North Point Music
Release Date: June 9th 2015
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
North Point Inside Out– HEAR (Amazon mp3/iTunes)
- Hear: Begin
- Hand Towards Heaven (Chris Cauley)
- My Life (Steve Fee)
- Close (Lauren Daigle)
- Trust It All (Brett Stanfill)
- He Is Jesus (Seth Condrey)
- You Alone (Lauren Daigle)
- Oceans (Adam Kersh)
- All My Hope (Paul Taylor Smith)
- Multiplied (Steve Fee)
- Love Come Down (Heath Baltzglier)
- This Is Amazing Grace (Chris Cauley)
- I Will Rest (Adam Kersh)
- Sinking Deep (Adam Kersh)
- Sons And Daughters (Brett Stanfill)
Over the years, music worship movements come and go. In any given year, the number of worship albums is plenty- take this year for example. Kari Jobe, Paul Baloche, Christy Nockels, Israel Houghton and New Breed, Travis Ryan, Fike, Rend Collective Experiment, David Crowder*Band, and that’s just the artists! Live worship albums from Passion, Desperation Band, Hillsong, Vertical Church Band, Planetshakers, Bethel Live and Jesus Culture round out the list of worship leaders in which some may be inventive and unique, and others just plain ordinary. Enter in NorthPoint Live, the worship team from NorthPoint Community Church, based in Georgia. Their current album is recorded primary for the student branch of the worship band, entitled North Point InsideOut: Hear; the follow-up from the 2012 album Inside Out. With many original songs, written and performed by talented artists such as Adam Kersh, Chris Cauley, Seth Condrey, and Heath Balltzglier; as well as well-known worship covers, this 15 track 60 minute emphatic and vibrant worship experience could be seen as another conglomerate of songs thrown on the ‘worship fire’…but don’t dismiss this album too quickly- some songs may indeed surprise and grow on you! In fact, this album is probably one of my favourite worship compilation albums all year!
Let’s delve into each of the songs, grouping them into which artists sings them, shall we? Steve Fee from Fee leads a couple of songs, with the most recognisable being Needtobreathe’s “Multiplied”! Starting off with a racaous and explosive guitar and synth driven verse segued into a stellar, heartfelt and honest chorus that overtly praises God, this inspiring track sure to minister to all who listen, kudos to Bear and Bo for writing such an encouraging song. Honest and emotional, courageous and daring, this song of admission and surrender is sure to confront the non-believer, hopefully in a good way, when they listen to the record. Co-written with Ed Cash, hopefully this song brings many people to Jesus. As Steve earnestly cries out ‘…Your love will surely come find us, like blazing wild fire, singing Your name…’, I can’t help but be proud and happy for Needtobreathe, and for the listeners for being blessed with such a soon-to-be timeless song! Despite trials and tribulations, this song is the testimony from the band of getting through the other side, and is also musically brilliant. Steve also delivers an original worship anthem, the mid tempo synth driven melody “My Life”, which is also musically and lyrically brilliant. With such poignant and emotional lyrics from Steve, relaying that ‘…my life, my life, is not my own, I surrender, I surrender, You are the one, the one I’m living for, forever, forever, for you are holy, God of glory, we’re living only for You…’, we are introduced to the realisation that everything we have been given, inclusive of our own lives, is God’s. Once we fully grasp and appreciate this revelation, we can live in the fullness of God as we surrender wholly to Him. Well done Steve for these two powerful and impacting worship melodies.
The ex US-Voice contestant Chris Cauley also makes a couple of appearances, firstly with the dance infused EDM syth laden inspiring melody “Hands Towards Heaven”, a simple yet effective high octane and explosive worship song, voicing that Jesus deserves all praise, therefore we can lift our hands and praise Him in all circumstances. As Chris eloquently sings out ‘…with our Hands towards heaven and our voices raised, to the King almighty, we give all our praise…’, I can’t help but join in and worship Jesus as well. “This Is Amazing Grace”, written by Phil Wickham, is also present here, and Chris’s version is thoroughly enjoyable! Sung with abandon and utter devotion to God, Chris’s vocals are spot on, as he does Phil’s original version justice, and continues to make this track very accessible to the casual listener, yet maintaining the worshipful nature and the vulnerability as well. With Chris clearly defining grace and love being ‘…that You would take my place, that You would bear my cross; You would lay down Your life that I would be set free, Jesus I sing of all that You’ve done to me…’; Chris fervently gives glory and thanks to the God who has saved us and gave us new life.
Newcomer Adam Kersh’s offerings are probably the songs present here that have me the most excited, as they showcase what a brilliant singer and songwriter he is, and have me declaring that he will be an artist to watch out for in the future. Though no one can top Taya Smith’s version of “Oceans” recorded by Hillsong UNITED, Adam’s acoustic stripped down rendition comes a close second. This Holy Spirit inspired God breathed song just transcends artists, and Adam brilliantly covers what Hillsong UNITED should be congratulated for!
