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  Draw Me Close: 25 Top Vineyard Worship Songs
Artist: Various
Label: Vineyard Music
Times: Disc One: 13 tracks/68:04 minutes; Disc two: 14 tracks/64:41 minutes

If you are new to praise and worship music as a worship leader or participant, stop! Do not pass go; do not collect two hundred dollars--or better yet, do not pay two hundred dollars for all the Vineyard projects that are sampled for Vineyard Music's finest collection yet, Draw Me Close: 25 Top Vineyard Worship Songs. I thought Come, Now is the Time to Worship was this company's best collection. However...

This collection does indeed comprise a quarter of a decade of Vineyard classics, and for the seasoned worship leader or participant, the songs you love to sing are here, nicely blending the classic sounds ("Breathe," written by Marie Barnett) to the present ("Invitacion Fountain" from this year's If You Say Go). There is an excellent cross-section of songs from the series, "Songs of the Vineyard," "Winds of Worship," "Touching the Father's Heart," as well as one from "Vineyard Psalms" and two from "Songs of the Vineyard." It may be tempting for some to say that there sure is a lot from Hungry (at three tracks); however, these are the real current classics: the title tune (co-titled "Falling on My Knees"), "Your Name is Holy," and Kathryn Scott's wonderful rendition of "Breathe," a song arguably the finest praise and worship song ever written.

I am absolutely certain that every seasoned Vineyard fan will say that this collection is (hypothetical situation only) "nearly perfect, but I would have put in " Lift My Eyes Up' instead of "Invitacion Fountain."" There are certainly many combinations that Vineyard friends can envision. There are certainly songs that have been covered by other worship leaders that surpass the versions on this particular compilation--for example, Darrell Evans re-recorded "Let the River Flow," a very important part of Evans' career; and of course, SONICFLOOd made the definitive version of Andy Park's "In the Secret." However, it is important to recognize that this project covers 25 years' worth of Vineyard, and its historical impact is absolutely awesome for and of the body of Christ.

What's more, as a standalone project, Draw Me Close is wonderful; hats must be tipped to executive producer Ted Jeans and compilation engineer Marianne Kleine for two things. First and most important, both discs in this compilation are either one or two worship experiences and are packed with lots of music. Second, both discs have a keen flow. For example, disc one begins with two upbeat tunes from Hungry and end with songs that are pretty much as "rock" as Vineyard gets -- Brenton Brown's "Thank You for the Cross" (from Holy). And in the middle of this set (disc one) is "Draw Me Close," "Breathe," and "Let the River Flow." Disc two is almost the opposite, beginning and ending with lovely yet intense worship (the Winds of Worship version of "Come, Now is the Time to Worship" and Terry Clark's "Isn't He," from Songs of the Vineyard #8). And in the middle of that disc is the upbeat set: Andy Park's "The River is Here" and Terry Butler's "Show Your Power" and "The Lord Almighty Reigns."

The only reason not to buy this collection is because the listener already has all of these songs in all of his or her previous Vineyard recordings. And even that excuse isn't a very good one. As with recent Vineyard compact discs, this compilation is PC/Mac hybrid with song stories, chords, and overheads. What's most important: this is the Vineyard collection that is well worth every penny to have all of these beautiful songs in one tidy package and one worship collection and experience!

Olin Jenkins  12/2/2002



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