Provident Label Group
Release Date: April 30th 2021
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
- Old Church Basement (feat. Dante Bowe)
- Jireh (feat. Chandler Moore & Naomi Raine)
- Talking To Jesus (feat. Brandon Lake)
- Wait On You (feat. Dante Bowe & Chandler Moore)
- Wait On You (Reprise) (feat. Dante Bowe & Chandler Moore)
- Million Little Miracles (feat. Joe L Barnes)
- Shall Not Want (feat. Chandler Moore)
- Come Again (feat. Brandon Lake & Chandler Moore)
- Used To This (feat. Naomi Raine & Brandon Lake)
- Names (feat. Tiffany Hudson)
- Mercy (feat. Chris Brown)
- Before & After (feat. Amanda Lindsey Cook)
- Build Your Church (feat. Naomi Raine & Chris Brown)
With a great volume of high quality and not so high quality worship bands and solo artists out there; the competition is extremely fierce and there is quite a standard as well- as groups like Hillsong (all facets!), Planetshakers, Vertical Worship, Bethel Music, Jesus Culture and Passion all deliver high quality worship albums year in and year out (for the most part); not to mention solo artists like Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, Tim Hughes, Phil Wickham, Kari Jobe, Meredith Andrews, Crowder and Paul Baloche to name a few. Creating probably something of a worship saturation point from all of these many artists churning out the album releases; does the addition of another worship movement/band create an unnecessary movement, or a challenge for new and existing bands to rise up and become more creative and inventive with their songs, musically and lyrically? What exactly makes a band like Elevation Worship so special, particularly since their main lead singers Mack Brock and London Gatch left the group a little while back?
Old Church Basement is a live release that dropped a couple of months ago, and in that time, I’ve been totally ministered to and ushered into the presence of God…probably the most by an Elevation Worship album! The group has collaborated with up and coming worship band Maverick City Music on this release as well, and while the band has recently started to become popular on the radio due to their songs “O Come To The Altar”, “Do It Again”, “Echo”, “See A Victory” and “Resurrecting”; I reckon their latest offering is one of the most cohesive ever- yep even more so than Graves Into Gardens and Hallelujah Here Below. It’s no mean feat for the group to release yet another full length album after both Mack Brock and London Gatch have left to pursue solo careers; yet in light of this development, Old Church Basement stands tall amongst quite a lot of worship albums from this year- both Elevation Worship and Maverick City Music deserve to be congratulated, and to be proud of themselves.
To release a live album during a time where some of us are still in the midst of quarantine seems to be a bit like rubbing it in all of our faces, reminding us all that ‘hey we had this you-beaut worship service that none of you can go to now- and since some of you are on lockdown and we’re not because we’re vaccinated, let me put it in your face that you couldn’t go to this awesome concert! Sucks for you!’. Yet on a deeper look, I realise that this live project is exactly what we need at the moment, as we commune with fellow believers and passionately worship Jesus for everything that He is. Opening with the hymn like title track, led by Dante Bowe, we are met with a poignant and heartfelt reflective ballad, whereby we are reminded to get back to basics, to get back to the heart of Christianity and the reason why we sing praises to our Heavenly Father. As Dante and the team earnestly relay that we can sing out to God all the time, and can use old songs sung in a new way to thank our Father and Friend (lyrics from “Shout To The Lord”, “I Could Sing Of Your Love Forever”, “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” and “Amazing Grace” are all used with permission and quoted in the song!); we are met with a prayerful and worshipful track for the ages, and a standout on this release. The piano led ballad “Jireh”, led by Chandler Moore and Naomi Raine, is next has features both Naomi and Chandler singing out and declaring God’s name as Jireh, and proclaiming that He is always enough for us; while Brandon Lake emphatically and powerfully creates an anthem of praise and intent in “Talking To Jesus” as he explains that we can talk to Jesus any time we want to and that He is the only One we can trust and rely on, calling Him a true friend. “Wait On You” featuring Dante and Chandler Moore, is another highlight for me, and is a 13 minute track speaking about the concept of waiting on God and being patient. With the song having a big build up and an anthemic crescendo; Elevation Worship and Maverick City Music need to be proud of this effort especially, as I eloquently sing God’s praises and declare His goodness.
