Release Date: August 12th 2022
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
Mac Powell– New Creation (Deluxe) (Amazon mp3/iTunes)
- River of Life
- New Creation
- Love is the Reason
- Be Praised
- The Centre of it All
- Joy of the Lord
- Jesus You Are
- Everlasting Arms
- Baptised (feat. Matt Maher)
- You Are
- Savior & Friend
- Be Praised (Live)
- River of Life (Live)
- Love is the Reason (Live)
- New Creation (Live)
A number of years ago (3 and a half to be exact), and after 25 plus years of being together as a band; Mac Powell, Mark Lee and David Carr (the founding members of Third Day), decided to part ways, and felt God calling them to new and untapped areas in their lives, different places where God was leading them that they probably felt like they needed to explore, and that this was the right time to turn the page, start a new chapter, and follow God’s lead. As always, you can check out Third Day’s discography and history on Wikpedia, but let me say that apart from when Delirious? split in 2009, I have never been this affected, emotional, blindsided, sad, confused, perplexed, frustrated, and maybe a bit angry, than when I was in 2009. Apart from Delirious? who split up without warning, it is Third Day that has me completely shocked, and wondering why now. Why did the band break up, after they were going so well, after the release of a thoroughly enjoyable new album Revival, and particularly when I personally felt they had so much more years in them? It was Third Day’s left-field decision that made me wonder ‘which artist is next!’- but when other CCM artists like Downhere, David Crowder*Band, BarlowGirl, Bebo Norman, ZOEgirl, Jonathan Thulin, Group 1 Crew, dc Talk and others split up/retired/faded into oblivion, sure I was sad, but not this sad. I was impacted for sure, but not as much as Delirious? in 2009, and Third Day in 2018.
If you’re a Christian and haven’t heard of Third Day…well I’m not even going to finish that statement, because I reckon you probably have heard of the band. One listen to Mac’s signature voice, and you’ll know what I mean. And plenty of the group’s hit singles have been sung in churches everywhere (particularly “King Of Glory” and “My Hope Is You”, at least for the church I attended back in the day!), so I reckon that one way or another, you would have definitely come across at least one, if not some, of Third Day’s songs. You may not connect with Mac’s lower pitched, gravelly, southern voice, but I for one welcome it gladly as it gives the band an added dimension that makes them all the more real and unique. While it was Delirious? that was the second artist I listened to religiously (of which the first was Carman!), it was Third Day that introduced me to Christian rock, and the rest is history, as now I am a lover of all things CCM and other types of Christian music (mostly, except for Christian metal!), and I’d like to think that Third Day played a part in that. Because Third Day wasn’t completely CCM and pop, and comprised of CCM, worship, pop, rock, southern gospel and country, all meshed together to form a new genre unique only to them; I’d like to think that listening to and loving Third Day’s music has broadened my music tastes considerably at a rate more so than if I hadn’t listened to Third Day or didn’t even connect with their music.
Though I have written in the above paragraphs about how Third Day has shaped my life; objectively, I’d have to say that Third Day has made a big impact on Christian music, period. While Mac Powell and co. narrowly missed out on the list of the top 100 impactful and influential artists in modern music history, Third Day have still managed to carve a career of radio hits and chart-topping songs that have spanned the years of 1996 – 2017, with songs like ‘Your Love Oh Lord, ‘Alien’, ‘King of Glory’, ‘Consuming Fire’, ‘Show Me Your Glory’, ‘Come Together’, ‘Come On Back to Me’, ‘Cry Out to Jesus’, ‘Revelation’, ‘Children Of God’, ‘Trust in Jesus’, ‘Your Love is Like a River’, ‘Victorious’, ‘Your Words’ and ‘Revival’ (to name a few), that have impacted millions of people around the world for around 20 years or so, myself included. While it can be a bit weird and confusing for a band who’s been together for a long time to decide to break up; band break-ups are a part of life. And so, in 2020, former lead singer Mac Powell decided to forge a new career after the disbandment of Third Day around four years ago. While Mac Powell himself has toyed with a country music career with his moniker Mac Powell and the Family Reunion for some time now (Back Again in 2019, December in 2018), it was last year in 2021 where Mac decided to unveil his ‘debut’ solo CCM album.
