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Artist: Jon Bauer
Label: Crossway Records 
Time: 10 tracks / 42:40

For independent worship leaders like Canadian Jon Bauer, getting your music noticed can be an uphill battle. "Worship" albums unfortunately have unwritten expectations when it comes to what the listener defines as worship. (Which also make it hard to review a "worship" album.) These associations can sometimes make it hard for the artist to separate their individual music from the genre as a whole.

Also working against these independent worship artists is the way worship songs gain popularity. Unlike other genres where radio play and album sales make songs popular, worship songs achieve recognition by how familiar they are to the listener. This is usually accomplished by having as many churches as possible singing your songs in their weekly services. For artists like Chris Tomlin, who have better distribution and notoriety, this leads to more worship teams filling their services with your songs.

But don't think that this uphill battle will keep Jon Bauer from trying his hardest. With a constant touring schedule and some moderate success in the Canadian Christian music scene, Jon Bauer seems to be on the verge of even greater accomplishments. He hopes that this will stem from the release of his sophomore album, Surround.

Surround is a well-produced independent project. The opening track and lead single, "Awaken," is an upbeat and memorable introduction to the album. The rest of the album succeeds at giving each song a unique identity and still creates a cohesive sound. Other than a few standout tracks, the songs unfortunately lack lyrical creativity. 

What stands out the most on the album is Jon's voice. In his genre, vocal clarity, tone, and quality are sometimes sacrificed by artists who would have you focus on the "worship" and not their musicality. Even when the songs are lacking, Jon's vocals carry the project.

Jon Bauer seems to be an artist who is ready for something more. While his focus on the worship genre seems to limit him at times, he still manages to create a CD that is worth checking out.

Shawn Dickinson 
Date Submitted: April 21,2008



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