Peter Hollens – Legendary Covers, Vol. 2: Inspire

One Voice Productions LLC

Release Date: October 2nd 2020

Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre

Peter HollensLegendary Covers, Vol. 2: Inspire (Amazon mp3/iTunes)

Track Listing:

  1. It is Well With My Soul (feat. David Archuleta)
  2. The Climb (feat. BYU Vocal Point)
  3. You Will Be Found
  4. Fix You (feat. Mario Jose)
  5. When You Believe (feat. BYU Vocal Point)
  6. Take Me Home, Country Roads
  7. I’ll Stand By You (feat. the Hound & the Fox)
  8. This is Me (feat. The Hollensfamily)
  9. Will the Circle Be Unbroken (feat. Malukah & The Hollensfamily)
  10. Fire and Rain (feat. Tim Foust)
  11. God Only Knows (feat. Evynne Hollens, Jenika Marion & Tim Foust)
  12. Hallelujah (feat. Mat & Savana)
  13. Let It Be (feat. Hollensfamily, Casey Braves & Sam Tsui)
  14. How Great Thou Art (feat. All American Boys Chorus)
  15. Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For (feat. The Home Fries, The Hollensfamily & Home Free)

To be honest, I don’t think anyone has heard about Peter Hollens. No, that’s not a correct statement. I mean, surely there are a lot of his fans and followers on his twitter, facebook and youtube pages, but what I’m saying is that the general public, people collectively; don’t know who he is (aside from his diehard fans). Even for me, who is an occasional listener of Peter (and not really a diehard fan, but a fan nonetheless), if it wasn’t for a post on NRT, showcasing a powerful acapella duet with CCM singer-songwriter Jamie Grace (covering a Linkin Park song ‘Heavy’, in the wake of the lead singer’s suicide), I’d never would’ve stumbled upon such a talented and emotive artist. Though independent, and though mostly a cover artist, Peter’s passion and enthusiasm to create art that is far beyond unique, is something of a mystery, even still. With much of his material only created through voice and vocal movements (Peter is an acapella artist), Peter’s uncanny knack at transforming an already familiar (or even unfamiliar) song and making it his own is nothing short of a talent that is indeed God-given.

Unveiling a variety of albums and singles throughout his storeyed and colourful youtube career (each song he’s unveiled which has since been released on various albums and single releases, has a corresponding music video!); Peter Hollens even unveiled to the public his own rendition of the Greatest Showman songs (of which we reviewed the album here), alongside a self-titled album Peter Hollens in 2014, and a compilation in 2019 titled Legendary Covers, Vol. 1 (both of which include a myriad of cover songs from famous melodies throughout the years), to name a few. Peter has also given to us a 2 disc acapella album titled Magical Legendary Covers– 28 tracks of Disney covers unveiled in May 2020 (of which we reviewed here), and so as we are here in October 2020, we see yet another offering by Peter.  This time, it’s a compilation of songs that I myself know, and songs that I don’t. Titled Legendary Covers, Vol. 2 (and a sequel to Legendary Covers, Vol. 1), this is a must-have if you have been a fan of Peter’s music and renditions for a while, if you are a fan of accapella music, or even a fan of music artists primarily living on Youtube (because frankly, that is where all the undiscovered talent really is!).

If you’ve read up to here by now, you’d know that this track listing of songs given the accapella treatment by Peter are some of the most emotive songs over the years, songs that we all probably should’ve known but not necessarily, for whatever reason. And while this album as a whole is not necessarily Christian in nature (except for the hymns ‘It is Well’ and ‘How Great Thou Art’), there seems to be a theme running through the 15 tracks. Each song present on this acapella album has some sort of inspirational element to it- whether it’s a hymn, or a song from a movie, or just an uplifting song in general. And through all of this, I still stand by my reason to write my thoughts down about this album- because a song doesn’t have to be ‘Christian’ for it to be used by the Lord to show things about ourselves and Himself- in fact, I don’t even think Peter is even of the Christian faith. I mean, I don’t know, so don’t quote me on this, Peter is in fact pretty much a private person when it comes to his personal faith. But in some ways, that doesn’t even matter- it only matters between himself and the Lord. Other than that, God can use anything that He wants, yes, even the unconventional and weird, even this covers album; to bring people to Himself if He wanted to.

And so what do I make of this album? Let me just say this- that while for me I don’t necessarily know all these songs here on this 15 track album, I do know quite a few. And the others I’m not really familiar with, I’ve heard a few times in my life- not knowing what these songs were. Nevertheless, compared to Legendary Covers Vol. 1; I’m more familiar with this track-listing than the previous one. I firmly believe that this album is by far one of Peter’s best cover albums to date, for any artist that delves into the realm of cover songs and albums. Yes, Peter Hollens is not a household name, nor does he have to be, in order for such a project like this to be impactful. Songs like ‘The Climb’ (Miley Cyrus), ‘Fix You’ (Coldplay), ‘I’ll Stand By You’ (The Pretenders), ‘Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For’ (U2), ‘You Will Be Found’ (Dear Evan Hansen), ‘Country Roads’ (John Denver), ‘When You Believe’ (Whitney Houston), ‘Fire And Rain’ (James Taylor) and ‘God Only Knows’ (The Beach Boys), have all struck a chord with many people who have heard these songs over the years, and all are present on this album also. Peter, through only using his voice, has accomplished far more than I’m sure any other acapella artist (aside from Pentatonix of course), and this album full of indeed ‘legendary’ songs are evidence of this.

‘…I’ve said this once and I will say this again- people don’t have to make ‘Christian’ music, or even ascribe to the faith itself for God to use whatever is created to bring you close to Himself. That is a fact. God can and will use whatever way He knows will grab your attention, and if it through this acapella album, or a popular mainstream album, or through a worship album, then we have to lay aside our own preconceived ideas of what we believe to be inspiring music, and let God move the way that He does. Peter’s new album, be it covers, is as emotive as it is poignant, heartfelt as it is challenging, and all the while impressive with the fact that there are minimal instruments employed to create these indeed masterpieces. Peter’s music is a must-listen if you are a fan of acapella, or dare I say it, if you’re a fan of music, period. Acapella is probably, alongside rap, one of the hardest musical genres people can go into, and Peter himself has undertaken it with much grace and poise. Well done Peter for such a project that is certain to garner new fans moving forward. Can’t wait to whatever comes next…’ This above quote was my ending paragraph for my review of Peter Hollens‘ Legendary Covers: Vol. 1, and also seems fitting as an ending for this cover album of Legendary Covers: Vol. 2 as well. For a lot of these songs here on this 15 track album, especially songs like ‘Fix You’, ‘Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For’, ‘Hallelujah’, even the hymns ‘How Great Thou Art’ and ‘It is Well’, will always hold a special place in people’s hearts- it reminds us all of songs from yesteryear that are still impactful even now during such a time where familiar songs are needed for inspiration during such a difficult time as this. Well done Peter for giving to us, major welcomed nostalgia, and songs that are certain to give us a lot of comfort and solace during this difficult and uncertain global time, both now and ahead. Kudos to Peter for this compilation idea, can’t wait for the next album, whatever it is, and whenever it comes next!

4 songs to listen to: Fix You, I’ll Stand By You, Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, You Will Be Found

Score: 4.5/5

RIYL: Tyler Ward, Cimorelli, Alex G, Pentatonix, Tiffany Alvord, Megan Nicole

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