Black River Christian/Provident Label Group
Release Date: March 2nd 2018
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
- Dream Small
Josh Wilson has always been the quiet achiever. Plugging away at song writing and releasing melodies that tug at the heart. From songs like ‘That Was Then, This is Now’, ‘Carry Me’, ‘Pushing Back the Dark’, ‘Saviour Please’ and ‘3 Minute Song’, to ‘I Refuse’, ‘They Just Believe’ and ‘Fall Apart’ to name a few; we are reminded that Josh Wilson the multi-instrumentalist has once again delivered with this new song, his first on Black River Christian, ‘Dream Small’. In fact, Josh’s talent as a multi-instrumentalist makes him one of the most underrated singer/songwriters I’ve heard and enjoyed within the last few years, even in the same league and realm as artists like Jason Gray, Steven Curtis Chapman, Nichole Nordeman, Andrew Peterson and Bebo Norman. Josh has always given us stories to think about and songs to sing, and nothing is any different in this new recording. To be honest, one of the most unique artists I’ve come across this side of the millennia (I can’t even think of any other artists that can undertake the acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass guitar, keyboards, ukulele, banjo, glockenspiel, as well as some percussion with such poise and professionalism), Josh Wilson has always written songs that are honest and heartfelt. Having an ability to deliver and write some of the most relevant songs I’ve heard, inclusive of all those melodies I listed above, and then some; Josh’s fast bolt into CCM stardom occurred shortly after his debut label album Trying to Fit an Ocean in a Cup that released in 2008.
9 years and 5 albums, and an EP, later, his new recording, ‘Dream Small’, is a step in a direction that we haven’t really seen much of in the CCM industry currently. Presenting to us a notion of dreaming small rather than dreaming big, we as Christians and even has humans can be forgiven to be offended with such a notion as to only dream small. Because really, why can’t we dream big? Why can’t we have all these aspirations and hopes, things we want to do in the future and what, in a nutshell, we want our 5, 10 and 20 year plan to look like? ‘Dream Small’ by Josh seems to counteract such a notion we have been believing for our entire lives. Does that mean that what we have believed for so long isn’t so anymore? Rather the contrary. We have been called to greatness, by our heavenly Father. Our gifts and talents have a way of coming to the surface, that what we do in the future will change the world we are in, that where we are, is where we’re supposed to be at that point in time. We can look to the future and have great plans, and that’s good, we should have goals and long-term vision. But often, planning and looking forward is at the expense of the now. We often miss the opportunities the Lord has for us around the corner because we’re so busy making a plan, for what is over in the distance.
‘…I wrote my new song ‘Dream Small’ as a celebration for all the people who are quietly changing this world one simple act of kindness at a time. This is for moms and dads who are loving their families, this is for students who are choosing compassion over bullying, this is for those in ministry who day in and day out show the love of Christ with little to no thanks. This song’s for YOU. You have the chance to change the world like nobody else can. If you’re like me maybe you get overwhelmed with the great need you see in the world but all we have to do is open our eyes to the opportunities that are right in front of us…’ We don’t have to travel all the way to Africa, or to be on a mission trip for us to impact the world and be faithful to the calling the Lord has given to us. Sure, people are called to that and that’s great. Good on them. But often during the mundaneness of life, we all can’t just go and live the dreams we want. At least not now. And that’s ok. Dream small. Think about tomorrow. Today. What we can do to make someone’s day better. How what we say can either encourage someone or make a dent in it. There is no neutral- it is either one or the other. That is what ‘Dream Small’ is a reminder of, for me at least. That sure we can be all grandiose and hope for the Lord to use is in big and magnificent ways, but often, it is the little day to day stuff that often has the impact the most, and often isn’t as recognised as it should. A folk-sy/CCM song that is a sign of what themes are to be included on Josh’s forthcoming album later on in 2018/19, we can rest assured knowing that the rest of the songs will follow suit in theme compared to ‘Dream Small’!
So there it is – ‘Dream Small’. With honesty that is as frank as what it should be (but not necessarily the case) in the CCM industry, Josh has continued to tackle issues that a necessary for us to hear- in this case, it is for us to dream small as well as dreaming big. In tandem. To realise that where we are is where we can make a difference, not somewhere in the distance when we move from where we are now in this mundane life to where we believe God is calling for us to travel toward! Josh’s poetic nature in writing songs is what has drawn me to his music in the first place, and that is nothing short of being true, in ‘Dream Small’. Unique in every way imaginable, this song is not or the casual listener just wanting a song to hear on their road trips- this melody requires serious attention, especially the chorus and how we’re reminded to ‘…dream small, don’t bother like you’ve gotta do it all, just let Jesus use you where you are, one day at a time, live well, loving God and others as yourself, find little ways where only you can help, with His great love, a tiny rock can make a giant fall, dream small…’ Well done Josh for such an innovative melody, fans of artists like Brandon Heath, Bebo Norman or Steven Curtis Chapman will be sure to enjoy an album by personally one of my favourite songwriters this side of the 2010s!
RIYL: Brandon Heath, mikeschair, Brandon Heath, Bebo Norman, Steven Curtis Chapman