Playing in the Water
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Audio CD, September 29, 2009
Join the Praise Team of St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church in song as they give their own twist to modern worship music with reference to both scripture and the long standing musical traditions of the church.
Defined by theme rather than style, Christian music varies the most of all the genres. Christ is our conversation; Music is our language, Styles may change and tastes may differ, but our message remains the same. We are...
Centered in Christ:
Because of what Christ has done for us, we are freed to be the people that God has made us to be. Knowing that we cannot save ourselves, we continually look to Jesus for direction and strength.
Gifted with Grace:
Because God first loved us, we are able to love others, and be reconciled to God and each other through forgiveness of sin. We constantly seek to share this gift with the world.
Ministering through Service:
In response to these gifts, we venture into the world in order to serve others, that through the work of the Holy Spirit in us, we might become the hands of God.
Tracks include: God's Amazing Grace, Jesus Loves Me, Heaven Knows, Light, Baskets Full of Bread, One Sheep, Beautiful Savior, Psalm XXIII, Spirit Wind, Amazing Grace, Feed My Sheep and Bethlehem Tonight.
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Fugli's folksy guitar opens this song about the unity of the saints. At first, I found the contrast of the unnamed female vocalist against Fugli's as a bit odd, but as I listened to the song a few times, the contrast grew on me.
Track #2 -- Jesus Loves Me
Yes, it is the song we knew and loved as children. This song has a spunky piano lead with what sounds like the soothing sound of a flute carrying through out. I could imagine little kids bobbing around as a listened.
Track #3 -- Heaven Knows
A didactic ballad, this song is catchy with its refrain of "Do you remember?" as it unfolds the history of Jesus' life. This one will really stick with you.
Track #4 -- Light
This song immediately made me think of a Lutheran or Greek Orthodox chant, which is probably not too far off since the CD is being produced by St. John Lutheran Church. The minimal instrument accompaniment allows the harmony to build.
Track #5 -- Baskets Full of Bread
As soon as this song populated my audio player's wave-form I could tell it was going to be different than the previous tracks. It's one of those songs with a meaningless yet addicting refraining, "na-na-na". The track was very short, thankfully or it would be stuck in my head all day. I liked it.
Track #6 -- One Sheep
The track depicts the dedicated love Jesus has for His sheep. The tempo of the song is mesmerizing.
Track #7 -- Beautiful Savior
The classic hymn done very well. The unnamed female vocalist did a fabulous job. The echo was just enough to make me envision her singing in some beautiful cathedral, stained glass lighting on her face. Interestingly enough, this song may have been one that only required the female vocalist, as I found the male vocals a bit distracting from the beauty.
Track #8 -- Psalm XXIII (Psalm 23)
A rocking version of Psalm 23, the background singers made me think of a Muppets skit. It was fun!
Track #9 -- Spirit Wind
About Pentecost, however, this version is different than the one Fugli previously shared with me. The instrumentation is perhaps more vibrant in this version than the one released earlier, getting Fugli out of that tunnel. The Latin phrases will have you googling just so you can finally figure out what they mean.
Track #10 -- Amazing Grace
Based on the traditional hymn written by a former slave ship captain, often sung at funerals this version is set to the tune of "House of the Rising Sun" by the Animals which makes it that much more haunting. No doubt, the comparison of messages between Amazing Grace and House of the Rising Sun was intentional. I only wish the male and female vocals were a bit more harmonious, it would have really made the song.
Track #11 -- Feed My Sheep
Another rocking tune that has you wanting and waiting for a really jamming riff but it never seems to come; however the simple, repetitive lyrics will have you tapping your feet.
Track #12 -- Bethehem Tonight
Fugli's tell-tell clear, crisp harmony really comes out in this track. It seems like the last song to play as you tuck the sleepy-eyed kids into bed on a cold Christmas eve night.
Overall, I enjoyed the album, even though I am perhaps not the best to ask since I wouldn't consider myself a music buff. However, I enjoy authentic music where the instrumentation is not a sampling or some form of digitization. If that is what you like, you should find this CD to be a worthy addition to your collection.