This is an installment in the periodic Monday Worship Music series which looks at hymns and other topics related to worship music of the church. Other, related posts are here. Today, I’m offering another of my past reviews of worship music—music that would be considered “contemporary” by most, but probably considered “passé” by the movers-shakers of 2015.
You Are I Am
Darrell Evans, Vertical Music (Integrity)
by Brian Casey
Riding the wings of Integrity’s bright new GenX-oriented Vertical Music label comes You Are I Am, a solo project by Darrell Evans.
Stylistically varied, this album features four-time Integrity veteran Evans’s intensely personal writing as well as his steel-strong vocal performance, which is best on the up-tempo, more boisterous cuts. Ad libs over accessibly simple chord progressions, found throughout, lend themselves to unstructured, free worship.
The title cut’s artful couplets reach lyrically gifted Evans’s goal — expressiveness in “painting lyrical pictures.” God’s self-existence is at the fore in this driving-yet-intimate song of the inextricable relationship with His adoring creatures.
In “I Want To Know You,” the bold percussion and breathy vocal production are attention-grabbers. Studio effects bolster the utterly compelling lyrics; Evans truly wants to be “intimately entangled” with Yahweh.
“My God Reigns,” a repetitive, feel-good tune released twice previously, is sure to be a congregational favorite. An effective responsive section and high-energy drums are added to a muscular, kick-it-in rendition of “We Will Embrace Your Move” (first heard on Integrity’s “Songs from the Message — the Way of Love”).
Though their tastes are too diverse for simplistic summaries, GenXers often need more than musical “style” in order to connect. Even on the least substantive track, “New Song Arisin’,” the message blazes. (And the ethnic-flair percussion isn’t too gimmicky!) The vocals and a convincing, imploring lead guitar are the most impressive features on “Let the River Flow” (also on Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship’s Catch the Fire 4).
The absolutely captivating tonal tapestry of “I Surrender” poignantly urges resignation to the Lord, but the eminently personal “I Am Yours” is even more congregation-friendly. “Take Me Away with You” impels the worshipper to eternal realms reserved only for God and His children.
There’s no question that Evans is in touch with GenX and what gets into their spirits. If you’re energized by the passionate, soulful, “vertical” meditations, you’ll want this recording.
– Brian Casey