CCM UNITED – We Will Stand

Gaither Music Group

Release Date: September 25th 2015

Reviewed by: Joshua Andre

CCM UNITED– We Will Stand (Live) (Amazon mp3/Website)

Track Listing:

  1. Sing Your Praise to the Lord – Amy Grant
  2. The Great Adventure – Steven Curtis Chapman
  3. How Majestic Is Your Name – Sandi Patty
  4. Great Is the Lord – Michael W. Smith
  5. A Love Song – Love Song with Phil Keaggy
  6. Trumpet of Jesus – Imperials
  7. Praise The Lord – Imperials with Steven Curtis Chapman, Michael W. Smith
  8. I Am – Mark Schultz
  9. You Are God Alone – Phillips, Craig & Dean
  10. On My Knees – Jaci Velasquez
  11. Future Generations – 4Him
  12. Basics of Life – 4Him
  13. Watercolor Ponies – Wayne Watson
  14. Redeemer – Nicole C. Mullen
  15. My Tribute – Evie
  16. How Beautiful – Evie
  17. People Need the Lord – Steve Green
  18. Mary, Did You Know? – Michael English
  19. Another Time Another Place – Sandi Patty, Wayne Watson
  20. Amen – Larnelle Harris
  21. I’ve Just Seen Jesus – Larnelle Harris, Sandi Patty
  22. We Shall Behold Him – Sandi Patty
  23. Undivided – First Call
  24. Blessings – Laura Story
  25. I Am on the Rock – Petra
  26. Rise Again – Dallas Holm, Steven Curtis Chapman
  27. He’s Alive – Don Francisco
  28. We Are the Reason – David Meece
  29. How Great Is Our God – Mark Harris
  30. In Christ Alone – Steve Green
  31. Give Thanks – Don Moen
  32. Indescribable – Laura Story
  33. God of Wonders – Travis Cottrell
  34. Revelation Song – Phillips, Craig & Dean
  35. Free to Be Me – Francesca Battistelli
  36. I Will Be Here – Steven Curtis Chapman
  37. God’s Not Dead – Newsboys
  38. Thy Word – Amy Grant
  39. El Shaddai – Amy Grant, Sandi Patty
  40. Breathe – Michael W. Smith
  41. For the Sake of the Call – Steven Curtis Chapman
  42. We Believe – Newsboys
  43. Friends – Michael W. Smith
  44. We Will Stand – Russ Taff
  45. Awesome God – CCM United

Stumbling onto news of this prestigious and iconic live music event in January, slated to be the best night in Christian music, where prolific and respected CCM songwriters and musicians, all of them legends of the past, present and future in Christian contemporary music; to say I was excited is definitely an understatement. In what will surely be the most talked about album of the year, and perhaps the Special Event album of the year by the time the Dove Awards roll around in 2016, 30 artists banded together for one night only to celebrate 40 years of CCM music, and since the once-in-a-lifetime concert in January, the compilation We Will Stand has since released. No doubt, the magic and atmosphere of the night could only be truly experienced and appreciated by someone who was there at the concert, however for many of us, myself included, who couldn’t make it to the night (my reason was due to me living in Australia, what is your reason?), then the CD, and DVD as well, is a fitting and nice way to celebrate the history of CCM, as well as look forward to see where the next 40 years takes us. Comprising of the biggest names of CCM music, let’s see how this live ‘compilation’ touches our heart and makes us feel some nostalgia!

A look down the 45 song track list, and immediately you can tell that this is no ordinary ‘greatest hits’ project. Steven Curtis Chapman, Michael W. Smith, Jaci Velasquez, 4Him, Phillips Craig And Dean, Amy Grant, Sandi Patty, Wayne Watson, Russ Taff, Steve Green, Michael English, David Meece, Don Moen, Petra, Nicole C. Mullen, Francesca Battistelli, Newsboys… you get the picture. Even if you’re not a fan of many of these artists, or in my case, haven’t heard many of these artists, especially those who were famous and popular during the 80’s and 90’s (shame on me, time to listen to some of these artists and reminisce and reflect!); the sheer weight of having all of these iconic and talented musicians performing all on one night, should boggle the mind and should also make us proud of executive producer Stan Moser, who helped organise the night and compile the CD and DVD.

Seeing that the 45 song album encompasses one night of old and new music, most of the songs here are only snippets unfortunately, each melody lasting for around 2 and a half minutes (except for a few tracks which are played in full), and while this issue is a minor nitpick, what I will point out is that these snippets indeed pique my interest to hear the full length versions of the songs I haven’t heard yet, or inspire and challenge me to revisit some of my favourite songs ever, to see God reveal more of Himself to me in a different way than before. Songs like “The Great Adventure”, “Blessings”, “How Great Is Our God”, “I Am”, “On My Knees”, “You Are God Alone”, “God Of Wonders”, “Indescribable”, “Give Thanks”, “In Christ Alone” and “We Are The Reason”, sung by the artists aforementioned above in the tracklist, all were hits when originally recorded many years ago, and are fitting to be included here (though Chris Tomlin in my opinion should have sung “How Great Is Our God”, and Third Day “God Of Wonders”, but anyway, small issues…); while radio friendly ballads and anthems “Sing Your Praise To The Lord”, “Basics Of Life”, “People Need The Lord”, “Another Time Another Place”, “Thy Word”, “El Shaddai”, “Breathe” and “For The Sake Of The Call”, are also present- and though these melodies are quite old in the sense that they were written many decades ago, they each are impactful, moving, poignant, and carry the timeless message that Jesus’ love for us stretches past human understanding and logic, reminding us that with God, anything is possible.

