Release Date: April 14th 2015
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
- Where The Light Is
- Heart On Fire
- He Knows
- Born Again (Acoustic)
- Even If
Every now and again, an artist comes along that blows you away, in every facet. Dan Bremnes is one such artist, with his label debut EP Where The Light Is releasing via Sparrow Records this past week- this EP is one of my favourites of 2015! Hailing from British Colombia, Canada; Dan’s contagious vocal melodies and inspiring and encouraging acoustic style songs have been enjoyed by listeners for many years, as he has won numerous GMA Covenant Awards and has been praised and celebrated all throughout his home country. I had stumbled across Dan’s music a number of years ago on his independent album Your Strength in 2010 and since then I only have good things to say about the singer/songwriter, who has recorded a stellar EP worthy of many listens, reminding us that Jesus is where the light is and that Jesus is with us always in all of our circumstances and situations. With a similar vocal to independent artist Jadon Lavik and Starfield frontman Tim Neufield, Dan has given us six songs of restoration and life as we soak in the Holy Spirit anointed lyrics and creative musical backdrops for each of the tracks. Where The Light Is EP is a great purchase for anyone who loves a fusion of worship and acoustic pop, while we wait for the full length album to drop in June this year.
Recorded previously on his 2012 EP Light My Way, Dan powerfully and emphatically reminds us of God’s unfailing love on the EP closer “Even If”, reminding listeners that that ‘…even if I lose my life, even if you’re all I have, I’ll follow…’; which is in itself a bold and courageous statement to declare in any situation we are faced in. Though against the backdrop of contemplative acoustic guitars and a slow-ish tempo, Dan tries to impart clarity and assurance to us- even the plucks are soothing and lullaby-ish as we bask in God’s presence and trust Him completely with our lives. Thematically and lyrically similar to Kutless’ song of the same name (that even if certain healings and moments of full understanding and clarity still do not come, we will still trust God because He is good, faithful and because He just is); Dan’s song also reminds us that when everything around us is changing, Jesus is constant and never failing at the fact should pique our excitement and also remind us that we are in safe hands.
The rest of the 5 songs are just as enjoyable to listen to as Dan peels back the layers of himself and we are glimpsed into his most vulnerable moments. The guitar led and mid-tempo ballad title track, is semi-autobiographical, as Dan eloquently and passionately sings about the early days when he was a Christian, but also contrasting that to the tragedy he experienced when his mother passed away due to a car accident. As Dan struggled with his faith, the chorus in this song more than adequately describes his tumultuous feelings and upside down emotions. Dan cries out to God ‘…God be with me, don’t know where I’m going, will You lead me where the light is?…’, offering up transparent lyrics that do not shy away from the meaty topics, yet also providing us with a glimmer of hope near the end of the song, as Dan sings out that Jesus is our daylight and we should and can run to Him so that He can provide us with healing and comfort. The folk/pop/worship banjo infused energetic and celebratory melody “Hearts On Fire” is next, led by intentional and impacting percussion and chorus gang vocals, bringing the song to life as Dan majestically sings praises to God, asking Him to ‘…light me up, light me up, set my heart on fire, let my life be a song like an angel choir, may my worship be endless, untameably reckless for You, only You…’, reminding me of bands like Rend Collective and I Am They in their delivery, kudos to Dan for including this inspiring and musically different track!
The mid-tempo label debut radio single “Beautiful” was recorded way back in 2010 (a different version!) for his independent album, and again for Sparrow Records in July last year. Including the lead single on this EP is fitting, as we are given perspective through the testimony-like track, as it highlights Dan’s earnest and honest heart for Christ. As Dan ardently sings out amongst the pulsating drums and dynamic guitar strums, that ‘…You changed me from what I used to be opened my eyes, now I can see, You’re making this life so beautiful…’, I’m amazed at the high calibre of songwriting- Dan deserves praise and recognition for such vulnerable lyrics that only describe a fraction of who God is to us.
The only blip on an otherwise near flawless EP is the piano prominent mid-tempo ballad “He Knows” (with the same theme of Jeremy Camp’s song of the same name), where the passion is somewhat lacking when compared to the rest of the thought provoking and comforting melodies. In its own right though, the song is nonetheless inspiring, with the chorus being powerful as Dan reminds us that ‘…He knows every pain every tear you’ve cried , every single part of you, He knows every doubt, every fear that you fight, the battles you’ve been going through…’. The final melody present here is the acoustic guitar led celebratory raucous “Born Again”, driven by an infectious and catchy acoustic guitar riff and stomps galore, as Dan fervently invites us all to sing along that we have been set free and born again. One of the more musically dynamic melodies on this album, this track will sound awesome live as the crowd reacts positively and dances along!
Dan Bremnes’s brand new EP is a great gem and treasure for those who love acoustic pop or adult contemporary music similar to artists like Brandon Heath, Matthew West or Josh Wilson. Dan’s acoustic musical element is a fantastic element to hear and it’s a blessing to listeners that he was signed to Sparrow Records. Incorporating many themes on such a short but sweet EP, so aslisteners understand his faith journey and how he became a songwriter, Where The Light Is inspires and provides us hope in our Father and Saviour as He is our light and the One we can lean on and trust. Well done Dan for these six songs of wisdom, clarity and timely restoration. I hope and pray that the full length album in June will touch lives just like this EP will surely accomplish!
3 songs to listen to: Where The Light Is, Beautiful, Born Again
RIYL: Tim Neufeld, Matthew West, The Afters, Hawk Nelson, Sanctus Real