Capitol Christian Music Group
Release Date: March 30th 2018
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
- The Way (New Horizon)
- Build My Life
- Sails (feat. Steffany Gretzinger & Amanda Cook)
If I mentioned the name ‘Pat Barrett’ to you, would you recognise it immediately? I mean, maybe some die-hard fans would, but I’d say the general population would not. Now how about if I mentioned that Pat Barrett co-wrote the immensely popular and inspiring worship anthem “Good, Good Father”, with Chris Tomlin. Maybe you would know him then? This year, Pat, who recently signed with Capitol Christian Music Group, has decided to step out as a solo artist and record a collection of songs of his own, instead of being forever known as ‘that unknown dude that made Tomlin even more famous!’. Sure, Pat was (and maybe still is) a member of Housefires; but really, who knows that independent band to the level of other signed artists?
I know that sometimes independent artists are maybe much more grounded and dedicated and respected more than signed artists, but the fact of the matter is that if you’re not signed, that you will not receive much exposure. So, I guess Pat is using the popularity of “Good, Good Father” to his advantage, and is now capitalising on a God-moment. This past week his self-titled EP recently dropped to digital outlets, and although only 4 songs long, I reckon Pat has released some of the year’s most hopeful and inspiring worshipful melodies. From the mid-tempo guitar led worship anthem “Build My Life”, already made popular by Brett Younker from Passion, Christy Nockels and Michael W. Smith; to the contemplative and reserved piano led melody “Sails” featuring Steffany Gretzinger and Amanda Cook on guest vocalists; Pat’s debut project is one to savour, for many, many years- he is an artist that will be on the name of everyone’s lips my year’s end, I guarantee it!
Immediately my eyes are drawn to the most familiar song on the album “Build My Life”. With the pace quickened on this version (as versions from Passion, and from Michael W. Smith are over 7 minutes, Christy Nockels’ version is 5 and a half minutes, and this one is just over 4!), this by no means translates into a poor-quality song. In fact, it’s just the opposite, as the more radio friendly version of “Build My Life” is nonetheless still an exquisite, brilliant acoustic guitar driven grandiose worship anthem. As Pat ardently cries out and declares God to be holy and that He is ‘…Jesus, the name above every other name, Jesus, the only one who could ever save, worthy of every breath we could ever breathe, we live for You…’, we are gently reminded of the fact that Jesus is holy, worthy and perfect in every way, thus it is out of this fact that we can and should praise Him with our everything, as we declare that it is He who we can and should build our lives upon.
The rest of the ‘brand new’ tracks inspire us to live a life of fullness in accordance to what Jesus has stirred inside us in our lives, while also creating melodies that are confronting and comforting at the same time, in order to start discussions around faith. EP opener “The Way (New Horizons)”, though lyrically a bit cliché, is enjoyable nonetheless, as this energetic guitar led mid-tempo pop melody ardently relays to us that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, that Jesus Christ has bought our freedom, and that we can live in that promise because of everything He’s done; while slower tempo 5 minute long acoustic guitar led reflective, lullaby-ish and hymn-like melody “Better”, co-written with Chris Tomlin, eloquently and vividly describes about how Jesus Christ is better than anything we can ever imagine, and better than our material possessions and the things of this world that we think give us value. EP ender, the duet, or should I say treblet, with Pat, Steffany Gretzinger and Amanda Cook, finishes off proceedings, and though this is yet another slower track, these 3 vocalists with different styles of singing and different ways of worshipping God is enough to keep me interested, as we remember to open up the ‘sails’ of our hearts, so that we can let God into the most scary and vulnerable parts of our lives.
The nit-pick that I have about this EP is that it’s too short, whereas there also is an overload of ballads here (3 out of 4, and even “The Way” isn’t that much of an upbeat pop/rock track!). And though Pat Barrett’s debut EP is solid, and listenable; it’s a shame that I think of Chris Tomlin whenever I listen to Pat’s music. Don’t get me wrong, this EP is good in its own right, and by no means am I criticising Chris Tomlin’s music; however Chris Tomlin and his music right now in my opinion represents CCM and worship music sameness, which is unfortunately what I hear on Pat’s EP. Hopefully the upcoming full length album (whenever that arises) will be more musically diverse. This project though is lyrically near-flawless and extremely encouraging, and Pat definitely deserves kudos for delivering and EP that is sure to have people talking. Well done Pat for this EP, I can’t wait to hear more of your material in the upcoming months and years!
3 songs to listen to: The Way, Build My Life, Sails
RIYL: Brett Younker, Jimi Cravity, Housefires, Chris Tomlin, Paul Baloche, Michael W. Smith