Provident Label Group
Release Date: November 5th 2021
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
Having recorded their live debut album Live Worship From Vertical Church in July 2012, and subsequent albums The Rock Won’t Move, Church Songs, Frontiers and Bright Faith Bold Future in October 2013, January 2015, July 2016 and April 2018 respectively; Vertical Worship, the worship part of the Harvest Bible Chapel ministry based in Chicago, recently released a new live project. Grace Is On Our Side was unveiled in March 2020, and considering the situation we were all in at the height of the pandemic, with all of us staying at home due to COVID-19, there was no doubt that we all needed some uplifting, comforting worship music to listen to in order for us to stay sane and reassured by God that we’ll be ok in the end. I mean, we all still do need inspirational, worshipful music from time to time, but we really needed it back then. I believe that Grace Is On Our Side was, and is, one of these albums that we need. Never mind that these songs sound similar in theme and music to some other worship tracks from other artists such as Hillsong Worship, Bethel Music and Planetshakers; what matters is that with these songs, I am certain that God will speak to you, to me, to all of us. And to draw closer to God… that is the main objective of any worship album, isn’t it? If it is… then I say that Vertical Worship’s latest album has certainly done its job, and then some, as Vertical Worship’s latest offering consists of 11 live, honest, personal and vulnerable melodies, filled with raw emotion, and total devotion to our Lord and Saviour!
Bringing many different worship leaders all serving the same God into a space that serves the one purpose of making Jesus famous; the result was once again nothing short of sheer brilliance, with the now main worship leaders of Andi Rozier, Tara Cruz, Judd Harris, Laura Sweeney Smith, and Jake France each creating masterpieces and gem after gem; as Meredith Andrews, and Kyle Friedricks have since left Vertical Worship. While we all may be rolling our eyes at the release of yet another live album that could sound the same as others from years gone by; it is in my humble opinion that Grace Is On Our Side was one of the best worship albums of 2020; this magical offering from Provident Label Group deserves to be at least looked at by everyone on Apple Music or Amazon or Spotify or whatever other streaming service you use. Though the blend of different worship styles are somewhat contrasting and complementary in this album; the band’s entire discography has proven that vibrancy and uniqueness is indeed a wonderful breath of fresh air! It’s something different, that stands out, and that’s definitely a good thing! And now, after this very ‘long’ introduction, can I just say that Vertical Worship’s new song “Blessed”, from I presume to be a new album releasing soon… is incredibly and powerfully inspiring and moving. I for one, am glad that Vertical Worship is back doing what they do best- creating simple yet effective worship anthems for the church to sing- and no doubt I am sure quite a lot of these songs (“Blessed” included) will end up on Sunday morning setlists for churches around the world in the future sometime!
You can read my review of Grace Is On Our Side here, but can I say that “Blessed” is one of this year’s most encouraging and inspiring worship songs? A fresh, revitalising, modern take on the Beatitudes, this piano led acoustic guitar prominent melody is definitely fit for corporate worship, as the band eloquently relay to us that ‘…to seek You is to find You, to know You is to want You, and I want nothing more than You, to see You is to love You, and I can’t believe I get to, I want nothing more than You…’. A heartfelt, honest, emotional and hard-hitting melody, “Blessed” inspires, comforts and heals, and is sure to be present on many playlists of listeners for many weeks, months and hopefully years to come.
Vertical Worship has done it again! With many bands/movements that have been impressing me of late, including Hillsong (all facets), Bethel Music, Jesus Culture, Passion, Desperation Band, Worship Central and New Life Worship; this group of musicians who are obviously hungry for Jesus Christ and His presence, stand tall amongst all of these talented men and women of God. It’s a tough gig, ‘competing’ with musicians who are equally as good, however Vertical Worship is sure to be around for a while yet. As I hope and pray that the individual worship leaders Andi, Jake, Lauren, Judd and Tara create solo albums for us all to hear sometime soon, fans of worship music in general should not miss this single (and the rest of their discography), and what is a fine and enjoyable worship experience! Well done Vertical Worship, and I look forward to the next album, whenever that may be! Perhaps a Christmas album?
RIYL: Bethel Music, Hillsong Worship, Planetshakers, Leeland, Passion, Crowder