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Slow down as you approach the gate, and have your change ready....
From the Bennett House
Label: Springhill Worship
Length: 11 Tracks / 42:40
Spring Hill is a label that is best known for its Southern Gospel artists. This is why some were surprised to hear that Charity Von had been signed to a Spring Hill imprint, Slanted Records. When Spring Hill announced that they were going to create a worship imprint, people were curious to hear what might result. Would it be a Southern Gospel focused worship sound? Would it maybe sound a bit more contemporary like Ms Von? Surprisingly, Spring Hill has done a good job where many others have failed, by creating new and innovative worship music. This is one of those rare albums that will appeal to those of various ages. There are a few tracks that lean more towards the adult contemporary crowd but most of the songs sound new and fresh. They manage to sound reverent and slow at times, while still sounding contemporary.
On this project, in addition to featuring some names you will recognize, Spring Hill Worship has decided to feature many people who are serving as worship leaders in churches across the country. Not only are these worship leaders the ones that you hear, but they are also the ones who are writing or co-writing many of the songs. The fact that this CD is full of original songs and not covers of familiar songs is one of this project's greatest strengths. Another strength of this album is the production which lets the artists' voices shine instead of drowning them out with too many instruments.
Highlights of the project include "Speak to Me" performed by Jill Phillips; "Adoration" performed by Booth Brothers featuring Lydia Gott; and "Always" performed by Kere'n featuring Jennifer Lucado, Kelci Young, and Shaylee Busch, which is reminiscent of some of Twila Paris' earlier works while still feeling contemporary; Oddly enough one of the weak points of this project is "Redeem My Days," a track performed by Charity Von. Von is a fine artist and the song sounds great, but unfortunately it just doesn't fit well on this CD as its unique sound makes it stand out like a proverbial sore thumb. Another weakpoint is the tenth track, "Shelter Me" which sounds too much like some of the more adult contemporary stuff of the 1980s. This track doesn't keep with the contemporary feel of the rest of the album.
While there is not a great deal of enhanced content on this CD, what is there is something that will bless many. The enhanced portion of this album provides lyrics and chord sheets for each of the songs, which will make the songs easier for churches across the country to incorporate into their worship times. Only time will tell what the signature sound of Spring Hill Worship will be and what the fate of this new imprint will be. Songs From the Bennett House is a great project to start off with as it does fulfill their mission of providing "new songs today...for the church tomorrow" as they have done a great job providing fresh worship that churches will enjoy
Burton Wray 5/9/2005