’s no relief in sight/Though the enemy is breathing all the lies into my mind/You will always carry me until my dying day/What You have for me is worth it/’Cause I’ll see You face to face/I will follow, follow You, wherever You go/And I will listen to the very promises I know”.

‘He Knows’ is a power ballad.  Hebrews 4:15 reads: “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are-yet he did not sin”.  These lyrics run with that theme: “He knows, He knows/Every hurt and every sting/He has walked the suffering/He knows, He knows/Let your burdens come undone/Lift your eyes up to the One who knows/He knows.../Every time that you feel forsaken/Every time that you feel alone/He is near to the broken hearted/Every tear/He knows”.  ‘Finally Home’ anticipates all the good awaiting believers in Christ in the next life: “I will be dancing free/Unashamed before my King/When I am finally home/Won’t need no bed to sleep/I have too much to see/Just staring at Your throne/Eyes will fill with tears of joy/Your fullness, I will know/I will be forever running free/Moving to all Heaven’s melodies/Colors that I’ve never seen/Bigger than my wildest dreams/We’ll be together/When I’m finally home”.

‘Christ in Me’ is a co-write with Bernie Herms, Natalie Grant’s husband.  It includes these words of confession: “Done with what holds me down/The things I once was chasing after/Throw off these heavy chains/That I have let become my master/Oh, so now I’m running free/Into an ocean of mercy, unending”.  ‘’Til the End’ is an adult contemporary song of a man sure of his calling: “I will trust ‘til the end/Even if fear’s all around me/I will pray ‘til the end/It’s where I find my strength/I will serve ‘til the end/Showing Christ to the broken, hurting/I will stand ‘til the end/Even if I’m the last one standing”.

‘Can’t Be Moved’ is percussion heavy with a neat stomp-like feel to it.  It reminds us not to store up treasures on this planet: “I can’t lean on earthly things/’Cause it’s broke and gonna fade/And I can’t stand on the dirt below/’Cause this dust gonna blow away.../Truth be told, silver and gold ain’t where my treasure’s found/So when I die, gonna open my eyes with a different kind of crown”.  Tom Camp plays harmonica.  ‘Only in You’, a co-write with Matthew West, is an upbeat modern worship song: “There’s a place/Where thirsty souls/Find living water/And thirst no more/And there’s a place/Where weary hearts/Find perfect rest/In mercy’s arms (2X)/Only in You, hey, only in You, hey/Here in Your presence/You’re making us new/Only in You, hey, only in You, hey/Nothing compares to the life we find only in You”.

Jason Ingram co-wrote the rousing worship song ‘Same Power’.  It offers us both confidence and assurance: “The same power that rose Jesus from the grave/The same power that commands the dead to wake/Lives in us, lives in us/The same power that moves mountains when He speaks/The same power that can calm a raging sea/Lives in us (2X)/He lives in us, lives in us.../No power of darkness/No weapon prevails/We stand here in victory”.  ‘We are the Dreamers’ yearns for spiritual renewal and revival: “I have a dream that the Earth would shake with the sound of Heaven/I have a dream/That the world would know the kind of freedom that breaks through every chain/With every debt erased/With hearts that are wide awake/We are the dreamers/All things are possible/You are Redeemer/You’re working miracles/Let’s rise, rise/Rise to our feet/And proclaim the name of Jesus”.  ‘Here I Am’, a co-write with Ed Cash, includes these prayerful words: “Here I am/Falling to my knees/I’m crying out again/Jesus, take me deeper than I’ve ever been/Lord, here I am/All of me reaching to the places that I cannot see/Desperately, I need You to know me/Here I am.../Everything surrendered/I am Yours.../God won’t You move me?/Here I am”.

The Deluxe Edition of the album includes 5 bonus songs.  ‘Spirit Now’ invites God to do a mighty work: “I bare my soul/Inside every part of me/Come so close I can feel Your heartbeat/Let Your fire consume what is not of You”.  ‘Be Still’ is a nice ballad on which Matt Butler plays cello.  It includes these words of testimony: “You are faithful and Your love endures forever/Yes, Your love endures forever/You are able/In You I’ll stand forever/Yes, in You I’ll stand forever”.  ‘Perfect Love’ is an adult contemporary number that conveys a deep maturity: “You are good, You are true/Even in my pain/And I’m thankful for the suffering/Cause it’s brought me right here on my knees.../It’s deepened every part of me”.  Closing off the project are acoustic versions of ‘He Knows’ and ‘Here I Am’, on which, Cara Fox plays cello and Hawk Nelson frontman Jon Steingard plays guitars and keys.

