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JFH Music Review

Ghost Ship, The Good King

Ghost Ship
The Good King

Artist Info: Discography
Album length: 11 tracks: 44 minutes, 25 seconds
Street Date: June 11, 2013

If you have followed the "worship music" scene this year, you might have noticed an influx of releases from Mars Hill Music. The incredible offerings of such a motley crew have been welcomed with critical acclaim. However, with another full-length album can one of Mars Hill's most popular bands rise to the standard that those before them have set; where does Ghost Ship's The Good King fit into the mix?

The album begins on what seems to be a sad note with "Mediator." It's a cry for God's help in the midst of pain. While the message is not overtly sad, as it reflects on our need for Jesus, the overall tone carries a gritty tension of desperation. That tension is broken with "Orion" with a beautiful bluegrass-folk celebration of Christ's finished work on the cross. To complement this happy tone is the aggressive and serious "Lion Man." It truly captures the weightiness of God's wrath being transferred to Christ as He suffered and died in our place. Plus, if you're looking for something to sing with righteous anger - it is sure to fit the bill.

For those seeking a more mellow worshipful experience, Ghost Ship's rendition of "Holy Holy Holy" will surely bring a smile to your face. Its simple arrangement and bright sound honors the original song whilst updating it for today. Continuing with that cheerful sound is the stand-out track, "The Gospel." It's straight-forward joyful and biblical worship as lead singer Cam Huxford sings, "There is only one God. There is only one mediator standing between God and man. He's the only way to salvation." Good news with good music; not dressed up, but just raw, real, and beautiful.

The album concludes with the communal "What A Friend We Have In Jesus." Musically, it's a hoedown through and through. It'll get your feet tapping, and if you've got "yee-haw" hidden somewhere in your heart, it might find it's way out. Theologically, it really helps listeners ponder the truth that Jesus now calls us friends and we can now find joy, life, and peace because of Him.

So, without much estimation, it is easy to surmise that The Good King is surely good. However, it should be understood that the album is, in and of itself, a story. Some listeners may be put off by the folk/story format, while others may gravitate toward this style. Regardless, the loveliness of the narrative is complete truth: seeing our need for a savior, rejoicing that He is our king, and celebrating that He is our friend. Convicting truth combined with artful music and a hoedown to wrap it all up; that sounds like a party everyone should be a part of.

- Review date: 6/10/13, written by Ryan Barbee of

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JFH Staff's Second Opinion

There are good things coming from Mars Hill. The latest the young indie worshipping label has to offer is the full-length debut of a collective of carriers of the Holy Spirit who call themselves Ghost Ship. These folk-rockers certainly have a lot to offer their listeners, and The Good King is a definitely good album to start off with. With a style that combines a more folk-oriented version of Gungor with a more rock-oriented version of All Sons and Daughters, Ghost Ship definitely has hit the nail on the head in terms of creating an invigorating worship experience with their own unique twist. "Lion Man," while sticking out like a sore thumb in many ways, is truly the highlight here, offering an edge rarely heard in worship music nowadays, featuring distorted guitars amidst a dark backdrop of sounds while declaring, "Lion Man of Judah, won't you climb upon that tree? Lion Man of Judah, won't you die for me?" Other highlights include the gorgeous "Son of David," the upbeat and celebratory "The Truth," and the lyrical magnum opus "Where Were You." While never quite settling on one sound, there is a certain eeriness and hollowness that permeates The Good King that both unifies the band's experimentation with sounds and even further justifies the band's name. Lyrically, it is hard to ask for much more out of a worship band, as the aforementioned "Where Were You" indicates ("Where were you the day that I measured, Sunk the base and stretched the line over, All the earth and carved out its cornerstone" is one of many lyrical gems the song includes). Without a doubt, there is room for improvement for Ghost Ship, including a more certain settling on a particular signature sound, and there are the weaker tracks, like "Mediator" or "What a Friend We Have." But as far as debuts go, The Good King does everything that a band ought to do, and does it with impeccable quality. - Mark Rice, 6/9/13


. Record Label: Mars Hill Music/BEC Recordings
. Album length: 11 tracks: 44 minutes, 25 seconds
. Street Date: June 11, 2013
. Buy It: iTunes
. Buy It: Amazon Music (MP3)
. Buy It:

  1. Mediator (3:17)
  2. Orion (5:11)
  3. Lion Man (4:03)
  4. Jude Doxology (3:47)
  5. Son of David (4:15)
  6. The Truth (3:47)
  7. Holy Holy Holy (4:00)
  8. The Gospel (3:27)
  9. Behold the Lamb of God (4:18)
  10. Where Were You (4:00)
  11. What a Friend We Have in Jesus (4:20)


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