Capitol CMG / Sparrow Records
Release Date: March 6th 2020
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
- Canvas and Clay
If you’re Chris Tomlin, and you have had a tremendously successful career; with plenty of Dove Award wins and Grammy Award nominations- even #1 radio hits and the highly popular and respected songs like ‘Amazing Grace’, ‘How Great is Our God’, ‘Our God’, and more recently ‘Whom Shall I Fear’ and ‘Good Good Father’; what should you undertake next? Well, how about creating your own record label, and signing the lead singer of Housefires? And that’s exactly what Chris did in 2018, with him launching Bowyer and Bow Records (a subset of Capitol Christian Music Group) and signing Pat Barrett to the label. While this may or may not mean that Pat himself is leaving Housefires, this does provide us with a glimpse into the artists that Chris is mentoring and influencing. Pat himself unveiled to us his self-titled debut project in July 2018; and gave to us chart-topping songs like ‘The Way (New Horizon)’, ‘Sails’, ‘Build My Life’ and ‘Better’, to name a few. He later released an EP titled Build My Life– featuring 4 tracks of the same song ‘Build My Life’- one the original song, one the radio edit, one the live version, and the last featuring Bethel Music artist Cory Asbury; and now here in 2020, another live album later titled Canvas and Clay (originally written songs in 2019, as well as some songs from his 2018 album, are all recorded in a live format, inclusive of the title track), we see Pat’s radio version of ‘Canvas and Clay’; arguably a song that has shot up the radio charts and has become, alongside ‘Way Maker’, as the worship songs of the 2019/20 period.
‘Canvas and Clay’ the song is a powerful one- one that reminds us all that God Himself is the painter and the potter, and we are just canvases and clay. In a nutshell, it is a reminder that God is God, and we aren’t. We don’t have the full picture of what we know God is painting, and yet at times we often declare as though we do- and then make grave mistakes because of that. ‘Canvas and Clay’ teaches us all to be humble in our approach to God Himself, as we understand that our own thoughts of what we believe the situation to be at a certain moment, is far more miniscule than we think, and that Christ’s idea for what He knows our life is going to be, far exceed and outweighs anything we as humans can even conjure up. As Pat himself reminds us all, ‘…the line that really kind of started all this was “you make all things work together,” like Romans 8, a verse where it talks about God’s ability to use all these things that seem unrelated or unusable and somehow make something of them. In just going off that we just started talking about relating to God as an artist and seeing Him in that light. He’s The master, creator, artist…’ God creates all things, and in all things He holds it all together- we don’t have to worry, stress or even try to alter and change certain circumstances or outcomes- we just have to rest knowing that God has this, and it’s ok if we don’t.
A song that for me has allowed myself to exercise more patience, especially during a time of uncertainty, calamity and chaos, we can rest assured that God is working all things together- for His glory and our good, whatever that may look like in the end. It may seem like things aren’t coming together now, but God is indeed the artist- He is forever working, and whatever comes out of this pandemic, I’m sure will be more beautiful, awe-inspiring and majestic, than we can ever predict or comprehend. Well done Pat for such a powerful song, one that has already been covered by another heartfelt and impressive artist, Buidling 429. While I myself enjoy both versions of the song, I’m hereby reminded through both Buidling 429 and Pat Barrett, that God works things together, all we just have to do is sit back, and watch the masterpiece painter present to us a…well, masterpiece! Well done Pat for this inspiring melody, can’t wait for the next full-length studio album, whenever it arises.
RIYL: Chris Tomlin, Cory Asbury, Christy Nockels, Phil Wickham