Provident Label Group
Release Date: August 20th 2021
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
Travis Greene– Oil + Water (Amazon mp3/iTunes)
- Oil & Water (feat. Anthony Hamilton)
- Easter (feat. Todd Dulaney)
- Hold On Me (feat. Kirk Franklin & John P. Kee)
- Wonder (feat. Le’Andria Johnson)
- La La (feat. D’Nar)
- Search Me (feat. Tasha Cobbs Leonard)
- Love Song (feat. Madison Binion)
- Somehow (feat. Kierra Sheard)
- Dependable (feat. Darrel Walls)
- Close The Door (feat. Mali Music)
In a world where COVID-19 and all of its variants seem to be the norm, we all long for something to inspire us and encourage us; and to provide us comfort. Music has done that throughout all time, and I guess depending on what season of life you’re at, at the moment, any kind of music can speak to you. CCM, worship, pop, country, rock, alternative, opera, even heavy metal; God can and does use all kinds of music to draw people closer to Him and to help us all understand that yes, this life is hard, but with God beside us, and our friends and family, we can make it through anything. Today is Boxing Day, and with Christmas and the ‘official period’ for celebrating Jesus’ birth over for another year; apprehension can fill us sometimes, especially so close to the New Year. New Year’s resolutions and goals and dreams and plans can stifle us, but when we know that Jesus has got us and we do not need to fear; it is possible for us to breathe easier? Travis Greene’s gospel worship album Oil + Water, which released in August this year, is one of the many albums that has inspired me and has brought me closer to God; and though I’m not really an avid fan of gospel music, I figured that perhaps since it’s going to be a new year soon, that I can actively listen to music that I wouldn’t normally, knowing that it is openly and overtly glorifying God. Artists like Kirk Franklin, tasha Cobbs Leonard and Mary Mary aren’t my cup of tea… but I thought with Travis’s album- why not?
Oil + Water is the new project. It has ten songs, it’s jam-packed with energy, passion, and soul. I have features on every single song on the album. Anthony Hamilton, Todd Dulaney, Kirk Franklin, John P. Kee, Le’Andria Johnson, Madison Binion, D’Nar Young, Tasha Cobbs Leonard, Kierra Sheard, Darrel Walls, and Mali Music. These artists are phenomenal and they killed every song that we did. We had a great time recording it and I am excited for the world to hear it.
I often say that Kirk Franklin and John P. Kee are my Michael Jackson and Prince. To me, it doesn’t get any bigger or better than those two. They have had such an influence on me in music. I often say that if it had not been for them, I wouldn’t be who I am. On and off stage, they have been great to me. I’d always wanted to do a song with them so, I wrote this song, hit them up, and they were both down to do it. The rest is history.
Immediately off the bat, we are presented with an earnest and passionate album, and one that glorifies God above any other. Opening with the honest, emotional and powerful title track, Travis employs Anthony Hamilton as a guest vocal, and fervently relays that it is Jesus’ love that keeps us going each day, that ‘…like oil from the jar, water from the well, out of Your heart, it won’t stop, it’s a never-ending love…’. With such a comforting and stirring melody from Travis; this opener explosively and earnestly encourages us to praise our God for the mighty and strong and powerful God that He is. “Easter” immediately follows, and together with Todd Dulaney, Travis emphatically and joyously proclaims with immense passion the vivid account of the gospel, that ‘…what I could not pay, He handled for me, He took the bill and the receipt, it’s signed in blood, He paid it all, all to Jesus I owe, sin left a stain, He ashed it as snow, when I could not pay, He covered for it, hallelujah to the One that paid it all…’. To me personally, “Easter” is a great reminder of the fragility of our lives before Christ, and the unending love God has for each of us. And as far as songs proclaiming the gospel and the enormity of the sacrifice of Jesus, this track beautifully encapsulates the unending truth of God’s love quite perfectly.
