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Slow down as you approach the gate, and have your change ready....
Artist: John Waller
Label: Beach Street/Reunion
Time: 10 Tracks, 45:50
Who is John Waller you ask? Well, he is a worship pastor from Colorado whom Mark Hall from Casting Crowns discovered and told his label (Reunion) to give some attention to this young musician. Fans of Christian Music should be thankful to Hall for doing us such a great favor. It is not surprising to me that Billboard Magazine has called him the ‘top Christian artist to watch in 2007.’
The influences here are varied. Some of these songs call to mind Jeremy Camp, others call to mind Hall’s Casting Crowns. Still others, especially the ballads “Still Calls Me Son” and “While I’m Waiting” stir up comparisons to Michael W. Smith and Mark Schultz. This is one of the strengths of John Waller; with this debut release he is finding a way to win over a large group of fans of many different artists and sounds.
Let’s talk about some of the other songs now. “Calling For a Flood” sounds like it could be a single on rock radio right now. It calls to mind bands like Blue October. The title track is about Redemption and Grace through Jesus, and how we as Christians are now called to ‘be a blessing for life.’
“Ancient Words” is my favorite moment on the album. It is an all out rocker from start to finish. It is about the Sacrifice of Jesus, and how through Him we are welcomed into the ‘family of Abraham.’ How appropriate that a song like this is being released during this season of Lent.
“Breathe on Me” starts out as a ballad but comes to climax with a killer guitar solo, that comes out of nowhere to have you rocking and immediately saying “I like this!”
“Love to Say Your Name” is another rocker, while “Something Be” is a ballad with a lot of electric guitar, that speaks about how Christians should be motivated to do something big for our fellow man, calling to mind the importance of Jesus’ story of the Sheep and the Goats in Matthew 25: 31-46.
“Sacred Pages” closes off the album with a ballad featuring mandolin work, which segways into Waller singing the old hymn “Rock of Ages.”
This man indeed has the chance to become one of the most significant Christian Artists of the still young year of 2007!