Release Date: June 19th 2015
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
- This Is Amazing Grace
- The Rock Won’t Move
- I Have Decided
- Great Are You Lord
- How Great Thou Art
- All The Poor And Powerless
- Found In You
- Washed By The Water
- When A Man Loves A Woman
Releasing a covers album is quite a big deal. Releasing a debut covers album is even a bigger deal. Even though not many actual covers albums have every songs present penned by others (and in this particular album, there are a few originals…), one does need to ensure that the renditions of the melodies that are covered, are worthy of inclusion and do the original justice. In the case of Jordan Grizzard’s debut self titled album, these heartfelt and passionate worship and mainstream melodies are intricately presented and brilliantly performed, that I almost forgot that they were covers- that’s how heartfelt and touching these songs are. Previously a contestant on American Idol in 2009, Jordan is now ready to reveal his music and faith to the world. And judging by the calibre of the versions of the songs he chose for the album; I will definitely be eagerly anticipating an all original album maybe sometime in the near future, if Jordan chooses to record such an album!
Opening the album is the Phil Wickham and Jeremy Riddle penned “This Is Amazing Grace”! Musically similar to the original recording, this song is beautifully led by stirring keys and Jordan’s passionate vocals, and covered with aplomb and professionalism, as this number one single is sung with abandon and utter devotion to God. Raising a sense of urgency, raw emotion and vulnerability, as well as an honest heart of worship throughout this track, the song is also quite accessible to fans of CCM, with the key change near the end of the song for the last chorus a smart and clever move! As Jordan eloquently defines grace and love being that ‘…You would lay down Your life that I would be set free, Jesus I sing of all that You’ve done to me…’; he ardently gives glory and thanks to the God who has saved us and gave us new life!
Transforming the Hillsong UNITED smash hit “Oceans” into an acoustic guitar led mid-tempo ballad, with a slight country twang; Jordan’s version of one of my favourite worship songs of all time, is quite impressive, even though it’s a tad over four minutes. With the epic anthemic prayer, and declaration of Jesus’ sovereignty, delving into the fact that we can call upon God’s name, and rest in the hope and security that we are God’s and He is ours; this high profile, hard hitting and impacting melody is sure to be a hit for many, many years to come! We are met with a song that confronts and reassures at the same time, and asks us the question of whether we’d follow God in the direction that He calls us to when he calls us to it. Though covered by an ‘unknown’ artist, Jordan’s prowess as a singer wows me in a good way!
One of the most underrated songs over the past few years, “The Rock Won’t Move” from Vertical Church Band is an emotional, heartfelt worship song, for me this is one of the pinnacles of the record, as Jordan emphatically proclaims that ‘…the Rock won’t move and His word is strong, the Rock won’t move and His love can’t be undone, the Rock of our salvation…’, which the ‘rock’ is a metaphor for Jesus, and alludes to the parable of the House built on the Rock and built on the sand. Posing the question of what our foundations of what we believe are based on, we are encouraged through this anthem to seek after Jesus, and let Him be our Rock, that is unshakeable and faithful. As Jordan sings with abandon across vibrant and joyful electric guitars, I can tell that a classic song has been born, and one that will surely be sung in churches in the many years to come! Another highlight is All Sons & Daughters’ song “Great Are You Lord”, which is simple in its theme and lyrics. As Jordan reminds us of God’s greatness and faithfulness, it is the sheer emotion and evident heart for Jesus that has me excited, as well as the anthemic and epic like piano led chorus, and the sonically sublime atmosphere of the Holy Spirit anointed track. Lead by the celebratory guitars as well as strings, not to mention a beautifully played keyboard, I am captivated and by the message of God’s greatness and sovereignty.
Covered already by Shane and Shane as well as The Digital Age; we are now treated to an inspiring and passionate take on the All Sons And Daughters classic “All The Poor And Powerless”, with the cover staying true to the original…mostly. With the addition of strings, hand clicks, vibrant electric guitar, as well as a captivating gospel choir in the bridge, I am inspired and moved, to make an active stand for Christ, as I agree with the sentiment that I can ‘…shout it, go on and scream it from the mountains, go on and tell it to the masses that He is God…’. Jordan also skilfully and enthusiastically delivers his own take on the hymns “I Have Decided” and “How Great Thou Art”. The former is an upbeat rock anthem ala Kutless or Skillet, as Jordan passionately sings out ‘…lead me on when the darkness closes in, You take my hand as I step out on the edge, help me stand when the waves are crashing on, lead me on, lead me on, oh I surrender all…’. Yet Jordan faithfully acknowledges the melody “How Great Thou Art” and doesn’t change up the melody that much, with the piano only song highlighting Jordan’s engaging and soothing vocals (and big and booming vocals once the final verse comes into play!), as he honestly describes how great God is, and reminds us that he will be a big star in the future, on his vocals alone!
Slightly more subdued than the original recording, and relying more on acoustic guitar and drums, the rousing celebratory worship anthem “Found In You”, previously recorded by Vertical Church Band starts off as a slow track, with the melody builds to an epic God moment when more and more instruments are added. A praise song that declares that everything we need in life is in Jesus; as Jordan emphatically and passionately sings out ‘…all we want and all we need is found in You, found in You, Jesus every victory is found in You, found in You…’, I can’t help but sing along raucously as well, amongst the keys, captivating drums, and exquisite electronic remix effects. Declaring God to be high above any other, “Found In You” is a brilliant rendition and Jordan should be proud, of the song that musically remind me of Hillsong Worship. Jordan also passionately covers Andrew Ripp’s personal and emotional guitar led rock song (“Savior”, where he sings about how Jesus is his saviour, and asks listeners ‘…don’t worry about me cause I know where I’m going when I’m gone…’; and also asks us questions with “When A Man Loves A Woman”, about the extent we would go for a woman’s love, and indirectly asks us whether we are, and/or should devote as much time to being in a deeper relationship with Jesus. Yet the most musically diverse song from left field that was present here is “Washed By The Water” originally by Needtobreathe.
“Washed By The Water”, a straight up worship song, is similar in theme of Carrie Underwood’s “Something In The Water”, and reminds us about the power of water when anointed in Jesus’ name. Now, I know, water isn’t holy, but Jesus who made the water is, and as Jordan prayerfully and honestly reminds us that God washes us clean every day, that ‘…even when the rain falls, even when the flood starts rising, even when the storm comes, I am washed by the water…’, I can’t help but sing and worship along with Jordan as he emphatically leaves nothing to imagination in respect to living out his faith, which is a bold yet welcomed move that can draw people to Christ. The increased presence of a mini electric guitar solo is a nice touch as well. Well done Jordan for inspiring us with his favourite worship and mainstream tunes that are bound to be popular for many years to come!
Though Jordan Grizzard’s self-titled debut album is littered with worship covers, and quite frankly, I reckon a few originals would fit quite nicely with these songs; he has recorded these versions to perfection, and his stellar voice is something to marvel and be wowed at. A must listen for those who are fans of modern worship and all things CCM and pop, Jordan’s album is proof enough that he will be more popular in the coming years, and a new all original album is just a matter of time. So everyone, listen to the album, and let me know what you think of it!
3 songs to listen to: The Rock Won’t Move, How Great Thou Art, Washed By The Water
RIYL: Jason Crabb, Chris Sligh, Phil Stacey, Danny Gokey, Brenton Brown