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Lincoln Brewster
Artist: Lincoln Brewster 
Label: Vertical Records
Length: 10 tracks - 41 1/2 mins

Broken (sample)
Hey God (sample)
All I Need (sample)

Lincoln Brewster's Vertical Records debut is one of the most exciting projects this reviewer has heard all year! Simply titled "Lincoln Brewster," it runs the gamut from power pop to rock to catchy praise choruses and ballads. And through it all runs the instrumental work of one of the finest guitarists to come out of Nashville in many years.

It's no wonder that Steve Perry, former lead singer of Journey, asked Brewster to play on his solo project "For the Love of Strong Medicine" and consequently to tour with him back in 1994-1995. For the past year Brewster has been  playing with Michael W. Smith on his "Live the Life" tour. The release of this cd may mark the end of his background status, however, and propel him into the forefront.

Brewster leads us through a number of musical styles and, whether on electric or acoustic guitar, his playing takes center stage. The listener is treated to some fine guitar playing from the very start with "He's All I Need." A hard driving guitar riff leads this one off, accompanied by organ and drums. "Everybody Praise the Lord" is a funky praise song, and "Hey God" is highlighted by a wonderful acoustic guitar solo. "Shine" is a driving ballad a la DC Talk, again featuring a solo, this time a blistering turn. And one might think B. B. King sat in on the blues-tinged "Broken." The album¹s last song, "Walk On," an acoustic number, begins with just Brewster and his acoustic guitar and slowly adds in harmonies on the chorus and another great electric guitar solo displaying his dexterity on both instruments.

While these songs are certainly a vehicle to display Brewster's guitar playing, his songwriting skills are evident. Brewster wrote all the songs. There is quite a bit of "meat" here lyrically.  In  "All I Need" he sings: 

We all like to pray for faith when we've misplaced it
We all like to clothe our truth so we're not naked.
Lines like that make one step back and take a look inside.  Do we dress up the truth, make ourselves something that we're not?  Or do we realize the Jesus' love is really all we need?

"Hey God" is a thank you song touched with a bit of humor:

And when I fall asleep and I'm behind the wheel of life
And I'm slipping like a tongue-tied liar
You show up and wake me up
Hey God, thanks for everything
Thank You for love, I'm glad that You bothered
Hey God, thanks for everything
I'm glad that You bothered to love a man like me
The Bluesy "Broken" is an intimate prayer to be used of God:
Give me strength
I pray that I will be broken
A spirit that's usable to You
I lay my pride at the altar
I sacrifice my life to you
Brewster spent some time as a youth pastor and then as music minister in Nashville. This influence is evident in the two praise numbers, "Everybody Praise the Lord" and "Spin."  One can just imagine the crowd at a concert or youth event, jumping up and down as they sing these catchy lines: 
Well, He makes me wanna jump up, spin around, get up, get down
Don't you know I do it night and day?
Jump up, spin around, get up, get down
Oh yeah!
In a day when much of what is coming out of the Nashville ccm scene sounds like what has gone before, Lincoln Brewster is a breath of fresh air. His songs are interesting and his musical skill is top notch. This project is, hopefully, the first in a long line of fine recordings.

Janet Friesen 1/15/2000

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