Release Date: June 3rd 2014
Reviewed by Joshua Andre
- Oh Hallelujah
- Letting Go
- Your Love
- Fervor Of The King
- The Moment We’ve Been Waiting For
- Glory All Around
- When I Speak Your Name
- What Is Your Name?
“…The decision to record a solo project actually came several years ago. I’m a worship leader at my church, The Grove, in Hercules, CA and have noticed over the years that what I do on stage with Selah is a little bit different than what I do on a Sunday morning at church. It’s all still worship, but there’s a freedom in worship leading; you can sing a song for 8 minutes if you want! And I felt like there were songs I’d written and that I loved that didn’t exactly fit what Selah was doing. I just wanted to be able to express myself musically…” Signed to Curb Records, Dove Award winning CCM vocal trio Selah have recorded many albums since 1999. With heartfelt melodies and soft piano pieces moving us into communion with Jesus; Allan Hall, Todd Smith and Amy Perry each sing eloquently, powerfully and beautifully, praises to Jesus, as well as bringing to the fore words of encouragement and impact.
As Selah release their new album in August 2014, called You Amaze Us; Amy Perry has now unveiled her debut praise and worship album Glory All Around, a praise and worship album similar to Selah’s style of music, but with more creatively daring musical styles interwoven throughout. With Amy wowing us with her incredible voice, and inviting us to be in communion with our Father and our Saviour, all of these 10 soothing, contemplative, as well as upbeat tracks, have shown us that Amy is one of today’s most underrated female vocalists. Hopefully this album can gain her (as well as Selah), more fans and more recognition. With a strong vocal similar to Natalie Grant or Mandisa, these tracks are fit for singing at church in a corporate setting; and no doubt after this album people will be taking notice of Amy Perry’s name from now on! A joy to listen to, I think this album is set to be in my top 25 albums list come the end of the year.
Opening the album is the mid tempo 90’s reminiscent acoustic guitar led praise tune “Oh Hallelujah”! Simple in its execution yet profound and potent lyrically, we are met with a vivid description of the indescribable qualities of God, with the chorus being the reverent and contemplative refrain of ‘…oh hallelujah, oh hallelujah, that’s what I keep singing…’, where Amy’s exquisite voice shines through with professional aplomb. A brilliant opener and a song that could be sung at church on Sundays; the tempo slows down considerably for the next few tracks.
For a voice as beautiful and powerful as Amy’s, it’s a no-brainer that my favourite songs from her on this album are the slower paced ballads driven by keys to accentuate her voice and bring forth the lyrics and their meaning. On “Faithful” (no, not the Hawk Nelson tune!), we are met with a serene and calm piano driven track (which later builds into an epic anthemic guitar led worship song!), where the unending faithfulness of God is explored. Amy is once again at her brilliant best vocally, singing about the fact that Jesus never leaves us and that He always keeps His promises, that ‘…You are faithful to me, I am not afraid, no matter where I go, You will never leave me, for in You I am home…’; and the captivating choir joining Amy in this song is a nice touch as well, giving the song depth, as is the free worship/spontaneous worship near the end.
While the personal and emotional “Letting Go” (a typical soaring piano focused worship ballad akin to something Avalon would record), inspired by Amy’s breakthrough with low self-esteem due to her weight, is sure to bring freedom to many who listen particularly if they are wrestling with issues and doubt as well (as Amy emphatically encourages us to lay everything down to Jesus and let go); the completely acoustic “Your Love” is where Amy gratefully sings about God’s love, that it ‘…cannot be measured, Your love goes on forever, Your love cannot be treasured enough…’, and is vocally a challenge and a benchmark at the same time to young female vocalists.
“Fervor Of The King”, driven by light piano and acoustic guitar, is a soft reflective piece that was written by Jennie Lee Riddle, and could be easily classified as a modern hymn if sung often enough in the near future. Having that ‘timeless’ atmosphere, as well as Amy’s eloquent and moving vocals shining once again, she passionately sings about the gospel, that ‘…redemption’s cost is settled, we will sing forever hallelujah, hallelujah…’, and it’s nice to hear a children’s choir in the track as well, as an orchestral feel is depicted, adding weight to the power of the lyrics and Amy’s vocals. Amy then launches into a superior (in my opinion) cover of Fike’s “The Moment We’ve Been Waiting For”. Opening with a haunting synth and programming riff, as well as Amy’s ever reliable pristine vocals, we are given a glimpse of what the second coming of Jesus and our arrival to heaven could be like. It is these lyrics alone (such as in the chorus: The morning lights, oh my soul, sing your song of praise to Him, He’s brought about the death of night) that makes me excited about this song, with Amy faithfully encouraging us to keep pushing forward and never lose focus of the day when we will see Jesus face to face.
Though ballads and mid-tempo songs are her forte and where she excels at the most; Amy does throw in a couple of upbeat musically different tracks, just to show us how versatile she is in her styles and genres. “Fearless”, something that you would hear from Mandisa or Nicole C. Mullen, may be lyrically simple, but the pop/R&B flavoured danceable melody (with hints of brass instruments?) is super catchy, and the theme of being fearless for Jesus, as Amy lists off instances in the Bible where many people were fearless for Jesus, just to give us encouragement and inspiration to be different from the crowd, to share our faith and to stand up for what we believe in. The title track, written by Kari Jobe and Jared Anderson, oozes out a celebratory and triumphant tone, as Amy shouts praise and gives God the honour and glory in this 3 minute corporate worship anthem. Driven by authoritative keys and heart pulling guitar riffs, this song seems destined for radio and/or the Sunday set list, and it’s great to see Amy’s joy and heart for Jesus be infectious and contagious here.
The final two tracks bring Amy back what she knows and does the best- her piano prominent ballad and worship anthems, and it is then when we see her in her element. “When I Speak Your Name”, a quiet, calm, reflective slow ballad, with the keys in the forefront, has Amy declaring the awesome, beautiful things that occur when we speak Jesus’ name: ‘…mountains move, chains are loose…darkness flees, it has no hold on me…the only name that brings freedom and hope…’, which I am in total awe about. If this song doesn’t get you pumped up in worshipping Jesus, I am not sure what will. Glory All Around wraps up with the 7 minute gem and duet with Matthew Darren, “What Is Your Name?”. Channelling her inner Natalie Grant vocally, Amy saves her best performance for last, as she delivers a power packed performance and an earnest and humble prayer at the same time. Vulnerable, emotional, poignant and heartfelt, this song epitomises the theme of drawing close to God, as Amy asks God to reveal more and more of Himself to her every day. Singing in harmony and beautifully with Matthew Darren; it is this worship melody that makes me want to press repeat on Amy Perry’s first solo album, and is sure to give this album lasting value as I recommend it to friends and family.
What could you ask for more in a debut album? With Amy Perry’s Glory All Around, you have inspiring and moving piano led ballads, rousing and captivating mid-tempo worship songs, and a few upbeat tracks for variety. While this is not a sign that Selah is breaking up, Glory All Around has convinced me that Amy has to record a second solo album as soon as she can- these songs are so good, and thoroughly enjoyable, hopefully ministering to listeners as well. A must for fans of worship music, you cannot go wrong with Amy Perry’s Glory All Around! Bring on You Amaze Us by Selah; I can’t wait for that album!
3 songs to listen to: Fervor Of The King, Fearless, What Is Your Name
RIYL: Natalie Grant, Kari Jobe, Avalon, Selah, Amy Grant