The strengths of this latest album, I WILL FOLLOW, by Jeremy Camp, are its strong Christian lyrics, spot on lead vocals, great background vocals, and skillful instrumentation.  All in all, it is quite a good album for fans of such artists as Newsboys and Sanctus Real.  This album will help you commune with your Creator.  All this being said, the album suffers from a bit of an identity crisis when it comes to what genre to file it under.  At times, it sounds like an adult rock project, and then, a lot of the time it sounds like worship music.  I would still like to see Jeremy make an all out rock record, complete with electric guitar solos.  I’m rating I WILL FOLLOW, by one of CCM’s most handsome men, 93.5%.  For more info visit: www.jeremycamp.com and www.sparrowrecords.com.




Thursday, March 26, 2015


Daniel Amos formed circa 1974.  In 1976 they released their self-titled debut album  Their first full rock album HORRENDOUS DISC was recorded in 1978, but was not released until 1981 on Larry Norman’s Solid Rock Records.  In 1987 the band released their 8th studio album DARN FLOOR-BIG BITE on Frontline Records, under the name Da.  It was engineered by Doug Doyle.  In 2008 Arena Rock Recording Company released a 2 Disc 20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition of the album.  On the project Daniel Amos is: Terry Taylor (vocals, guitar), Greg Flesch (lead guitars, pan flute, squeeze box), Tim Chandler (bass, backing vocals), and Ed McTaggart (drums, percussion, backing vocals).  Alex MacDougall contributes additional percussion.

The album runs 36 minutes and 36 seconds.  It begins with a bouncy pop/rock number called ‘Return of the Beat Menace’.  Terry Taylor says the song is his “intention to bemoan the Church’s seeming inability to embrace and support the Christian artist as visionary, save for those ‘artists’ whose work is primarily a means to religious proselytizing and/or driven by hidden profit motives”.  Some of the lyrics to the song are: “Imagination on the rise again/So hide your heart away/Dust off the fears and guilts and lies again/The beat is here to stay/Your satellites can reach that Eskimo/He buys a suit and tie/Re-styles his hair like girls in Tupelo/And sings ‘Sweet Bye and Bye’.  Next up is ‘Strange Animals’.  Terry says: “The song explores the mystery of our disconnect with one another as a result of our Fallen-ness”.  Witness these words: “If I were to give you an animal’s name/Could I keep you locked in a cage in my brain?/Yes, I want to hold you/But it is not clear/Just what’s your intention/If I get too near/I feel the danger, but I cannot leave/Will you tear open/The heart on my sleeve?”

The title track, ‘Darn Floor-Big Bite’ is a great rock song about our inability to describe God in words: “Illuminate my muddled heart/Sweep the shadows from my mind/So I might imagine what You are like/And understand the great design/Darn floor-big bite/You are earth, water and light/Darn floor-big bite/Can I ever hope to get it right?/Can’t get it right”.  Terry got the title of the next song ‘Earth Household’ from a poem by Polish poet Czeslaw Milosz.  This song uses the sound of flutes and reflects on that which is unseen: “We chase with the hounds for the meaning of the world/The unattainable meaning of the world/Now I’m gonna run to the other side/Beyond the border land of death I ride/Slip through a tear in the fabric of the world/The earth household (2X)/Speak the foreign language/Of a place beyond/The earth household”.

‘Safety Net’ is a fast-paced pop/rock song with passionate vocals.  Terry says it’s about “God’s love, grace, and mercy”.  The following lyrics support that: “You fall, you get caught in the safety net/You break, but you mend/In the safety net you start living again/You start living again”.  ‘Pictures of the Gone World’ is about our fallen state: “Will anyone cry for justice?/Will anyone get it right?/These pictures of the gone world/Could be our world tonight/I see fire on the mountain and blood on the water/We dream a beautiful dream/We lose a beautiful thing/I’m making love to you/I’m holding on to you/Lose this world too.../We could lose this world too”.

