Zach Williams – Austin City Limits: Live at the Moody Theatre

Essential Records / Provident Label Group

Release Date: June 23rd 2023

Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre

Zach WilliamsAustin City Limits: Live at the Moody Theatre (Amazon mp3/iTunes)

Track Listing:

  1. Big Tent Revival (Live)
  2. Less Like Me (Live)
  3. Old Church Choir (Live)
  4. Stand Up (Live)
  5. Fear Is Liar (Live)
  6. Testimony (Live)
  7. Rescue Story (Live)
  8. There Was Jesus (Live)
  9. Slave To Nothing (Live)
  10. The Father’s Love (Live)
  11. Heart of God (Live)
  12. Lookin’ For You (Live)
  13. Jesus’ Fault (feat. Ben Fuller) [Live]
  14. Under My Feet (Live)
  15. Stand My Ground (Live)
  16. Baptized (Live)
  17. Chain Breaker (Live)
  18. Communion (Live)
  19. Flesh and Bone (We Remember) [Live]

Zach has been in and around the music industry for quite some time. Since unveiling his first album Chain Breaker in 2016, till last year when he released A Hundred Highways, there’s always been a sense of earnestness about him, in a way that shows us all of the enthusiastic passion that he carries into his songs that he creates. Songs like ‘Chain Breaker’, ‘There Was Jesus’, ‘Rescue Story’ and more recently ‘Heart of God’ and ‘Jesus’s Fault’ are some of the many tracks that he will be known for later on down the line, as well as his gruff and distinctive voice. I recently wrote a review about A Hundred Highways and since then, Zach’s released yet another musical offering for us all to hear- this time, it’s a live album recording- Austin City Limits: Live At the Moody Theatre.

There’s nothing much to be said about this album that hasn’t been said in my previous album reviews of his 3 studio albums in the past. This 19 track album takes the best of the best out of the last 3 albums and places them into live format- and yes, this album is definitely for the fan of Zach who knows all of his songs from previous albums and can sing along. But for the casual listener…this live album isn’t good, and a studio album should be what should be listened to first, if Zach’s discography is something that is wanting to be pursued. So as I heard this album from start to finish, I was much impressed with this live album, even if I didn’t fully connect with A Hundred Highways as a holistic album as I thought I was gonna. Standing at 19 songs (well, 17, because ‘Testimony’ is just Zach sharing his testimony, and ‘Communion’ is Zach praying before communion), Zach’s live album captures, as best as it can, the live experience of whatever happened on the night. Sure, it isn’t the same as actually being there, but this live album is pretty, pretty close. All the fan-favourites from Zach are here- ‘Chain Breaker’, ‘Heart of God’, ‘Rescue Story’, ‘Old Church Choir’ and ‘There Was Jesus’ to name a few.

Austin City Limits is an album for any fan of Zach’s music in the past…myself included. It’s an album that reminds us of the man behind the music who is Zach Williams, that he’s just a guy like you and me. Raw and unfiltered, we get to see an eye-opening account of Zach’s childhood in ‘Testimony’, and it is because of this, that I’m able to respect Zach all the more. A must-listen if you’re a fan of Zach’s previous material, or even similar-styled artists like Rhett Walker, Third Day, needtobreathe or Walker Hayes; Zach’s album encourages us maybe, just maybe, go out and see more live shows in the forthcoming years because…well, nothing beats the real thing. Well done Zach for this powerful and compelling live recording. Here’s hoping these tracks can minister to people’s hearts in weeks and months to come.

5 songs to listen to: Chain Breaker, Less Like Me, Fear is a Liar, There Was Jesus, Rescue Story

Score: 4.5/5

RIYL: Third Day, needtobreathe, Walker Hayes, Keith Urban

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