In 2007, Mac Powell of Third Day and author and minister David Nasser collaborated with some of the biggest names in Christian music for Glory Revealed: The Word of God in Worship, the first installment of a new worship collection like the City on a Hill series. The multiple Dove Award winning album featured a mix of Americana musical influences and lyrics lifted straight from Scripture. Two years later, they have teamed up again with returning favorites and a few new artists for the sequel Glory Revealed II.
From start to finish, it's clear that this is not the average worship music. Glory Revealed II is the creative result of artists living and writing and playing music together, and that sense of community is evident in all of the songs. Most tracks feature two or three artists sharing vocal duties. The music has a rootsy folk and bluegrass feel that evokes a relaxed front porch atmosphere, a sound that is the charm of the Glory Revealed series.
The album starts with the energetic opener "How Great." Mac Powell's voice is unmistakable from the start, and the song sounds like it could be a lost track from Third Day's Offerings sessions, until Shane Everett (Shane & Shane), Jonathan Shelton, and Brian Littrell join in. Another fun highlight is "Wake Up, Oh Sleeper" featuring Jason Crabb and Shelton with an appearance by Needtobreathe frontman Bear Rinehart. It's the most traditional bluegrass/Southern gospel track, a sound that was off-putting at first, but soon won me over through the sheer fun of it. The lead single "Since the World Began" leans more toward radio-friendly pop, but it's a reverent and beautiful piece that reminds me of earlier folk-driven CCM, like Bebo Norman's debut.
The style works well at first, but loses steam after a while, settling into a uniform, mellow sound somewhere toward the middle. "There is a City" by Sara Evans and Bethany Olds stands out and wakes the playlist up a bit with a traditional country sound, but for the most part Glory Revealed II could have used a little variety to keep the 44 minute runtime interesting. The closing track "To You be the Glory" is pretty, but forgettable compared to the album's best moments.
It's tricky to summarize a project like this. Glory Revealed II is art for art's sake, a group of musician friends getting together to write and share as an act of worship, and fans of the series or those looking for some relaxed and different worship music might want to add this to their collection. Still, as much as I wanted to love it, the style was so comfortable and the lyrics had such an easy familiarity that I found myself wishing for something more. Except for a few standout tracks, it's easy for the casual listener to let this one slide by as background music.- Review date: 7/8/09, written by Jen Rose of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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