Personal renewal is a theme on Kaczor's national debut.
Artist: Laura Kaczor (www.laurakaczor.com)
Label: Universal-Fontana/EMI CMG
Length: 10 songs/40:48 minutes
On Love Enough by Laura Kaczor (kuh-ZURE) it is quickly apparent that her music is easy to like, which is no small thing. I am all for artistry, but unbridled creativity can make for a difficult listen. That is not a problem here. Whether it's an up-tempo anthem or an introspective ballad, these are well-crafted songs that are pleasing to the ears.
Kaczor co-wrote nine out of the ten tracks, which are animated by an obvious heart of worship. This is not, however, what might be commonly thought of as a praise and worship recording, though it does include that element. It tends more toward the singer-songwriter style. Rather than containing songs for congregational singing, this is an individual extolling God in the face of brokenness.
"Renew My Life (To Worship)" is a good example. It is plea for God to restore, a theme that in various forms weaves its way through much of this recording. A simple but mesmerizing chorus is accented by a male harmony vocal. The soothing sound draws in the listener making it easy to identify with the petition.
This contrasts nicely with the two opening songs, which are full of energy and have monster hooks. Kaczor has a sure voice regardless of style. It may be the most powerful on slower tunes like the title track, where she adds weight to the opening lines:
"How do I end up where I don't want to be?
On the right path but just off a degree
A few bends in the road and before I know it
I'm miles away from you."
I appreciate the emphasis that even when we go astray God seeks us. He remains faithful even when we are not.
You find a similar idea on "When Grace Calls You Out," with the mellotron-like (think "Strawberry Fields Forever") sounds that set the mood.
"When grace calls you out into the open
Takes everything that's broken
And makes it beautiful
Step into the light and see if you don't find
Healing as the walls come down,"
she sings, contrasting emptiness with God's sufficiency and suggesting that there is no need to hide or pretend with grace.
"Sacred Bride," with mid-tempo music and breezy vocals, bears eloquent testimony to the wonder of this relationship:
"You call me beloved
Your sacred bride
Though I've been unfaithful
And I've tried to hide
Your forgiveness is deep
And your mercy is wide
You call me beloved
Your sacred bride."
It is a fitting summary near the end of the CD.
Occasionally, the arrangements and production sound a little dated. This is more evident on the inspirational tracks. It's less noticeable on the material that moves toward pop/rock. These faster songs have youth-oriented appeal but overall this is more adult-contemporary and inspirational. It's reminiscent in style and content to Shannon Wexelberg, Sheila Walsh and Annie Herring.
This is a national debut for Kaczor even though it's her third recording. The first two, one being an EP, were independent releases.
Born and raised in Pennsylvania, Kaczor served for seven years as a worship leader at Jesus Fest. No surprise then that a desire to worship and encourage others is evident. Combined with her emphasis on renewal, she might be a good addition to a Women of Faith conference.