Release Date: April 28th 2015
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
- One Thing Remains
- Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)
- Purify My Heart (feat. Warren Jacobs)
- Forever Reign (feat. Ty Young)
- Whom Shall I Fear (God of Angel Armies)
- Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus (feat. Warren Jacobs)
- Give Me A Sign
- Voices Rise
It’s always interesting to see the amount of new, underexposed, often over-talented indie artists within the Christian market. Just check out noisetrade and bandcamp and you’d see what I mean. So to find an artist like Bridgette Hammers through a plethora of Christian music online is a feat in and of itself- to hear her album Voices Rise is literally a breath of fresh air- her voice alone is by far one of the strongest in the CCM industry currently (why isn’t she signed to a label yet?). With many achievements like singing the American national anthem at many sporting events, as well and lending her voice to the theme song of the cartoon Sabrina the Teenage Witch; Bridgette’s heart for worship, pop and delivering uplifting music is evident throughout these 8 tracks. With 5 covers and three original tracks, this is a perfect album for anyone who loves worship music in a similar vein to artists like Christy Nockels, Chris Tomlin or Phil Wickham. Reminding me vocally of artists like Moriah Peters or Britt Nicole, it’s only a matter of time before Bridgette is signed- and whenever she does, the CCM label community will be all the better for it!
Glancing through the 8 song lineup, it’s great to see songs like “Oceans”, “Whom Shall I Fear”, “One Thing Remains” and “Forever Reign”, hits from the last few years, be covered by Bridgette- even popular hymn “Tis So Sweet” is given a unique arrangement as these melodies are what drew me to the EP initially. The themes of these songs firmly grounded in worship- “Oceans” speaks about us delving deeper into the unknown and walking on the waves in spite of how or what we feel, while “Whom Shall I Fear” is a great encouragement to all, that ‘…I know who goes before me, I know who stands behind, the God of angel armies, is always by my side…’, and “Forever Reign” lifts up the name of Jesus as we declare Him to be higher than anything else in this life.
“One Thing Remains”, arguably my favourite song initially recorded by Bethel ever, is a song that has taken on a whole new different popularity with Passion worship leader Kristian Stanfill recording it a few years ago on their annual Passion album, Passion 2012: White Flag– so to see Bridgette deliver a comparable, if not surpassing version on this album, brings a smile to my face. Think what it would be like if Britt Nicole sang worship melodies, add to it the enthusiasm of artists like Christy Nockels or Lincoln Brewster, and then you’d see how Bridgette would sing. Great comparisons, right? Further exemplified in “Tis So Sweet”, though I knew the song was a hymn, it was carefully and creatively crafted by Bridgette so to be presented as if it was newly written- with electronic arrangements and a powerful vocal that makes Bridgette one of the most underrated musicians of 2015 so far.
“Give Me a Sign”, “Purify My Heart” and “Voices Rise” are all original tracks written by Bridgette, and coupled with the covers, are great additions to an EP that is by far one of my favourites of 2015 so far. “Give Me A Sign” employs powerful electronic string undertones to showcase a theme of asking God for signs, wonders and anything else that will show us that He is moving and active in our lives; while “Purify My Heart” shows Bridgette in a duet and a theme of us being purified on a continual basis by our Father as we travel through this life full of distractions and temptations. The title track, “Voices Rise”, is by far the most captivating and confronting with the subject of slavery and trafficking are touched upon. As we speak up and raise our voices, we become a spokesperson for someone who may not have a voice, and this song hopefully encourages us to be just that. Well done Bridgette for such a poignant melody, despite the shortness of it.
While many people I’m sure haven’t heard of Bridgette or her music, this is nevertheless an encouraging album. As I encourage anyone who is a fan of worship to listen to this album at least once, Voices Rise, though independent, is highly produced and one that will continue to be on repeat in my iTunes playlist for months to come. Though I may have liked a few more original songs and a longer song list, what is nevertheless shown is still of high quality. From standout songs like “Whom Shall I Fear” to “Voices Rise” and “Oceans”; it is Bridgette’s execution of the covers that’ll hopefully bring about label signings in the future. Well done Bridgette for such a great album. Hope to hear more in the future!
3 songs to listen to: Oceans, Whom Shall I Fear, Voices Rise
RIYL: Britt Nicole, Lincoln Brewster, Christy Nockels, Chris Tomlin, Phil Wickham