Sung in an acoustic guitar and light electric guitar led atmosphere (with little to no instrument buildup or crescendo in the bridge or anywhere else in the song, except an increase in vocal intensity and presence, a slight buildup near the end); the epic anthemic prayer, and declaration of Jesus’ sovereignty, delves 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. 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. Every time I hear this song I am almost drawn to tears, as I commune with God, and this version continues on this positive trend! The original slow paced acoustic guitar ballad “I Will Rest” brilliantly reminds us of how we as Christians can rest in the love and embrace of Jesus Christ. Vocally reminding me of Bart Millard, Austin Adamec or Jonathan Thulin, Adam’s vocals here are near flawless, especially as he relays that ‘…I will rest in the promise of your grace, I will boast in the power of Your name, in my weakness You are strong, my faith will carry on in You…’. “Sinking Deep”, previously recorded by Hillsong Young And Free, is the final melody led by Adam, also an album highlight. Though there isn’t much changed from the original (it’s still a ballad led by the piano), Adam poignantly reminds us that communion and our relationship with Jesus should be deeper as time progresses, to match the ever constant and unending love Jesus has for us. Earnestly crying out that our hearts belong to Jesus, Adam is a worshipper that will be known worldwide in the coming years! Well dozen Adam for these inspiring melodies!
While Heath Baltzglier offers us the folk/dance Rend Collective meets Capital Kings-like “Love Come Down”, celebrating and declaring that Jesus is alive and His love is raining down upon us, as he passionately cries out that ‘…I will sing forever of Your love come down, lift my hands to heaven, sing Your praises out, I was lost in darkness but You pulled me out…’; Seth Condrey prayerfully and reflectively relays an eternal truth that Jesus is constant and with us every step of our days, in a soft, piano prominent modern hymn like melody “He Is Jesus”. Eloquently reminding us that Jesus is able, sovereign, unending and our Father, King and friend, the worship anthem builds to an impressive crescendo which complements nicely with his majestic and commanding voice. Paul Taylor Smith, singing in a similar way to Josh Wilson and Kristian Stanfill, also chimes in, fervently and ardently proclaiming across booming guitars and impressive synth, that all of our hope is in Jesus, in “All My Hope”.
“Trust It All” is a pop/CCM/worship electric guitar mid tempo worship anthem, where Brett Stanfill (brother of Kristian?) ardently and passionately reminds us that Jesus is for us always, and we only need to trust in Him to be at peace in this life, as we zealously cry out ‘…Jesus let it be for you, for you only, my whole life, all for Your glory, my life is in Your hands…my dreams and all my plans, I trust it all…’, and the album closer “Sons And Daughters” is a fitting way to end the album, with Brett highlighting the creation story, that God knew all of our names before creation, before everything, how mind boggling is that? Brett also reminds us that we are sons and daughters of God, that He loves us very much, and that He longs for us to be in communion with Him, what a refreshing thought.
Yet it is Lauren Daigle who impresses in her beautiful and inspiring offerings. “Close” is simple yet one of my favourite melodies in the album, with Lauren powerfully reminding us that we want to be close to Jesus in everything we do, across stirring electric guitars, vibrant keys and a striking and near flawless vocal reminiscent of Dara Maclean and Francesca Battistelli. While the piano and acoustic guitar led “You Alone” (no not Crowder or Vota’s songs of the same name!) compliments Lauren’s fantastic vocal ranger nicely, and also reminding us about our need for Jesus and only Jesus, and that He alone can satisfy or very souls! Well done Lauren, Brett, Steve, Adam and co., and may you and your ministry be blessed in the many years to come!
At first glance it may seem like there is a batch of original songs and covers mixed together to create an album, and such a live album probably did not take much thought and planning. However, Hear is filled with God-inspired moments, led by many worshippers that will be prominent and in the spotlight in the many years to come, inclusive of up and coming Centricity Music artist Lauren Daigle. On a day where Dan Bremnes launches his label debut album and Jason Gray releases a B-sides and remix EP; this movement of church worshippers will probably not get many sales in their first week. However I would surmise that these worship leaders care not about sales, but rather reaching listeners with the love of Jesus, as this is definitely one of the underrated albums release on that day, and in this month. Hopefully as time progresses, North Point receives the recognition that the church and its ministry deserve! Well done guys for a thoroughly enjoyable album; and God bless your ministry in the future.
5 songs to listen to: My Life, Close, You Alone, Multiplied, I Will Rest
RIYL: Eddie Kirkland, Casey Darnell, Kari Jobe, Meredith Andrews, Michael W. Smith