‘Divine Instant’ at times has a sunny, breezy, Caribbean feel to it musically.  Terry says: “This is a celebration of sex as God’s holy gift and one of the greatest He has given to His children”.  Here are some of the words to the song: “Can’t fight this will to live and love/To always need you, die in your arms/Yes, we found ourselves there,/Felt enduring desire/In that divine instant/Heard eternity whisper/Well, we find ourselves here/It’s the right time for love/In this divine instant/We are time standing still”.  Of ‘Half Light, Epoch and Phase’ Terry says: “I lament our tendency to shrink God down to a manageable size”.  Sample these lyrics: “Everyone seems to think/They’ve got it made/That You’re on a rack by the door/It’s true, I don’t know much/Except I am saved/From falling through cracks in the floor.../Tomorrow I’m planning to write the great book/In which I will capture our time/Set forth the fury, the sound/And the look/If I could just make up my mind”.

‘The Unattainable Earth’ is a great mid-tempo rock track, again inspired by Milosz’s poetry.  It includes these sincere, heartfelt words: “My writing is just immense amazement/Should You really reveal anything when I just misunderstand it?/.../Down the twists and turns of a long, long story/I am here to learn about the weight of glory/My questions right now/Don’t need all the answers/Just, please don’t ever let go of me/No, don’t ever stop loving me”.  The album closes with a pretty ballad entitled ‘The Shape of Air’.  Background vocalists include Gene Eugene, Riki Michelle, and Mike Stand.  The song begins by re-iterating that we can’t properly describe divine things with the human language: “Pour cement ‘round things/Let it dry/Break away things/See the design/Describe the voice from heaven/And paint the grace you’re given/It’s the shape of air (2X)/I can sit and stare/’Til it’s almost clear”.

Disc Two of this 20th Anniversary re-issue contains four live performances from the now defunct Cornerstone Festival in Illinois, some alternate takes of songs on the album, and a fuzzy demo of an unreleased song called ‘Sacred Heart’.  It also includes an interview with Terry Taylor.  He reveals the meaning of the album’s title.  He heard the story about an ape named Koko who had been taught sign language.  One day there was an earthquake while she was in her cage.  She used sign language interpreted ‘Darn Floor-Big Bite’ to describe the earthquake.  Terry believes much of who God is, is a mystery.  Tom Gulotta writes that Daniel Amos “came to the controversial conclusion that what the human race doesn’t know about God is greater than what it does know”.  Terry Taylor says the concepts on the album are cryptic.  If you pop Disc Two into your computer, you’ll find some extra video goodies!

DARN FLOOR-BIG BITE is a great alternative rock album.  It features distinctive vocals and strong instrumentation.  I recommend it to fans of Jacob’s Trouble and Hokus Pick.  It celebrates the journey we call life.  At the same time, it conveys an inquisitive spirit, with a thirst for spiritual education from God Himself.  I’m rating DARN FLOOR-BIG BITE 87%.  For more info visit: www.arenarock.com  and www.danielamos.com.

 e buys a suit

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


Hawk Nelson released their debut studio album LETTERS TO THE PRESIDENT on Tooth & Nail Records in 2004.  Over the years the band has become known for songs such as: ‘California’, ‘Zero’, ‘Friend Like That’, and ‘Crazy Love’.  DIAMONDS (2015, Fair Trade Services) is their second album since the departure of lead vocalist Jason Dunn.  They filled the vacancy from within the band.  The current lineup is: Jonathan Steingard (vocals, guitar)¸Daniel Biro (bass), Micah Kuiper (guitar), and David Niacaris (drums).  Jon says: “The past few years have been a crazy ride for us HAWK boys.  Lots of changes, lots of amazing blessings, and also quite a few challenges.  This album was forged in the fire of some of those trials.  It’s those times of pressure that God uses to shape us into something more beautiful.  DIAMONDS sums up this truth we have found, that God is FOR US, He is not against us and that we have the freedom to JOYFULLY walk in the love, grace, and mercy He has freely given us”.  Hawk Nelson uses several co-writers on this album, including: Jason Ingram, Sam Tinnesz, Jordan Mohilowksi, and Seth Mosley.

