Release Date: January 29th 2016
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
- Ever Be
- Fear Not
- God Evermore
One of the most underrated worship artists of this generation, Aaron Shust’s rise to stardom and fame came almost overnight with the release of his chart-topping single “My Saviour, My God” way back in 2005. Since then, he has released hit after hit after hit, from “To God Alone”, “Give It All Away”, “My Hope is in You” and “We are Free”, to “God of Brilliant Lights”, “No One Higher” and more recently “To the Only God”. 5 albums later, Aaron is now a seasoned veteran, and a singer/songwriter whose heart it is to allow his songs to minister to listeners as they are called into a space of worship and reverence. While not necessarily as popular as other worship artists like Chris Tomlin, Crowder, Jesus Culture, Hillsong or Bethel Music; what Aaron delivers is a sense of raw-and-real-ness. His latest album Doxology was one that was under-the-radar production-wise, even up until release date, yet it became one of my favourite albums of 2015. Though not as polished/clean as a song by Chris Tomlin would sound, Aaron’s music still showcases an atmosphere of worship in and amidst the chaos which is our everyday lives.
Again released without much press, Aaron’s EP aptly titled Ever Be after the popular Bethel song that has been ever so popular this last year, is full of poignancy and heart as these 3 songs lay down what could be the core of his next album, whenever that may be. Emotion and truth is again displayed, even if the number of songs were few (after track three, I almost wished Aaron released more songs on Ever Be– that’s how captivating Aaron’s songwriting/singing has been these last few years!). And while I still, even after listening to his EP, will probably be partial to music of Chris Tomlin or Crowder, Aaron’s music is still refreshing, humbling, poignant and heartfelt. Ever Be is an EP certain to be enjoyed by fans of the worship genre, Bethel Music, Aaron’s music, or all of the above!
With the first track of the three being “Ever Be”, a song recently written and recorded by Bethel Music on their 2015 album We Will Not Be Shaken, Aaron’s imaging of this fan favourite has been nothing less than powerful and poignant. With the first cover of the song being on Natalie Grant’s 2015 album Be One, the song embodies all of what it means for us to worship God. It is primarily the chorus that makes me want to break into song and sing alongside Aaron, as he fervently reminds us all that ‘…Your praise will ever be on my lips…’, a notion that it is out of our love for our Father because of what He has done, that we will praise Him, not by any other reason. Clocking in at a length of 3:50 (an ‘acceptable’ length if you want your song to succeed on radio), Aaron invites us all to declare God on our lips no matter what the circumstance, that in every moment and in every season, His praise should be what we sing about. “Fear Not” and “God Evermore”, round out the short EP of 3 tracks, with “Fear Not” bringing to us a CCM-esque melody about the message of us not fearing about our circumstances, knowing full well that we ought to ‘…fear not, I am with you, every step you take is met with grace, you don’t have to be afraid…’, while the 5 minute “God Evermore”, a potential single after “Ever Be”, is a powerful piano prominent ballad fit for a place in Sunday morning worship services as Aaron sings about the qualities of God, that ‘…we adore You, lifting praises to God evermore…’
While the only complaint is that the EP is too short, what Aaron has given to us recently is the element of surprise. It happened once with the release of his full-length album Doxology and again with his EP. Maybe another collection of new material in 2016 as well? Who knows. What we do know is that Aaron’s songwriting in the worship ‘genre’ is something that is underrated in an industry that needs much more overhaul than people care to admit. Not as popular as Aaron could be, yet still humble enough to deliver songs full of heart and fervent urgency, Aaron’s songs are just as eloquent, emotional and encouraging as any other song from Bethel, Hillsong, Jesus Culture or Passion. On the same label as other prominent artists like Andrew Peterson, Lauren Daigle, Carrollton, Jordan Feliz and Lauren Daigle (to name a few); Aaron’s home of Centricity Music have done a great job in cultivating Aaron and his music, with both Doxology, Ever Be and his 2013 album Morning Rises being some of his most mature (lyrically and musically) material yet. Well done Aaron for such an enjoyable EP experience. Here’s to the next set of original material, whenever it arises!
3 songs to listen to: All of them
RIYL: Hillsong UNITED, Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, Lauren Daigle, Bethel Music