Darrell Evans might not be as big a name in the worship music marketplace as the likes of Chris Tomlin or David Crowder, but it's a refreshing thing to have one's songs make the impact. "Let The River Flow," "Trading My Sorrows" and "I Lay Me Down" formed a cornerstone for modern worship music back in the 90's, and Evans has continued to put out albums and tour in a low-key fashion since that time.
With his slightly husky baritone voice and unassuming nature, Evans comes across as an "every man" songwriter, and new album Awesome God Is He (despite the slightly awkward phrasing of that title) is a solid, sometimes great album of honest worship tunes that re-introduces Evans and "blue collar" worship to the masses.
Pounding drums and a swirling Hammond B3 organ crash out of the speakers on first track, "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God," and Evans gives his best Bruce Springsteen impression with a tune that would not sound out of place on The Boss's latest albums. As great and energetic as this track is, it loses points for stealing the title of one of the most well-know hymns out there (by a certain Protestant Church-starting founding father, Martin Luther) and not incorporating any of that well-known song into this one.
Second number "Alive" makes great use of the now uber-popular banjo, and continues the streak of meat-and-potatoes worship tunes that earns points for honest rock and roll production and heartfelt deliveries. Title track "Awesome God Is He" builds nicely and has a great guitar riff at the end that harkens back to a day when a good guitar solo was a mandatory feature on the music landscape.
Unfortunately, after the fine "You Could Never Be Praised Enough" (with its fantastic, impassioned vocals) and the folksy, stomping "Freedom Is The Song," come four songs that glide by the ears without making much of an impact. It seems like the folks who sequenced the album realized this and stuck these tunes at the back end of the album.
Thankfully, the album's best, most intimate number, "Oh What A Wonder," brings the album to an honest, meditative close. Again, channeling Springsteen, Evans plucks out a quiet tune that sounds like it was delivered at the end of a long day in the studio. Sometimes delivery is everything, and on this track Evans sings in a hushed tone that feels just about right when it comes to quiet worship and wonder. And as it closes the album, it is apparent that it's good to have Darrell Evans back.- Review date: 9/22/13, written by Alex "Tincan" Caldwell of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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