Music Review: The Table by Ian Zumback

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May 14, 2018
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Music Review: The Table by Ian Zumback
"Entertaining Angels" Ian Zumback feat. Brothers McClurg & Keri Cardinale (Official Video)
Ian Zumback (feat. Jessica Crawford) - Murderer a Messenger (Official Video)

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£7.99 (amazon)

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At the heart of Ian’s ministry through music is a desire to refresh and comfort others (Acts 3:19, 2 Cor. 1:3-4); to build community through relationships (Acts 2:46); to point others to Jesus (John 3:30); to touch lives (Isaiah 61:4); and to be used to reconcile others to God through Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 5:20).

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The Table by Ian Zumback
Overall rating 
 
10.0
Vocals 
 
10.0
Lyrics 
 
10.0
Originality 
 
10.0
Value 
 
10.0
Personal Rating 
 
10.0

If I had to say that Ian Zumback reminded me of anyone, I would have to say Michael Card. That's not just because he looks a little like the Michael Card of yesteryear, but because there is something about the way that he brings across the story's through his songs. One thing that Ian has done on this album is to bring Bible stories to life through his own viewpoint and his musical style.

The album kicks off with a voicemail that is rather difficult to listen to. It's actually Ian's dad relating how tough he is finding things at the moment and struggling to see the reason for everything that he is going through. Like the music that follows on this album, it's very genuine and raw! As the strumming starts "Down In My Soul" is not really an answer for his Dad, but more like a comfort that he is not alone, other people are going through those times as well right now. The attitude of the album picks up with the knowledge that a "Promise Is A Promise" and that we have a promise from God that He has a plan for us, to prosper us and not to harm us (Jeremiah 29:11). God keeps his word, there is hope and this song brings something of the joy that this idea brings.

It's the title track that really hits home hard if you understand the story behind the song. This song is all about that well known Biblical character called Mephibosheth, and more importantly King David's promise to his good friend and his mortal enemy's son Jonathan. This song is about David searching for Mephibosheth who was lame and the last remnant of Saul's house, and inviting him to live and dine with him. Of course there are some very clear parallels with Jesus making us a place at the table with Him, invited in as a member of the family.

There are stories of positivity and inclusion such as "Entertaining Angels" which reminds me a little of a Southern Gospel style song and talks about the kindness that we should show to everyone. We need to reach out to love and serve others, something we seem to somehow miss sometimes in our Christian lives, because we may be too busy judging them for their lifestyle instead! Other encouragement comes in "Hope Beyond Despair" reminding us again that God is faithful and strong, even in our weakness. Arguably the second most important track on this album is "Resurrect Me", which reflects a bit of a spiritual death, while on the outside things might look fine, inside there is an emptiness, but the words recall Sunday school lessons or the words of a preacher, and the singer has a simple request, to be resurrected!

Another story song is the brilliant "Brother To Brother" which features vocals from Weston Skaggs and is the story of Paul and Peter from the incident related by Paul in Galatians 2. Peter had been responding to pressure from the Jewish part of the Christian community and their views regarding the newer Gentile believers, so Peter was shunning the Gentiles at the meals and not eating with the 'uncircumcised'. In the song Paul reminds Peter that they should be loved all the same, that some shouldn't be shunned because they didn't have the same background and customs as both Peter and Paul. The song, I imagine, is possibly somewhat softer than the rebuke that Paul probably gave Peter, but it also implies a point for us. We cannot expect new Christians, or even those who come in off the streets, who haven't been versed in the faith, to follow our traditions that are extra-Biblical! There are another couple of tracks on the album that relate directly back to Scripture in "Song of Songs" and the interesting track which finishes the album "Manasseh" which seems to be the story of Joseph, but told from the point of naming his first son, born to him in Egypt, before his brothers came back.

Every strum of the guitar seems loaded with promise on this album, along with every unconventional effect for instruments, backing and percussion. This is a hugely compelling album and Ian has brought something that has real depth and emotion, as well as teaching and promise all mixed in with strong elements of worship. Inviting us to the table to partake of this meal and to experience those different situations with the promise that God doesn't fail us, just like he never failed Joseph, and he loves us, just like the subject of the song of songs, and that we need to love others because we might be entertaining angels unaware! I've listened to this album over and over whilst I've been working and travelling and I'm finding more I love about it each time. 

RA

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