The rest of Oil + Water is a joy to listen to, even if I personally am not an avid fan of the gospel genre. “Hold On Me”, an exuberant and compelling collaboration with Kirk Franklin and John P. Kee that actually alters my own perfection of how gospel music should sound like, is dynamic and thoroughly engaging and enjoyable to listen to, as I hear all three vocalists give glory to God through their testimonies. While “Wonder” features Le’Andria Johnson, and is an acoustic guitar driven ballad- the two vocalists vibrantly and skilfully delivering a song of thanks and gratefulness, outlining God’s faithfulness, that ‘…when my soul looks back and wonder, oh, how I made it over, when my soul looks back and wonder, now I know it was nobody, uh, nobody, but You…’; and “La La”, the shortest song on the album, is another melody that turns my preconceptions of gospel music on its head- the 1 minute melody with D’Nar, speaking about singing ‘la’s’ when you don’t have the words to praise God for who He is and for His goodness. But to me, the song from this album that really won me over to maybe actually checking out gospel music actively, is “Search Me” with Tasha Cobbs Leonard. A standout on Oil + Water in its own right, this song stands tall at just over 5 minutes, and is essentially a prayer to God, asking Him to take away all of our selfish desires, and instead asking Him to draw us closer to Himself, that ‘…I wanna be where You are, if You find it in my heart, take it away, just want to please You, God…’.
The acoustic guitar driven “Love Song” with MDSN, is a sweet, soft, reflective ballad, that essentially relays that we as believers are in love with Jesus Christ; while Kierra Sheard features in the anthemic, grandiose powerful melody “Somehow”. A definite album standout, Travis and Kierra passionate and ardently relay to us that even in the darkest times, even when we’re in the valley, Jesus steps in somehow- maybe in the most unexpected moments. A song that is comforting and reassuring in the fact that Jesus is right beside us and will never, ever leave us, Travis majestically and emphatically recounts truth after truth in this near-flawless melody. “Dependable”, a song with Darrel Walls, features Travis confidently declaring that Jesus isn’t only just a God who saves- he is a God who remains the same and thus can be relied upon. He is dependable and trustworthy and loyal and this fact should inspire us and comfort us and encourage us greatly. Oil + Water then ends with “Close The Door” with Mali Music. Musically electronic in nature, Travis reminds us that we can find Jesus and hope and peace when we surround ourselves with people and situations that will help us grow as people.
I often say that the pandemic did one of two things. It made you get creative or made you crazy (laughs). For me, it was a little of both. I was determined to make the best out of my time and do something that would really define the season that I was in. I sat down in the studio and got to work. This is what came out of it. Oil + Water is really what came out of the pandemic. I had a great time doing the project, it’s probably one of my favorites so far. The first studio record that I’ve done since I’ve been signed to RCA, so I’m really pumped about it.
When I was born – on the spot, my mother said that I wasn’t breathing. My skin color was purple, and doctors immediately said that I was stillborn. My mother and father just started praying and believing God, and He performed a miracle. [and when I was 4], they [rescue team] got to my body and they covered me with white shirt. They said it was over (again) and the doctors pronounced me dead. But, then my mother came, she picked up my lifeless body and prayed to God to give me my life. He did it.
I said mom I remember falling, but I never hit the ground. Right before I hit the ground, a man with a big hand caught me but I couldn’t see his face. I heard a voice and he said do you want to go with your mama. He said I should come to him and I looked at him and said I want my mom. He said okay, this time you are going but next time, you will come with me and I looked up… I asked what his name was. He looked back and said, ‘Son, my name is Jesus’.
God really had to deliver me from finding value in things, affirmation, pleasing people, and even with being impressed with people or wanting them to be impressed with me. He really extracted that from me, and then launched me to this level of success. I don’t crave the stage in order to feel like I’m important, and I don’t anxiously crave an award, or anything like that. Now I’m able to really categorize all of those things in its proper place and prioritize which is more important–that’s God and family. Everything else is just secondary to that.
Part electronic, part gospel, part worship but all inspirational, Travis Greene has delivered to us a high-octane, energetic, powerful album about Jesus being all that we need. Thematically, there isn’t really anything new here that we don’t already know, but it’s nice to be reminded of eternal truths that we all can forget sometimes. This album doesn’t make me an instant lover of all things gospel music, but to be fair, Oil + Water is a solid album, and you all need to check it out as soon as you can. Well done Travis, for an album that inspires, encourages, comforts and brings healing. I can’t wait to hear what’s in store for you in 2022!
3 songs to listen to: Hold On Me, Search Me, Somehow
RIYL: Hillsong Worship, Maverick City Music, Dante Bowe, Mack Brock, Elevation Worship, Phil Wickham, Matt Redman