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Chris Tomlin: Live in Austin
Artist: Chris Tomlin
Label: Sixsteps Records
Time: 8 Tracks / 41:33
Released: November 28, 2005

History will record that Chris Tomlin will be included with the names of great hymn writers such as Charles Wesley, Fanny Crosby, and Ira Sankey. Along with songwriters Matt Redman, Darlene Zschech, and Reuben Morgan, Tomlin has helped modernize worship music without losing the three P's; praise, piety, and prayer. Let's examine his latest offering Live In Austin using those three benchmarks.

The first three tracks "Famous One," "How Great Is Our God," and "This Is Our God" inspire our hearts to praise the Creator. All three tracks also prompt us to an attitude of piety as we stand in God's presence. "Famous One" speaks to the majesty of God. It reminds us that there is none above our God that He alone is worthy of our praise. 

"How Great Is Our God" like most of the songs on this album has already become a fixture in church services. You can hear the audience singing to this wonderful offering of praise. More than most live recordings Live In Austin captures the ambience of what it was like to be there. I have it on good report (my girlfriend attended the live recording) that not only was Chris Tomlin spectacular but you could feel the presence of the Holy Spirit. The third track "This Is Our God" reminds us of the safe haven which is our God. Thematically, the song speaks to healing, peace and the sheltering arms of God. Unlike the first two tracks that are more up tempo "This Is Our God" is much more contemplative. It is a song to which you will want to close your eyes and quietly, prayerfully give thanks. You may remember how God has intervened or perhaps invite Him to intervene again. David Crowder guests on this track.

"On Our Side" puts on display the awesome bluesy vocals of Austin's own Seth Walker as he joins Tomlin on stage. The song features some electrifying guitar work (it wasn't meant as a pun honest!)

The 2002 album Not To Us contributes the words to the beautiful "Unchanging," "You never change / You never fail, O God." 

"Kindness" is a song of humility, invitation, and repentance. If you have lost your way and are having difficulty finding your way back then close your eyes and let the words caress your soul. Tomlin prayerfully sings about God's grace.

One of my all time favorite praise tunes "Forever" occupies the number seven slot on this disc. How many times have we stood in church with hands raised and let the words flow from our lips, "Forever God is faithful / Forever God is strong / Forever God is with us / Forever / Forever" 

The eighth and final track is to use the words of the song simply "Indescribable. This former number one track logged more than seven months on the R&R top ten list. Unlike some of the other songs on this album which are carried by great guitar work "Indescribable" is driven by piano keys.

While the album at first glance may appear light on tracks that simply is not the case. The aforementioned "Forever" weighs in at 5:46 and Indescribable plays for 4:56. You are not getting edited down radio versions of songs here, you get the whole enchilada.

Live in Austin is an amazing collection of some of the best gifts Chris Tomlin has given us over the years. In a world where hectic schedules drive our day and violence dominates the headlines, we need a peaceful quiet retreat, Live in Austin serves as the gateway back to God. 

Joe Montague, exclusive rights reserved

Joe Montague is an internationally published journalist / photographer. His ministry is dedicated to the memory of his late son Kent David Montague who went to heaven at the age of 18. All copyright and distribution rights remain the property of Joe Montague. 


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