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JFH Staff Review


Christopher Williams, We Will Remember: Songs Inspired by the Book of Joel
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Christopher Williams
We Will Remember: Songs Inspired by the Book of Joel



Genre(s): Folk / Folk Rock
Album length: 12 tracks: 49 minutes, 58 seconds
Street Date: February 8, 2019


READER RATING:   


It's not uncommon for Christian artists to draw inspiration for their songs from the Bible, whether standalone verses, larger passages, or whole books. Usually the popular texts come from the New Testament or Psalms, with a few snippets here and there from the wider Old Testament. Christopher Williams, however, chose a unique approach in writing an album inspired by the book of Joel, a three-chapter work by one of the "minor" prophets. The project started as a companion CD for Jaco Hamman's The Millennial Narrative: Sharing a Good Life with the Next Generation, a book that focused on Joel's message. Williams' effort, We Will Remember: Songs Inspired by the Book of Joel, is a full twelve tracks of folk rock written, performed, and recorded by a diverse community of musicians, reflecting the album's theme of remembering God's faithfulness as a body of believers.

The challenge of taking a book of the Bible (especially one like Joel) and writing songs around it is capturing the spirit of the work while making it accessible to a wide audience. The Inspired By… part of the subtitle should be remembered here as Williams never gets quite as dark as the prophet. That's not to say that there is a complete lack of heaviness! The first four tracks lean into the desperation of hard times, but there's always a gleam of hope just beyond the horizon focusing on God's love and the need to share these moments with the community. The music also reflects this mood somewhat, but never wallows in the darkness. "Remember and Proclaim" denotes a shift in tone with guest vocalist Rachel Taylor singing from God's perspective and offering hope for His people. The rest of the album bounces back and forth between personal moments and congregational anthems. This helps add depth and gives the record more playability and scope, never leaning too much in one direction.

The fact that We Will Remember is more of a loose "paraphrase" of Joel, instead of a more faithful "adaptation," might initially be a turn-off to some. If that makes you avoid listening to it, you will be doing yourself a disservice. Various phrases and imagery from the prophet make their way into the songs and it would take reading the original text to catch them all. Drawing the listener to Scripture at the end of it all may be the greatest value of a project like this. The lyrics are simple and straightforward, occasionally slipping into cliché but always feeling original. There are also great moments like the chorus of "Because You Are," "I am/Because You are/Because You are/I am." You can mull over that statement for some time and find much to chew on. Other little nuggets like that are throughout this record. You have worship, lament, prayer, and dedications all wrapped up into one epic project and it works well. Christopher Williams' latest doesn't break much ground, but it is the kind of album sadly lacking in Christian music today and one that is highly worth considering.

- Review date: 6/5/19, written by John Underdown of Jesusfreakhideout.com

 

. Record Label: BiG ReD VaN Music
. Album length: 12 tracks: 49 minutes, 58 seconds
. Street Date: February 8, 2019
. Buy It: iTunes
. Buy It: AmazonMP3

  1. Hear This (3:21)
  2. Cry Out to You (feat. Rachel Taylor) (3:30)
  3. Because You Are (5:05)
  4. I Cannot Know You (4:17)
  5. Remember and Proclaim (feat. Rachel Taylor) (4:53)
  6. I Am Not Alone (4:57)
  7. Pour Your Spirit Out (4:32)
  8. Dwelling Place (3:42)
  9. Deeper Well (4:32)
  10. Send Me (3:48)
  11. The River (3:54)
  12. We Will Remember (3:27)

 



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