Newcomer Joe L Barnes leads “Million Little Miracles”, a slower-tempo heartfelt reflective tune about being thankful and having gratitude for the miracles God has orchestrated in our lives, as evidence of His existence and faithfulness and providence over our lives. With Joe passionately and emphatically relaying to us a captivating bridge complete with spontaneous free worship; we are ushered into unbridled and ardent praise to our Father- this song is powerful and important as it’s a great facilitator, ushering us into a heavenly moment with our heavenly Father. While “I Shall Not Want”, led by Chandler, is a radio friendly melody, and a beautifully sung and recorded moment of prayerful and compelling worship, as we are encouraged to sing out the Biblical truths of Psalm 23; and “Come Again”, with Chandler and Brandon, would fit right at home at a Passion conference or on a Matt Redman album, with simple yet effective lyrics, empahtically declaring our openness and our utter devotion to our Father and Friend, singing out ‘…come again, come again, let the glory in, I’m open, I’m open…’.
At this stage in the album, one could say that these songs are longer in duration than needed to be. However I tend to disagree- I’ve become swept away in every song and each track so far doesn’t feel boring at all. This is the case as well with “Used Toi This”, with Naomi and Brandon, which is a prayerful and emotional piano ballad outlining that we desperately need Jesus and that He’s the only One we need in our lives, that ‘…I just want You, I just want You, nothing compares to You, nothing comes close, if this is a glimpse of Heaven, I could get used to this, I could get used to this, the fragrance of Your presence, I could get used to this, I could get used to this…’; while another hard-hitting highlight is “Names”, written by Amanda Lindsey Cook and Jason Ingram, and led by Tiffany Hudson, whereby Tiffany eloquently calls God all of the worshipful names she can think of, singing out ‘…Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, Immanuel, God with us, You’re here with me, Wonderful Counselor…’.
“Mercy”, the sung by Chris Brown (the official lead singer of Elevation Worship), is led by the piano and potentially could be a radio single and a future Sunday morning staple- maybe even classified as a modern hymn sometime down the track? With Chris earnestly and ardently crying out that Jesus is alive in us and that He has rescued us from the grave, that ‘…now I’m alive to tell the story, how I’ve overcome, it’s His goodness and mercy and the power of the blood, I’m so glad that my freedom wasn’t based on what I’ve done, but the goodness and mercy and the power of the blood…’; we are met with a testimony type track that is sure to win over listeners and critics alike. The penultimate track on Old Church Basement is “Before And After” with Amanda Lindsey Cook, as Amanda passionately describes her moment of before and after Jesus entering into her life, relaying to us that she was once lost but she is now found; while the powerful, inspiring and compelling album ends with the modern interpretation of the hymn “In Christ Alone” called “Build Your Church”, also similar in theme to Hillsong Worship’s “Cornerstone”. Sung by Naomi and Chris, this track is the perfect end to a stellar album, and as we hear the gospel proclaimed (the cross and Jesus raising from the dead!); and as we’re reassured that in Jesus Christ we can live and be free indeed, let us set our feet upon the Rock and trust in the God who holds us all in the palm of His hands!
While the band is still on the rise, and many songs from Old Church Basement expected to propel Elevation Worship to even greater heights than “O Come To The Altar”, “Do It Again”, “The Blessing” and “Resurrecting”, such as “Jireh”, “Million Little Miracles”, “Wait On You”, “Build Your Church” and “Names”; it seems that the group are doing just fine without Mack and London. Sure they will miss these guys because of their experience and the worship leading ability, however we must have faith in the ‘newer’ guys like current lead singer Chris Brown, that Jesus would guide their steps in respect to leading people in worship just like in this album. With the group’s next album maybe being sometime in 2022 (will it be a Christmas album?), let us hope and pray that the awesome music that was present in Old Church Basement continues. So well done Elevation Worship for this impressive project- now let me listen to Maverick City Music’s latest album! Bring on the next album sometime in 2022!
3 songs to listen to: Wait On You, Names, Build Your Church
RIYL: Hillsong Worship, Planetshakers, Meredith Andrews, Kari Jobe, Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman