Grand Canyon University Center for Worship Arts
Release Date: April 14th 2015
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
- Follow You (feat. Desiree Aguillar)
- Christ In Me (feat. Madison Harris)
- Christ Be All Around Me (feat. Tanner Krenz)
Having stumbled across this all to short but brilliant EP Canyon, by Canyon Worship, this debut project is indeed one of a kind, as the singers and musicians involved in the project are all freshman students of Grand Central University, studying Worship Arts with an emphasis in Worship Ministry. Yes, you heard that right, they are all university students! And if that doesn’t boggle your mind, then check this out- of the three songs on this EP, 2 are covers, originally sung by Tim Timmons as well as Leeland, and the other original song is co-written by MercyMe frontman Bart Millard! Reason enough to listen to these songs? Never mind that the lead singers are all unknown, and the band isn’t signed…these are just semantics. Because in the years ahead, Canyon Worship will be a household name in worship, and they will be signed, they definitely deserve their chance to make it big! So without further ado, let’s briefly touch upon these three songs and why I am proud of all these students have achieved!
With hand claps and an acoustic atmosphere, as well as an added electronic remix-y effect, that was absent from Tim Timmons’ powerful original melody, “Christ In Me” is a confrontational look and examination into our very soul, as lead singer Maddison Harris ardently breaks down and unpacks the most simplest concept of believing that the same power that performed all the miracles 2000+ years ago, is living in and working through us. It’s a theme that isn’t new though, as the song reminds me of Tim Hughes’ “Everything”, in the sense that we should believe that Christ is our everything and that He is in us so that we can live in total freedom; yet “Christ In Me” packs a punch musically as well as thematically- it’s something you cannot hear often enough, that Jesus is alive and living in us, as it gives us freedom and delivers us from the metaphorical chains that we are in. With the question of ‘…what if I believed Christ in me?…’ we are given much to ponder, and assurance that because Jesus is in us, we can do even greater things than He did. Well done Maddison for brilliantly covering a well thought out and inspiring melody!
The EP closer is “Christ Be All Around Me”, originally sung by Michael W. Smith, and later on by Leeland, and is led in this EP by Tanner Krenz. With stirring keys in the forefront, as well as a mesmerising electric guitar riff, this scripture-in-song type of encourager informs us that Jesus is alive in everything that we do, reassuring us that we have nothing to fear in this life as God is all around us and in us. With the passionate cry and declaration culminating in the ever true and moving refrain of that prophetically highlights that ‘…Your life, Your death, Your blood was shed for every moment, for every moment…’; it’s a song that I can see being sung in churches all around the world pretty soon, and a song that’ll be on my iTunes playlist for a while.
The final melody, the album opener, is the only original song yet to me is the pinnacle of the album, epitomising the message of the EP, which is to follow God at all times, as He is sovereign, He has a plan, and only He knows the outcome of our prayers and longings in our hearts. “Follow You”, heartfelt and prayerfully sung by Desiree Aguillar (who sounds eerily similar to Mandisa!), is autobiographical, inspired by Desiree’s plight with an unknown illness, and her subsequent leaning on God and trust in Him when she didn’t understand. The result is nothing short of outstanding, breathtaking and amazing as we are glimpsed into an honest, emotional song about following Jesus in our darkest times, that ‘…I’ll set my mind on things above, remember I’m not who I was and I will follow You…’. Vocally Desiree is at her brilliant best, with her soulful pop voice blending in well with the vibrant keys in this epic worship anthem! Is that Bart Millard I hear in the bridge on backing vocals? Well done Desiree and co. for a compelling and extraordinary God breathed anthem guaranteed to be sung and loved for a long time to come!
Though only standing at 3 songs, Canyon EP from Canyon Worship is the best EP I have heard this year, hands down. There’s nothing much more to say, than you should listen to this EP many, many times, and be blessed by these young men and women of God, as we move into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ. No doubt these guys will be signed in the near future…so what are you waiting for? Take a listen now rather than later, and jump on the bandwagon now! Well done Canyon Worship, I look forward to many more EP’s and albums in the future!
3 songs to listen to: All of them!
RIYL: Tim Timmons, Michael W Smith, Mandisa, Natalie Grant, Hillsong Worship