New Creation was a powerful, moving, and inspiring project. We reviewed the album here, but in essence, we outlined that though the album does seem a tad short in duration as well as number of tracks (a mere 10 songs!); what the album has going for it in its favour, is an incredible and gigantic sense of sentimentality and nostalgia- because anyone who has ever been a fan of Third Day will love most (if not, some) of the album, or anyone who is just a fan of 1990s and 2000s CCM in general. With personal favourites standing out like “River Of Life”, “1991”, “The Centre Of It All” and “Baptised”, a duet with Matt Maher; New Creation is a must for lovers of CCM- and you can read more in our review. But this isn’t a rehashing of sorts… because Mac has since unveiled a deluxe edition album of his project around about a couple of weeks ago- consisting of 2 new tracks and 4 live versions of 4 of his hit songs. Releasing deluxe editions or special edition albums of highly rated and well-received albums… well, doing that right is a feat in and of itself. I’m of the firm belief that if you’re an artist, you either unveil a deluxe edition album the same day as the standard edition, with 3-4 new tracks; or if you release a deluxe edition 1-2 years later, then you have around 8-9 or 10 extra tracks tops.
With Mac Powell though, who chose to release his deluxe edition of New Creation around 10 months after the standard edition; with 6 new tracks… they’ve landed somewhere in the middle. Listening to New Creation again, I’m once again transfixed and captivated by the 10 original tracks- Mac’s power and heart for Jesus is commendable and remarkable indeed. It’s not a groundbreaking album though- and I do agree with Jon’s sentiments that it is a 4 instead of a 5. And while the 4 live versions of “Be Praised”, “River of Life”, “Love is the Reason”, and “New Creation” stay very close to the original recordings; it is the 2 extra brand-new songs, that remind me about the dependability and reliability of Mac and his southern gospel/country/pop/CCM/worship musical mishmash that surprisingly works. Though I could have done with maybe some remix tracks, or demo versions or acoustic renditions, these two new offerings are nothing short of remarkable as well. “You Are”, a standard CCM/worship melody, isn’t anything much musically and lyrically- but it is Mac’s captivating voice that engages me all throughout this melody. As Mac vibrantly relays that Jesus is the One that He wants to follow, and that ‘…You are the way that I wanna be going, You are the truth that I wanna know, You are the life that I wanna be living everywhere that I go, Jesus, You’re the answer that I’ve searched so hard to find, You are the way, You are the truth, and You are the life, You are…’, we are presented with an earnest, honest and powerful worship melody. While the last ‘new’ melody from Mac on this deluxe edition of New Creation, is the reflective and reverent acoustic melody “Savior And Friend”. A heart-warming and moving melody that feels like a modern hymn; Mac effortlessly relays to us that Jesus is our Saviour and that He is our Friend- and He deserves the praise always.
There’s no doubt about it- people will have mixed feelings about New Creation, just like with any solo artist who has departed from a band. Some will welcome this tonal, stylistic, and thematic shift, while others may still long for the things of Third Day; and will bypass this album altogether. Where New Creation, and the deluxe album by extension, plays it right, is where Mac does what he does best- songs that represent his own faith deep down, presented with a backdrop of stripped-back instrumentation to showcase a side of him that isn’t necessarily ‘Third Day’, but still representative of what Third Day stood for, spiritually, morally, ethically and wholeheartedly. Yes, it may take some time (and a few listens from start to finish) to enjoy this album fully (because this is NOT a rock album like we’re used to!), but once we do, we can realise and understand that this is Mac Powell’s music career Part 2, and maybe, just maybe, there could be another 10 + years in him yet. Well done, Mac, for this album (and this deluxe album), that is familiar but different. Looking forward to seeing and hearing how Jesus uses this album in the upcoming weeks and months ahead!
4 songs to listen to: The Centre of it All, Baptised, 1991, Savior And Friend
RIYL: Third Day, Matt Maher, Matthew West, MercyMe, Casting Crowns