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  all i need [face to face]
Artist: Various
URL: <http://www.vineyardmusic.com>
Label: Vineyard Music
Times: 14 tracks/69:37 minutes

In the tradition of Vineyard projects Shake off the Dust (1999/2000) and Winds of Worship 15: Live from Canada (1998), many of those projects' worship leaders return with a very intriguing project. This recording, made near Vancouver, features Canadian worship leaders Chris Janzen, Sandy Lockhart, Kim McMechan, Graham Ord, Andy Park, Dean Salyn, Evan Smailes, Andrew Smith, Brian Thiessen and Dan Wilt. Producers Brian Doerksen, Daphne Rademaker, and Philip Janz and all of these folks deserve a pat on the back for serving a fine menu in perhaps its most palatable worship event ever. It's a tall order to top Shake off the Dust, and in one way, this worship team has done just that!

How? This project is the first (in my humble opinion) Vineyard "concept" recording, built around the themes from the songs "Into Your Presence" and "All I Need," from which the titles are derived. all i need [face to face] has a pace that flows smoothly from its live and studio tracks.

The style of this project follows the aforementioned Vineyard Canada projects, but this one is so intensely focused that if the listener is worshipping alone and the telephone rings, he or she will either be terribly alarmed or not even hear that phone! This intensity sets in right at the center of the project. The beginning track, "He is Yahweh," is a sweet introduction, reminiscent of a cross between David Ruis' "Megwich Kchi-Manitou" and the style of Paul Wilbur, segueing beautifully into a standout worship song, "Amen Hallelujah." This tune sounds a little like the Burn Service projects, and it transitions nicely into "Be My Guide," a song I didn't particularly like the first time I heard it. It's one that will "grow" for the listener.

The intense praise and worship begins with "Into Your Presence" and lasts for three more songs. I listened casually to "Long to Know You," and my first instinct was "Are we asleep yet?" Then I gave it a serious worshipful listen and had different results, specifically when the intensity of the music arrangement builds with the lyrics. The pace shifts just slightly with a comical introduction to "You're So Wonderful."

A shortfall of this collection is definitely that it is not for casual listening. all i need [face to face] is absolutely perfect for hour-long praise and worship.

After such a deep praise session, the Vineyard worship leaders make an incredibly wonderful gear-shift into "Dance On It," which is the definite standout track from this collection (each Vineyard Canada has one that's a classic). How can one describe "Dance On It"? I'll try: it's disco-jazz-Celtic-country-fusion. Whatever it is, I sure love it!

A huge conglomerate of worship leaders continues after the "break" into a fine tune, "The Lighthouse," which sounds much like the overall sound from Shake Off the Dust. Andy Park's "Multiply My Love" is reminiscent of "Every Move I Make" by David Ruis, from the Winds of Worship 15: Live from Canada project. And the entire group of worship leaders wrap the project nicely with a reprise of the title track ("All I Need"), mixing harmony and unison to invite the worshippers to take part in this project.

I am hesitant to call all i need [face to face] "the best" Vineyard Canada project, as it is simply a different style of this Vineyard group. If you prefer a musically harder-edged praise project or are casually listening, get a copy of Shake Off the Dust instead. If you enjoy an intense time of worship, this is one of the finest live/studio experiences Vineyard has recorded. And I have the feeling that the perfectly-recorded worship experience from Vineyard Canada is right around the corner.
 

Olin Jenkins  8/15/2001

   
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