Created on Tuesday, 07 August 2012 Written by Derek WalkerDavid Gray meets David Crowder in a fine praise album
Label: Essential Records
Time: 10 Tracks / 40 minutes
The problem I have with CCM is not so much individual albums, but the generic nature of the whole. Take this disc, for instance. It is well-produced, Cherry has a superb voice and several of the songs say things that I would like to say to God. It is a very decent collection, but there is so much similar material around – most of it inferior to this – that the whole genre gets tainted.
Nothing Left to Fear makes a great start. “City of Light” is a fresh, prayerful anthem; a well-written plea to God to shine through us that stays in the mind for days. Discreet cello and choir make short appearances, as does Paul Mabury’s military snare, all supporting a strong build-up. Cherry’s yearning vocals bring it all together.
The main theme of the album is dealing with fear. While it is not quite the title track, “Nothing to Fear” declares that we can have hope in Christ, whatever comes our way.
The next one, however, is the low point of the collection. The glib “To Follow You” trivializes real life by centering on sweeping generalizations.
“I’m giving up / Everything I once held dear /
I count as loss / All I’ve wanted, all I think I need / I lay at your feet.”
Apart from the dodgy writing – sometimes one phrase seems to be part of two different sentences, and several phrases are nicked from hymns – these sentiments are great in theory, but if we want to sing to God with integrity and honesty, then surely we have to be more nuanced? It is not the first time I have come across this in songs co-penned by Jason Ingram.
With the traditional “Nothing But the Blood,” like several other worship leaders, Cherry has commandeered a classic hymn and bolted on his own brief chorus. I am still not sure in my own mind whether this is a helpful trend – updating valuable material for today’s culture – or simply muscling in on someone else’s work for personal gain. Whichever option is closer, it gives the album a helpful spike of variety in the middle.
The rest of the disc emulates the first half, with a ballad echoing the opener and some slow-building praise. CCM-lovers should enjoy this project, with its Coldplay-esque piano-driven tunes.
There is something familiar about Cherry’s voice. It is partly reminiscent of David Gray and on tracks like “Our God’s Alive” it is particularly redolent of David Crowder, as is the whole song, down to the structure and Stu G's acoustic guitar riff that starts it.
There is a beautifully lucid and uncluttered mix on this release. Cherry’s voice is clear, as is the guitar (which thankfully avoids those loud opening pretend riffs that collapse into nothing).
There are several of the same people involved as in the “All Sons and Daughters” début and they seem to have honed the production sound until it gleams. But it is Cherry who particularly deserves credit for a vocal performance that draws every gramme of meaning and emotion from his lyrics.
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