Up first is the title track, ‘Diamonds’.  It is an adult contemporary song heavy on the percussion.  It finds the band resting in God: “He’s making diamonds, diamonds/He’s making diamonds out of dust/He is refining and in His timing/He’s making diamonds out of us/I’ll surrender to the power of being crushed by love/’Til the beauty that was hidden/Isn’t covered up/Oh, it’s not what I hoped for/It’s something much better”.  ‘Drops in the Ocean’ is an adult pop song that finds God assuring humanity of His care: “If you wanna know how far My love can go/Just how deep, just how wide/If you wanna see how much you mean to Me/Look at My hands, look at My side/If you could count the times I’d say you are forgiven/It’s more than the drops in the ocean”.

‘Just Getting Started’ finds the band coming out swinging: “We’re steppin’ in the ring and won’t let that lady sing/It’s over when we say it’s over/Been brushin’ off our shoulders/It’s not a twist of fate/We choose our own destiny/A trophy or a bruise/Champions never lose”.  ‘Live Like You’re Loved’ is an inspirational pop song meant to boost self-esteem: “Go ahead and live like you’re loved/It’s ok to act like you’ve been set free/His love has made you more than enough/So go ahead and be who He made you to be and live like you’re loved/Live like you know you’re valuable/Like you know the One that holds your soul/Cuz mercy has called you by your name/Don’t be afraid to live in that grace”.

‘Sold Out’ is a dandy dance song that encourages us to go against the flow: “In a world full of followers, I’ll be a leader/In a world full of doubters, I’ll be a believer/I’m steppin’ out without a hesitation/Because the battle’s already been won/I’m sold out/I’m no longer living just for myself/Running after Jesus with my whole heart and now I’m ready to shout”.  ‘Thank God for Something’ finds Jessica Steingard on background vocals and is all about having a proper perspective: “In the wonder, in the heartache/In the good times and the mistakes/No matter what I am going through/I can always say thank You/When the blessings are in disguise/Let gratitude open my eyes”.

‘Count on You’ is a pop/rock number that offers these words of testimony: “I can count on You when my strength’s not enough/You, when I’m lookin’ for love/You, when I’m standing on the edge and I’ve got nothing left/I’ve got front row seats to Your faithfulness/A spotlight shining on Your promises/And I can’t deny/You’ve shown me time after time that/I can count on You”.  ‘Made to Live’ is a wonderful song that incorporates crowd vocals that were recorded at a Hawk Nelson show at Easterfest in Toowoomba.  The song shows the band reflecting on their spiritual responsibilities: “So if I can learn to love the way You do/I’ll be leaving Your fingerprints/And when I stand up for what is true/I’ll be leaving Your fingerprints”.

Jessica and Annie Steingard perform backing vocals on ‘Straight Line’.  It is the song of one with a sure purpose: “I’ll step into the light/It’s my time to shine/I’m walking in a straight line/Won’t  compromise/The end in my sights/I’m walking in a straight line (3X)/So long apathy and goodbye regret/No more wandering/I know where I’m headed”.  The closing song ‘Only You’ is the only one over four minutes long.  This ballad includes this simple plea: “Please Jesus, would you come close and stay right here?/I need You more than I know/So Jesus, would You come close?”

DIAMONDS should appeal to both teens and young adults.  It is mostly a Christian pop album, with touches of dance, rock, and adult contemporary music added in.  The messages of the ten songs are truly life-giving and should serve to strengthen your faith in God and in yourself.  I’m rating DIAMONDS 87.5% and recommending it to fans of Anthem for Today, Newsboys, and Audio Adrenaline.  For more info visit: www.hawknelson.com and www.fairtradeservices.com.



Saturday, March 21, 2015


Thousand Foot Krutch was founded in 1997 in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada.  Shortly after, they released their debut album THAT’S WHAT PEOPLE DO.  Over the years they have become known for such songs as: ‘Puppet’, ‘Rawkfist’, ‘Falls Apart’, and ‘Forward Motion’.  Their latest album OXYGEN:INHALE (2014, TFK Music) was funded using a Pledge Music campaign.  It is their second release since leaving Tooth & Nail Records.  Lead singer Trevor McNevan shares: “We wanted to make a raw rock record.  We decided to strip away all the background sounds and popular over-production, so that what you hear are just the instruments and the voice”.  Thousand Foot Krutch is: Trevor McNevan, Steve Augustine, and Joel Bruyere.  This album was produced by Aaron Sprinkle and McNevan.  It was mixed by J. R. McNeely.  The glossy CD booklet, photography, and packaging are a nice touch.

