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JFH Music Review

Sarah Kelly
Born To Worship

Artist Info: Discography
Album length: 10 tracks: 43 minutes, 44 seconds
Street Date: April 1, 2008

Just four years ago, Gotee Records recording artist Sarah Kelly made her label debut with Take Me Away. The title track from that album was a hit on the airwaves and the disc itself was warmly received by Christian music fans. In fact, Take Me Away even earned Kelly her first Grammy nomination for "Best Rock Gospel Album." Her follow-up project, Where the Past Meets Today, was also a hit with her many fans and brought her more notoriety as one of Christian music's best up-and-coming acts.

Although Sarah Kelly's music has always carried a strong worshipful feel, her songs were still easily classified in the "rock" category. However, her latest project, em>Born to Worship has a different sound from her previous two albums. Every track seems a bit more stripped down and simple than most of what we have heard from Kelly so far. In fact, Born to Worship makes this singer-songwriter sound more like she is leading a church choir rather than rocking it out on her guitar. However, this does seem to be an intentional shift for Kelly. One thing has stayed the same however: Kelly's rich, beautiful vocal skills. As displayed on each album, her raspy, powerful, commanding voice is one of the finest that I have heard in a long time.

Opening track "Brand New Day" immediately captures the essence of Sarah Kelly's latest release- upbeat, praise-filled, and heartfelt. "You Overwhelm Me" and "Everything to Me" both evoke images of a Sunday congregation worshipfully singing while being led by Kelly. The acoustic guitar driven "Not Quite Home Yet" encourages listeners to keep pressing on towards heaven while the jubilant "Glorious King" sings of God's eternal nature. "Beautiful God" pushes the envelope more than any other song on Born to Worship, with crashing symbols and a unique chord progression. One of the best tunes found here is a cover of the traditional hymn "Amazing Grace." Sarah Kelly's voice soars over a gentle yet stunning arrangement, beautifully finishing this ten song record.

Sarah Kelly's incredible voice and strong songwriting skills are what set her apart from the countless other worship-oriented singer-songwriters today. Though Born to Worship is a well-crafted worship project, it will be exciting to hear Sarah Kelly rocking out again someday.

- Review date: 3/31/08, written by Lauren Summerford

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JFH Staff's Second Opinion

Sarah Kelly brought a new dimension to worship music with her Gotee debut Take Me Away. With a voice that forcefully emoted her passion for Christ, Kelly was even more captivating in concert. Two years ago, she released the introspective, raw rock record Where The Past Meets Today in an effort to deal with her struggle with a series of abusive relationships. And since that stellar, emotionally-charged recording, Kelly has begun to return to her worship roots, giving birth to her latest project, Born To Worship. Unfortunately, some of the desperation felt in songs like "Take Me Away" is missed here as many of the songs on Born To Worship water her vocals down a bit or even incorporate choirs of voices that drown her out completely. Many worship leaders are more fit for leading worship than just singing solo, but with Kelly's voice, you don't really want to hear anyone else's over hers. One of the best things about her previous record was the intimacy of it. So even when she delivers a beautiful revisit of "Faithful Father," there's a strangely out of place male vocal in the background that throws off the song a bit. While there's nothing wrong with corporate worship, Kelly just plain excels at the more intimate material. But still, the album is far from a loss. Although some of the songs are your usual worship fare, it's still one of the better in the genre. Highlights include the tender "Sit With You Awhile" and "Not Quite Home Yet," and - although the last thing music needs right now is another rendition of "Amazing Grace" - Kelly actually produces the best version I've heard to date to bring the album to a close with its strongest track. - John DiBiase of


. Record Label: Gotee Records
. Album length: 10 tracks: 43 minutes, 44 seconds
. Street Date: April 1, 2008
. Buy It:

  1. Brand New Day
  2. You Overwhelm Me
  3. Glorious King
  4. Not Quite Home Yet
  5. Faithful Father
  6. Born To Worship
  7. Everything To Me
  8. Beautiful God
  9. Sit With You Awhile
  10. Amazing Grace
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