Music Review: Power To Change by Various Artists

May 28, 2017
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Music Review: Power To Change by Various Artists

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Track Listing

How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds
May the Peoples Praise You
Praise to the Lord the Almighty
Good Good Father
Come Thou Font
Be Still
Glorious Day
For the Cause
Living Waters
We Believe
Amazing Grace
Angus Dei

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Powerful worship and bible teaching have been distinguishing marks of the Keswick Convention and this CD shares with us the best moments of praise and worship from this year's meetings. The album features Steve James, Stuart Townend and Colin Webster, and includes the popular "Good Good Father", classic liturgical hymn "Agnus Dei", and a unique rendition of "Amazing Grace" to the tune of Auld Lang Syne.

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Power To Change
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This album comes from the famous Keswick Convention. This is the live worship album from the 2016 convention with it's focus, as the title suggests, on "Power To Change". Keswick is perceived as a little more reserved than other events such as New Wine or Spring Harvest and this recording reflects that somewhat. Although many of these songs are more modern they have that timeless feel about them in the way that they are presented, of course this doesn't mean that they are any less valid an expression of worship.

The worship leaders featured on this recording are Stuart Townend, Steve James and Colin Webster. It is Colin that sets the ball rolling on this album with a new version of the old John Newton hymn "How Sweet The Name Of Jesus Sounds (O Praise The Name)". Giving it a lighter tune than the original one that I am used to, it makes it sound a little bit like some of Stuart Townend's tracks, so it fits well for this audience. Personally I think I prefer the old version, but that's personal preference, I'm not sure it benefits from the revised tune or from the extra lyrics. This new track is followed up by Stuart himself leading a fairly new track written with long-time collaborator Keith Getty and Ed Cash. This is a Celtic affair complete with flutes and whistles and a jaunty tune carries the lyrics along, although in this mix they sometimes feel a little lost under the music. We have a very similar sound a little later on with another Getty (both Getty's in fact) / Townend track in "For The Cause", but if you've got a good sound then why would you change it?

Pushing the boat into modern worship music is Stuart Townend leading a rendition of "Good Good Father" which no live worship event is complete without in 2016. Having said that, having heard many recordings of this track in the last year or so, Stuart's voice does this justice and this version stands out. Along with most of these tracks you can hear the congregation singing along, which adds that communal worship feeling that this song actually benefits from.

Colin Webster has been at it again! This time changing "Come Thou Fount (Jesus Fount)" and giving it a new (and still unnecessary) chorus. At least with this one he hasn't changed the main familiar tune! Another new track is "Living Waters" which is a collaboration between Kristyn Getty and Ed Cash. This track led by Steve James in a duet with a female vocalist (I'm not quite sure who this is as not credited on the track) is actually a great track and probably the best new revelation on this album. From there it's straight into another new Getty(s) / Townend track which is a take on the apostles creed in "We Believe".

The last couple of tracks are interesting. "Amazing Grace" set to the tune of "Auld Lang Syne" which is something that I remember singing about 15 or 20 years ago, but it works well and sounds great. The album finishes off with Agnus Dei, written by Michael W. Smith but led hear by Steve James who carries the song very well.

Although I can pick holes in some of these tracks, it's actually a very solid selection of more traditional styled hymn and chorus worship, which is why they have this selection of worship leaders. Despite there being many events around the UK where there is live worship Keswick has a distinctive feel and sound. Many of the other events can blend into one another, but in the absence of Mandate albums in the recent years it is probably Keswick leading the way in popularising these more traditional sounding songs and hymns.

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