It’s probably because of timeliness or the fact that a few melodies are sure to resonate with us in the future more so that others, but “We Believe”, “God’s Not Dead” and “Free To Be Me” are the songs that are sure to catch the eyes and ears of many viewers of the DVD and the listeners of the album. Predominately because these three songs are sung in its entirety. Yep, from start to finish. Though Francesca Battistelli’s smash hit “Free To Be Me” is not her most recent or in my opinion memorable single (I would say “This Is The Stuff” or “Write Your Story” hold more weight and reason to be included here, but anyway…), it’s still an enjoyable listen and a gentle reminder that God has called us to be ourselves, so we should be true to that, and remember that we are running out own race so to be focused on that. The other two full length songs catching my eye, are led by The Newsboys. “God’s Not Dead” and “We Believe” are two songs of our generation, with the former being the main song for the film God’s Not Dead and the latter thematically interwoven with the film Do You Believe! With the band exclaiming that Jesus is alive, that ‘…He’s living on the inside, roaring like a lion…’, alongside vibrant guitars, distinct vocals from Michael Tait and an energetic rock atmosphere, contrasted with the piano ballad of the Nicene Creed, exclaiming that ‘…we believe in God the Father, we believe in Jesus Christ, we believe in the Holy Spirit, and He’s given us new life, we believe in the crucifixion, we believe that He’s conquered death, we believe in the resurrection, and He’s coming back again…’; it’s clear that Newsboys, a seasoned veteran band, have new life injected into them and are probably yet to reach their peak musically and lyrically. With a new album slated for April 2016, their Fair Trade Serves label debut; Newsboys is a band to look out for and this album honours the band with Aussie roots, respecting everything they’ve recorded while looking to the future as well!

“Friends”, “We Will Stand” and “Awesome God” round out the album and I would also like to single these songs out especially, given that these three epic and timeless melodies in my opinion form the backbone of the album thematically. If there’s any three songs to listen to, it would be these three. Seeing that the project was basically 30 singer/songwriter/band friends singing together on one God breathed and Holy Spirit anointed night, it’s surreal and such a blessing to hear and watch Michael W Smith remind us all that ‘…friends are friends forever, if the Lord’s the Lord of them, and a friend will not say never cause the welcome will not end…’, as well as Russ Taff leading the empowering and inspiring worship that ‘…you’re my brother, you’re my sister, so take me by the hand, together we will work until He comes, there’s no foe that can defeat us, when we’re walking side by side, as long as there is love, we will stand…’. It’s just simply magical, there’s nothing that I can say that will describe the power of God over the entire night, and these songs especially. Also when you hear everyone join in one big voice proclaiming that ‘…our God is an awesome God, He reigns from heaven above, with wisdom, power and love…’, there’s nothing like it also.

“…When we first dreamed about creating the We Will Stand project, we hoped there were thousands of fans like us who would love to hear these great songs and artists once again. Based on the charts this week, it looks like we weren’t alone! These songs have brought real hope to listeners for so many years. The message never changes—Jesus is alive and still available…” Whether you love or hate CCM now, there’s no denying the unending power of Christian music in general, and these 45 songs give testament to that fact! After listening to the album many, many times, I wonder what the next 40 years will bring in CCM. You may not wonder that at all. One look through the track list might make you conclude that you like WOW Hits better, or whatever else you prefer. But what I do know for sure, is that this album has given me a greater understanding and appreciation of the genre, and has me excited for up and coming new albums and new bands in the next few years! Bring on 2016, 2017, 2018, and beyond, and I can’t wait to see God glorified through music! Well done guys, I will definitely be buying a physical copy of the album and DVD when it is available in my local Christian bookstore!

10 songs to listen to: The Great Adventure, You Are God Alone, Redeemer, Another Time Another Place, Revelation Song, God’s Not Dead, For The Sake Of The Call, We Believe, Friends, We Will Stand

Score: 4.5/5

RIYL: Carman, Natalie Grant, Avalon, Audio Adrenaline, Jars of Clay, Point Of Grace, Hillsong Worship

One thought on “CCM UNITED – We Will Stand”

  1. Thank you Joshua for such a thorough review! God provided such a great team to put this night and product together. We are forever grateful to friends Michael Omartian, Dick Tunney, Dan Posthuma, Charley Redmond, Steve Yake and so many others.
    We haven’t talked publicly much about the charity side of this event, but you may want to know. All of the net proceeds (after production cost and miscellaneous expenses) will go to charities like Show Hope, Compassion, Hope Force, and others who serve those in need around the globe.
    As I write, a shorter version of the program is airing on many television outlets through our friends at Gaither’s Homecoming organization. We continue to pray that these songs will do what they have done so well–remind others of the hope that can only be found in Jesus Christ!
    Thanks again for your kind words.

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