Release Date: May 13th 2015
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
- We Believe
- Until My Voice Is Gone
- Forever Holy
- You Are Able
- You Hold It All
- Holy Spirit Come
- Never Give Up On Me
- The Goodness of the Lord
- The Cross Was Meant For Me
- Your Love Set My Soul On Fire
- You Come Running (Studio)
Similar vocally and musically to Paul Baloche, Integrity Music worship artist Travis Ryan made a huge impression with listeners and critics alive with his debut solo album Fearless in 2012, with the Saddleback Church worship pastor delivering an honest, moving and confident debut. Now fast forward more than three years later, and Travis’s sophomore project has arrived- a twelve song live worship anthem, titled Until My Voice Is Gone; comprising of 7 brand new worship songs as well as all songs from his 2015 EP You Hold All. A testament of God’s faithfulness, in the beautiful and the gut-wrenching circumstances and situations God has led Travis on; the moving, inspiring, honest and deeply personal worship experience, isn’t like anything I have heard this year.
With an accomplished, skilful and matured sound similar to Steve Fee or Matthew West, Travis Ryan’s prowess as a writer and singer, evident in his first album and also his latest EP, carries on here as well, as he has captivated me with every song. With the overall theme of the album being that God holds everything in the palm of his hand, that everything we are going through can and will be used by God for good and His glory, and hence we can live in complete freedom and sing until our voices are gone; these 12 songs are something to behold, as Travis’ raw emotions and heart for Jesus are captured fittingly and quite exquisitely. This project is definitely a breath of fresh air that is revitalising and enjoyable to listen to.
With the first five songs already familiar, as part of the live EP You Hold It All; we open up with “We Believe”, co-written with Richie Fike and Matt Hooper, and are introduced to a chilling piano undertone as well as some light electronic and synth effects. With this emphatic track basically sings out the Nicene Creed, professing what we as Christians believe about Jesus Christ, this is a worship anthem for believers, and we can say without question that we believe in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (the Trinity), the crucifixion, the resurrection, and the second coming of Jesus Christ on Judgement Day in the future. As Travis belts out that ‘…the gates of hell will not prevail, for the power of God, has torn the veil, now we know Your love will never fail; we believe…’, the anthem that was made popular by Newsboys; is sure to inspire and comfort at any time!
“Until My Voice Is Gone”, the title track of new album, is a simple worship anthem driven by strong electric guitar, vividly and depicting the notion that no other one like Jesus can save us from our sin, and there is no one else like Jesus, so we can and should praise Him all day long. As Travis fervently cries out that ‘…I raise my hands till my strength has faded, stand in awe until my knees give way, I will lift my voice and shout a grateful song, I will sing, I will sing until my voice is gone…’, that kind of dedication to Jesus and reminder of His sovereignty should make us so excited, and should make us want to give an active and outward expression of that excitement.
While the piano led ballad “Forever Holy” (which later transforms to an epic orchestral like high scale production) recounts to us that Jesus reigns forever, deserving all the praise; and in spite of our own circumstances. God was, is and is yet to come, and He loves us very much, of which the extent of God’s love boggles the mind, and that should be reason enough to give God all the glory.
The piano led, later on guitar focused worship anthem “You Are Able”, the penultimate song on the EP and fourth on this album, stands tall at 7 minutes, and has Travis ardently and passionately crying out that ‘…You are able, more than able, to lift my weary soul, You are able, more than able, You never let me go…’. With the prayer “You Are Able” being simple lyrically, but nonetheless is impacting, as we praise our Lord and Saviour; it is the EP closer and midpoint of the current album, that holds a special place in Travis’ heart, and the message and delivery show that it’s probably the most personal and emotional song of the year thus far! Covered by Newsboys also (this time on their album Love Riot!); “You Hold It All” was inspired by Travis Ryan and his wife’s miscarriage and the subsequent birth of his daughter, and is a reminder that God holds the whole world together, and loves us each more than enough. Jesus holds each one of our lives together, knowing the future, and guiding the plans He has for us. Driven by soft piano, and later on by big booming guitars and drums, this captivating and epic worship anthem is sure to bring healing to many lives, as Travis eloquently out exemplary and eternal truths in the chorus, that ‘…You stand alone in splendour, You reign in majesty, Your hands formed all creation, Your hands are holding me, You are my Hope forever, You are my sovereign King, You are my Friend and Saviour, You are my Everything…’.
