Music Review: Sent Live from the Keswick Convention by Various Artists

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Updated January 25, 2019
See Jesus Stripped of Majesty (Amazing Love)

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The Keswick Convention is renowned for great teaching but also for a depth of worship that is rooted in theological truth and Christ discipleship. This year's album is no exception. It contains stirring versions of well-known hymns 'All Creatures Of Our God And King', 'Love Divine' and 'I Cannot Tell' as well as contemporary classics including the Getty penned 'Facing A Task Unfinished' and the Getty/Townend collaboration 'Hear The Call Of The Kingdom'.

Alongside these, 'Sent' includes new songs by Keswick returning worship leaders Colin Webster and Phil Moore, 'See Jesus Stripped Of Majesty' and 'When The Word Of God', both of which went down really well with those attending. Emu Music deliver some lovely moments with 'Won My Heart' and 'This Life I Live' and the excellent 'Stuart Townend' contributes newly written 'Christ Be With Me' and 'How Good It Is To Sing', capturing the poetic quality and heartfelt worship expression he is known for.

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Sent: Live Worship From Keswick Convention 2018
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In the UK there are a number of Christian festivals and Bible weeks and each of them have their market and their audience. Keswick has, perhaps unfairly, often been the grandfather of the events that are held in the UK being that it originally started in 1875. The Keswick Convention to give it the official title attracts over 15,000 Christians from across the UK and further to it's events held each summer towards the end of July. While there is a lot of activities for children and young people the worship is definitely something that is in the more traditional vein of the UK Church and you are more likely to be singing a re-written hymn rather than the more dance inspired styles of worship.

The Keswick Convention is the traditional home of the new Stuart Townend hymns and similar expressions of worship. In fact it's Stuart that kicks off "Sent" with a live version of "How Good It Is To Sing (Psalm 147)" which is a new hymn from Stuart's latest album "Courage". Stuart was the worship leader from week 2 last year and there are other tracks from him recorded on this album. "Christ Be With Me (The Prayer of St Patrick)" which is also from his most recent album and then a couple of slightly older songs "Hear The Call Of The Kingdom" and the slightly rewritten version of the hymn "Facing A Task Unfinished".

Stuart is the most well-known of the worship leaders from Keswick last year, but week 1 was led by Keswick regular Colin Webster. Colin's first track on the album is "All Creatures Of Our God And King" which is the fairly traditional version of the song. This is followed up with an original composition from his regular writing partner Phil Moore and Tim Chester in "When The Word of God". This song is lead by Colin with an additional female vocal from Kathryn Doer which lightens up the feel of the track. The song itself looks through the Bible from creation, the prophets to the birth of the Word become flesh and Jesus ministry, before asking that God's word would come to us today. It is a clever reminder that the same word that brought the world to life, that spoke through Jesus, is spoken over and to us today! "His Mercy Is More", a track written by Matt Boswell and Matt Papa is the next track from Colin. His final track on the album is co-written with Moore and Chester. "See Jesus Stripped of Majesty (Amazing Love)" which as it sounds is quite an intense look at Jesus sacrifice through his death on the cross and the resurrection. There are a number of great songs from the past couple of years considering the power of this moment and this is up there with the best of them.

So who led week 3 and fills in the gaps of the other tracks on this album? Alanna Glover and Philip Percival who head up Emu Music take on tracks like the lovely hymn "I Cannot Tell" and Charles Wesley's "Love Divine", both of these are done traditionally and the lead vocal from Alanna on both tracks lifts this whole album. Their other tracks are a little less traditional, firstly "This Life I Live" a hymn from Michael Morrow which is about the confidence that we can have knowing God and following his plans for us. "Won My Heart" is a track Alanna co-wrote with Liv Chapman, this is a little more upbeat than many of the other tracks on the album, definitely feeling like more of a modern worship song rather than the more hymn-based tracks. 

Overall this is a very solid and dependable release from Keswick. The only surprise for me being Emu Music and Alanna's great lead vocal and the last track from these guys. Keswick needs to highlight more music like this last track to help it shake of some of the more traditional image that the rest of this album conveys. In 2019 both Colin Webster and Emu Music are back again leading worship on weeks 1 and 2 respectively with Olly Knight heading up week 3.

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