Monday, January 30, 2017

The Gospel - Lauren Talley - CD Review

It's the first CD review for 2017 projects, and the project I'm reviewing is Lauren Talley's new solo CD The Gospel. This is Lauren's fifth solo project and the first one since 2010. For this project, Lauren not only serves as singer and producer, but she also was a co-writer on four of the 10 songs.

Lauren had a who's who of artists joining her for this project - Brian Free & Assurance, Gordon Mote, Cindy Morgan and Riley Harrison Clark. Chris Allman and Amber Eppinette even joined her with background vocals.

It doesn't take you long listening to see the central theme of the gospel evident, but it's woven in each song.

No contest, my favorite song on this CD is "Everything." The first time I listened through the CD, I hit repeat on the song, and then I hit repeat again. The song speaks to a lot of those secret thoughts we don't really want to admit - feeling alone in a crowded room, feeling like we can't ever measure up. I can see a lot of people like myself resonating with the message and lyrics of the song. Thankfully, Jesus is everything. He's the arms that hold us. He's the one we need. It's not only lyrically so strong, but it's beautifully done. Cindy Morgan joins Lauren for the duet part.

A close second would be "Our Song Will Be Jesus." If you didn't get the chance to check out Lauren's release party via Facebook Live, the video is here. She talked about this song and the inspiration for it, seeing the trend of churches to get away from preaching the gospel and getting away from the fundamental truths of the faith. When the bad news comes and in the last days, as Christians we need to know how to stand. We need to remember Who and what we stand for and believe in. We need to be ready for our song to be Jesus no matter what happens. The song is a beautiful reminder of His faithfulness.

I love hearing Riley Harrison Clark and Lauren sing together. Their version of "The Prayer" is one of my favorites. Their duet is the Kristyn Getty song, "What Grace Is Mine." It's just beautiful from their vocals to the arrangement.

Brian Free & Assurance join Lauren on "I Believe." This song is the first one on the CD and really sets the theme of "the gospel." It talks about the strength of our faith that God will do what He says.

'The God Who Never Changes" is probably the most progressive song on the project. It's a song that you can't help get stuck in your head, but it's a great message to be reminded of throughout the day -- we can always count on the God Who never changes. "I Hear a Song" is the first single of the project and another fun, uptempo song. This is the song that Lauren sings with Gordon Mote.

Lauren shows how versatile her voice is with the variety of styles on this project from the contemporary "The Cradle, the Cross and the Crown" to the classic hymn "Hallelujah, What a Savior" to the upbeat "I Hear a Song." This is the first must-buy CD of 2017, definitely one you should add to your collection.

Songs to put on repeat: "Everything" and "Our Song Will Be Jesus"

Songs to turn up: "I Hear a Song" and "The God Who Never Changes"

Song to give a second listen (those songs that don't necessarily stand out on a first listen-through but then become a "repeat" song): "The Blood of Jesus Speaks for Me"

Song List -
1. "I Believe"
2. "The Cradle, the Cross and the Crown"
3. "I Am Not Ashamed"
4. "I Hear a Song"
5. "Everything"
6. "The God Who Never Changes"
7. "Our Song Will Be Jesus"
8. "The Blood of Jesus Speaks for Me"
9. "Hallelujah, What a Savior"
10. "What Grace Is Mine"

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