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MJ Birch
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MJ Birch
Great is Your Name O God

Street Date: May 31, 2023
Style: Indie / Alternative / Rock / Worship
Buy It: Apple Music
Buy It: Amazon




Back in April of 2022, Australian artist MJ Birch released the title track of his new album, Great is Your Name O God. After this, he released four additional singles all while battling chronic tinnitus. MJ was finally able to release his full-length debut album in May of 2023. Great is Your Name O God is a rocking worship album that lifts up the name of Jesus at every turn. Musically, the album hearkens back to the early 2000's era worship music where bands weren't afraid to rock, and it was long before the reverb and delay drenched the sounds of today. I miss the days when lyrics could be worshipful, but the music sounded like any other artist that you'd listen to outside of the worship context.

Birch opens the album with the last single from 2022 -- the rollicking "Great and Glorious." This one is a solid choice for the opener and sets up the album on a wonderful upbeat note. This would easily be my pick as the favorite to put on and jam with. A couple of tracks later comes the Lifehouse-esque title track (discussed in greater detail here). The track still holds up extremely well after more than a year, and that guitar solo is still phenomenal! The tag here leads directly into the next track, "All of the Praise, All of the Glory." A soft piano part playing over an acoustic guitar carries the beginning of the song as a palm muted electric guitar joins in to build for the chorus. Birch sings, "All of the praise, all of the glory goes to You. All of my days I'm going to praise you; I'm not going to stop." It's a simple refrain and follows up with praises of "holy" before going into another big guitar solo. Birch does this without feeling performative or showy and it allows time for the lyrics to really resonate.

"This I Know (You Are Beautiful)" is a nice softer song, but "You Are the Answer / Sweetest Name" really steals the show. The softly picked acoustic guitar is the perfect vehicle to drive this one. The lyrics, "This world has nothing to turn my head, so I turn to face the One who raised the dead. Any by faith I see our loved ones turning too, as the light shines in us now shines in you" highlights the second verse. It's a great tune about turning to Jesus as the answer to any of our questions and struggles. The album closes out with the two-part "Open Up the Wells." "Open Up the Wells (Prologue)" is a slow moving number with a lightly overdriven guitar guiding things along initially before taking on a more driving rock feel as things slowly build throughout. "(Epilogue)," however, has a much different feel. It almost has a Santana type of vibe musically -- especially with the Latin inspired electric and acoustic guitar leads. The two tracks juxtapose nicely and lead to a rather entertaining finish to the album.

Great is Your Name O God is an enjoyable listen from front to back. There are great moments musically, fantastic guitar solos, and lyrics to move the listener to worship God, our Creator. The production here is top notch along with the vocals and musicianship. MJ Birch was able to fight through a medical condition that directly affects his hearing to put something like this together. This just shows us all that God is in control and we can overcome anything by His power and grace. Fans of pop/rock and worship music should undoubtedly give this debut album a listen.

- Review date: 6/30/22, written by Michael Weaver of Jesusfreakhideout.com



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. Record Label: None
. Album length: 8 tracks: 44 minutes, 36 seconds
. Street Date: May 31, 2023
. Buy It: Ditto (Various Retailers)

  1. Great and Glorious (6:34)
  2. Better Than Life (feat. White, Dan) (5:22)
  3. Great Is Your Name O God (8:23)
  4. All of the Praise, All of the Glory (6:14)
  5. This I Know (You Are Beautiful) (7:00)
  6. You Are the Answer / Sweetest Name (3:44)
  7. Open Up the Wells (Prologue) (4:31)
  8. Open Up the Wells (Epilogue) (2:44)

 

 

 

 

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