Hailing from Canada, Integrity Music's Joel Augé (pronounced "Ozhay") comes to us with his debut record, On The Blue. Although a newcomer to listeners, Joel is not new to worship music. He serves as the worship leader for The Meeting House family of churches. However, the worship music market is a crowded one these days. The question at hand is how Joel fits into the mix.
The record opens with "So Deep In Love With You," with just Augé's voice and gradually builds as it progresses. The first thing to note is that Augé has a strong and likable singing voice. Appropriately titled, the song deals with someone who is falling in love with God. The next song, "Where You Go I Got," has a slow groove to it and is quite catchy.
This record isn't very diverse musically, however. Although there are some tweaks on the prototypical modern worship song, they aren't necessarily drastic ones. "Every Heart," "Even The Rocks," "Miracle Love" and most of the rest of the record are acoustic/clean guitar driven numbers that you find already permeate much of the genre.
Lyrically, Augé puts his love and devotion out there. It's pretty apparent that he's someone who understands worship and how to lead others into it. Some of the songs are easy to follow and easy to sing along with. This will probably garner the music some attention by churches looking to update their music selection for worship services.
The whole record has a very laid back feel. There's nothing here that's going to get your blood pumping too fast ("Even The Rocks" comes the closest). It almost has a coffee house vibe to it. This helps to give it some uniqueness, but unfortunately it also amounts to little of the record leaving much of a lasting impression.
Augé scores points for trying a few different things in a very over-saturated worship market. If you're looking for something to chill out and worship to then this is probably the record for you. If your desires are something more up-tempo to clap your hands to and get fired up... then you'd be better off checking one of the other thousands of worship artists. This one is solid, but probably not for everyone.- Review date: 6/21/08, written by Matt Johnson
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