Starting things off is ‘Like a Machine’.  It is a real crowd energizer musically and lyrically: “When it hits you like a wave/You’re not gonna feel the pain/So stand and face the rain/Like a war machine/You gotta give me a hey, yeah!/You gotta give me a hey, yeah/You wanna play this game/You can face the pain/Like a war machine/Comin’ thru like/We’re comin’ thru like/Hey, comin’ thru like/Like a war machine”.  ‘Untraveled Road’ is a rock number that uses handclap sounds and is all about making a positive difference in the world: “Cause one voice is enough/To make sleeping giants wake up/To make armies put their hands up and watch what nations stand up/It’s one belief, one spark, one faith, and one restart/We can reboot the whole chart/Before it all falls apart/So stand up, shout it out, and put ‘em in the air if you like it loud/We only got one shot, so let’s make it count/It’s a take down, nobody can stop us now.../Before we depart, let’s leave a mark/Cause light shines brighter in the dark”.

Shawn Tubbs plays slide guitar on the album’s first single, ‘Born This Way’.  It is a manly rocker and the song of one very comfortable in his own skin: “Because I was born this way/I got lightning running thru my veins/Ain’t nobody gonna stop this train/So hop on board, or get out the way”.  ‘Set Me On Fire’ is a melodic song that contains these words of testimony: “I’ve been everywhere on earth and I still can’t find/A feeling that compares to Your blinding light/These doors I’ve locked, they all open for You/And it’s a rush, like the river that runs through me/I get caught in Your tide, like I can’t believe/You hold me like an open fire in You”.

Many will be able to relate to ‘Give it to Me’ and its opening words: “I’ve never felt like I belonged/I’ve never fit in any place, been alone, until now/Been carryin’ a weight that’s not my own/This levee’s gonna break, and I’m not sure I can hold on/And I’m not sure how long I can hold off this storm/There’s a dark cloud right over head”.  ‘I See Red’ includes these honest thoughts: “There’s nothin’ left but the sound of my heart/There’s nothin’ left but the strings on this guitar/Take it all, take the hurt and heartache/Help me start again”.

‘Light Up’ is a ballad and love song of sorts: “I saw an angel fly today/Just like a movie I couldn’t speak/I couldn’t walk away/Cause you flew right thru me/And I’m not waiting/These hands are shaking, trembling/I’ve been taken by you/And I was lost before tonight and I’m so amazed at how you’ve/Touched me and make it right/Yes, I’m alive when I see you”.  ‘In My Room’ is a great ballad that conveys a desire for intimacy with God: “I’m not sure if this is a good time/Or even if You’re home/It’s a long, long way from Your throne...but/Can You meet me in my room?/A place where I feel safe/Don’t have to run away/And I can just be me.../They say You’re always there/You never leave/Even when we don’t believe/And that sounds like love to me/I know I couldn’t do the same”.

‘Oxygen’ offers praise to God: “It felt like a wave when You washed over me tonight/All my life I’ve been a statue/Until Your refining fire/’Cause like a knife/You cut me open/I feel alive for the first time in my life/You’re the oxygen that lights my fire inside”.  Chad Jeffers plays dobro on ‘Glow’.  This closing song asks the following of God: “Burn me bright, or let me go/And make me stronger on the inside/And hold me tight or just let go/Cause I don’t want it if I can’t glow”.

In the liner notes, besides thanking his friends and family, Trevor McNevan writes: “Last but not least, My God, my rock, my refuge, my strength and my shield.  Your refining fire melts away my imperfections daily and allows me to GLOW.  I’m not ashamed.  Thank you for empowering me to be a voice to the people, and for equipping me to go the distance.  I give you ALL the glory, honor and praise.  Light shines brighter in the dark”.  OXYGEN:INHALE proves that Thousand Foot Krutch (TFK) is one of the leading Christian rock bands of our time, alongside the likes of Skillet and Third Day  On this album you both hear the band rock quite hard and also hear them deliver several softer, very effective songs.  This is a band that is not ashamed to declare a solid belief in God and His ways of working in lives today.  I’m rating OXYGEN:INHALE 93%.  For more info visit: www.thousandfootkrutch.com.