Release Date: September 9th 2014
Reviewed by Joshua Andre
- Father (Generous and Kind)
- Always Good
- We Still Believe (featuring Paul Baloche)
- Sing on the Battlefield
- I Will Stay Here
- Sovereign Over Us
- Sing on the Battlefield (Acoustic)
Respected and popular Irish worship leader Kathryn Scott, known for her Vineyard album contributions, as well as her moving and inspiring solo hits such as “Hungry”, “At The Foot Of The Cross”, “We Still Believe”, “Search Me” and “You Gave Your Life Away”, has recorded 3 albums on Integrity Music, over the past 10 years. Now she has stepped out to record albums independently, with her first indie album Sing On The Battlefield releasing next week. Distributed by Fuel Music, the 7 track EP includes a rerecording of “We Still Believe”, as well as the title track (already featured on the compilation album Reverence, and a cover of Aaron Keyes’s “Sovereign Over Us”. So how does it stack up with the polished ‘label’ sound we’ve grown to love on Satisfy, I Belong and We Still Believe? Let’s read on to find out.
Kathryn’s new single, the title track “Sing On The Battlefield”, is positioned in the middle of the EP, and was the first song I heard from the EP as it was previously released on a compilation CD a few weeks ago. Led by the piano, the ballad encourages us to sing to and praise God in every situation we are placed in, no matter if they are good or bad, as Kathryn eloquently and passionately cries out and sings emphatically in the chorus that ‘…You make me sing on the battlefield, You make dance through these tears, You grace my heart to believe again…’.
Time and time again, we will have trails and tribulations, however our outlook on life should be as sunny as possible because God is on our side, and Kathryn perfectly translates this fact in this enjoyable, inspiring ballad, slowly turned into epic worship melody. This song is one of my favourite songs on Kathryn’s entire project, particularly when the quiet, reverent last refrain of this song is the main chorus of the well known hymn “Leaning On The Everlasting Arms”. With the final song on the album being an acoustic version of “Sing On The Battlefield”; Kathryn’s introduction to independent music is as seamless as can be, partly because of the strength of her music- no matter if she is signed or not, I believe it is her songwriting that will turn heads, and that is exactly what she has done in these two songs!
As Kathryn explores many more genres and sings with vigour, enthusiasm and an evident love for Jesus Christ, we are met with a group of songs that are sure to be popular and enjoyable for their honest and hopeful lyrics as well as their different and out-of-the-box musical arrangements. The album opener “Father (Generous And Kind)” is a song of celebration and exultation driven by acoustic guitar and keys, that declares that ‘…the wonder of Your love reveals how good You are, oh how we love You Father…’, and has Kathryn ardently singing praises to God, and more specifically listing out reasons why Jesus deserves to be lifted high. As the first song, Kathryn has set the tone for the rest of the album, I am swept away to a place of honest, unbridled worship, singing to the Father with sheer abandonment and gratefulness for the cross and resurrection.
“Always Good” is a mid tempo worship ballad, declaring that God is always good, that He is the One we can call on in our times of need and trouble, that He is faithful and always keeps His promises. Led by majestic keys and guitar and with Kathryn’s powerful voice carrying this track; my favourite part of the song is the last chorus, where the band kicks in, and a sense of recklessness and free worship is realised- as Kathryn sings out ‘…You are faithfulness, You are truth and grace, You are always good and Your love endures…’, I can’t help but agree and cry out to God the same sentiments as well! “We Still Believe”, sung with Paul Baloche on backing vocals, and also re-recorded for this project, is led by keys and guitar equally, and is a poignant heartfelt worship anthem- a fan favourite that is still powerful to hear in another light. As Kathryn asserts that no matter what happens in our lives ‘…we still believe, and though the journey has been hard, we will confess your goodness, God…’; I am marvelled at the impact this song will surely continue to make around the world. Well done Kathryn for an explosive and epic anthem that I hope stands the test of time in 10, 20, 50 years time!
“I Will Stay”, an acoustic guitar only slower paced ballad, is a vulnerable decision of raw honesty and emotion, as Kathryn decides to stay with Jesus in His presence even in the trials when times are tougher (including a refrain of the hymn “How I Love Jesus”); yet the song that I feel would be the drawcard to get listeners interested to this independently recorded album is the Aaron Keyes’ cover “Sovereign Over Us”, standing tall at just over 5 minutes, the second longest track on the album, behind the title track.
With every second being Holy Spirit anointed, Kathryn unashamedly cries out that Jesus is with us always, even in the moments when we don’t see it, and that He’s forever faithful and able to be trusted. I am able to sing along and unequivocally agree with everything Michael sings as well! Driven by a strong and majestic keyboard riff (there are no other instruments, and the crescendo is based on Kathryn’s powerful, serene and inspiring vocals- Kathryn’s heart for Jesus is evident here, and is a highlight as well); the verse of Jeremiah 29:11 comes to mind that this song could have been based on. As with Michael W Smith’s version; my favourite part Kathryn’s simple yet moving rendition is still the bridge- where Kathryn declares that ‘…even what the enemy means for evil…You turn it for Your good and for Your glory, even in the valley You are faithful…You’re working for our good, for Your glory…’; we can have peace and comfort that every event in our lives is shaping up to a higher purpose, and a purpose which glorifies our Father and our Saviour! Well done Kathryn for choosing an exquisite sure to be timeless classic to cover, to worship God with!
A veteran and a mainstay at Integrity Music for a number of years, Kathryn Scott’s first indie outing hits all the right notes and is musically brilliant, with honest lyrics and captivating vocals. It’s everything you could ask for in an EP, and I am certain anyone who picks it up will be blessed by at least one song, no question about it. With songs devoted to vertical worship, Kathryn wears her heart on her sleeve here, and these 7 tracks are poised to change lives; Kathryn should be proud. Hopefully there are many more albums in the near future, I would definitely listen to and purchase Kathryn’s albums!
3 songs to listen to: Sovereign Over Us, Sing On The Battlefield, Always Good
RIYL: Paul Baloche, Tim Hughes, Matt Redman, Darlene Zschech, Meredith Andrews