The remainder of the six melodies are entirely brand new, but still heartfelt, personal and inspiring. Mid-tempo electric guitar led 7-minute worship anthem “Holy Spirit Come” majestically puts forth the notion of us praising God because He is holy, and as Travis highlights to us via a prayer to God that ‘…God our Father, we are waiting for Your Spirit, come fill this place, so bring Your fire, bring Your glory, come Jesus come…’, we are encouraged to join in also, and sing out to Jesus, asking Him to reveal more and more of Himself to us. Increasing the tempo with the more eclectic and vibrant melody “Never Give Up On Me”, Travis enters into pop and CCM territory, with a catchy repetitive chorus reminding me thematically and vocally of Matthew West or Josh Wilson, where we are reminded of God’s intense love for us, that He will always be with us and will never give up on us.
Inspired by Travis’ grandfather’s conversion of Christianity during the later stages of his life, “The Goodness Of The Lord” is probably one of the most personal and emotional melodies Travis has ever written, as we are introduced to a piano led inspiring and encouraging anthem, complete with an epic and explosive synth driven crescendo. While the piano prominent soft, reflective and contemplative hymn-like potential new single “The Cross Was Meant For Me” is another album highlight, as Travis earnestly recounts the power of the Cross where Jesus died, relaying to us that ‘…oh, my God you took the fall, paid the price to ransom all, forgave us our iniquity. The cross was meant for me…’. Travis also reiterates that Jesus loves each one of us so immensely, that He would lay down His love for us even if there was only one person alive on the planet. What a mind boggling concept this is!
“Soul On Fire” “(nope, not the inspiring smash hit from Third Day!) is a fun, celebratory ball of energy, as Travis engages audience to be enthusiastic about singing for Jesus, where we can fully express the sentiment of Jesus’ love setting our souls on fire; while the final melody on the album is the reverent, synth driven, honest and emotional “Heartbeat”, as Travis cries out to God, asking Him to ‘…let me feel Your heartbeat, draw me close to You…’. Standing tall at almost 7 minutes, Travis ardently sings in abandon and freedom, resulting in probably the best album closer since Building 429’s “Stronger” from their Unashamed album in 2015.
Co-produced by Michael Farren of Pocket Full Of Rocks, Travis Ryan‘s second release Until My Voice Is Gone is one to savour, and in my opinion is one of the strongest sophomore worship albums I’ve heard in a long time. Inclusive of a bonus studio song “You Come Running”, a radio friendly pop number, where Travis earnestly recounts how there is nothing we can do to make us unworthy of God and unloved, and that ‘…You come running, into all my brokenness, into all my hopelessness, I am not alone, You come running, even when I hide from You, there is nothing I can do to keep me from Your love, cause You come running…’ (similar in theme to the parable of the prodigal son!); Travis has indeed excelled in singing and writing worship anthems with a rockier edge, and it doesn’t hurt that the subject material is something we all need to hear. Humanity has always struggled with the notion of God holding everything together, and surrendering control over to Him and with Travis providing us with no-nonsense reassuring melodies that can give us hope, this release is somewhat necessary to listen to, as we shift our focus from doing everything ourselves, to letting God have control. Well done Travis for a compelling, hard hitting, necessary and also hopeful album; I look forward to your next album, whenever it releases!
3 songs to listen to: You Hold It All, The Cross Was Meant For Me, Heartbeat
RIYL: Chris Tomlin, Paul Baloche, Michael W Smith, The City Harmonic