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Music Reviews (by Kim Gentes)

Back in the mid-90's Kim began writing impromptu reviews of church music CDs (worship music) so that people who were looking for CDs would have an opinion from someone who is also a worship leader and is garnering music for local church use.  Up to this point, this was rarely something that was done, because church music was revered as sacred and it was thought that any offering of that sacred worship shouldn't be criticised or evaluated.  In fact, Kim wasn't as much a critic as he was an evaluator, helping people find what fit their church. He began posting his reviews on line in a email discussion forum, called the Worship List (website).  After a while, when he helped launch, he continued that same concept of trying to help other local church worship leaders and musicians find music that might be applicable to their situations.  The reviews continued to be a part of that. went on to grow a staff of writers that would add many more reviews to the collection they have, but Kim continued to participate as a key reviewer.  This journal logs all the reviews Kim has written on worship music CDs and projects.

Kim's reviews of CD projects of worship music includes independents, label and main stream recordings, but all having to do with worship music.

My God My King [single] - All Sons & Daughters (2013) - free download

The new album "All Sons and Daughters: Live" is a beautiful collection of fresh songs, done with wholehearted devotion. [a full review of this album will be coming soon to this blog]

One of my favorite songs on that album is "My God My King". A simple song of devotion, declaration and Psalm-like surrender from our heart to the King. As with other songs on this album, I found myself getting out my guitar and playing along. As the crisp lyrics rose of out my heart I was reminded of Psalm 9 and the similar theme and words used there to express thanks and praise.

I love where it echos that thanksgiving for God's goodness :

For You've been good always
You're good always

I encourage you to download BOTH the mp3 and the chord chart and engage with this song. Many thanks to my friends at Integrity Music for giving us permission to post this.

Below you will find download links for both the PDF chord chart and the mp3 audio file.

Be sure to chime in and let us know what you thought (post comments) and you are welcome to share this with friends on Facebook and twitter with your friends. 

Free Song Download "My God My King" from Integrity Music

My God My King
by David Leonard & Leslie Jordan

Note: To save the PDF or MP3 files
above [Right-Mouse] click the links.


"My God My King" Already in

This song has been pre-loaded for all those who use for their worship planning. You can include it in your set planning this week! If you are a member, simply login and find it in the song database, or under "New Songs" tab. If you aren't a member, you can check out for free for a month (more info here).

Article by Kim Gentes 


God's Great Dance Floor: Step 1 - Martin Smith (2013)

Over 15 years ago, I remember listening to the cardboard-packaged CDs from the UK called "Cutting Edge 1 & 2" and "Cutting Edge 3 & 4". As I heard "Did You Feel The Mountains Tremble", "I Could Of Your Love Forever" and "Find Me In The River" my heart soared, arms lifted and tears welled in my eyes. I remember feeling that finally someone was playing my music. In that moment, I knew that "church music" was changed for the rest of my lifetime. Those albums, and the songs on them, were the first fruits of a crop of fresh worship that was to come from the UK, heralded most prominently by the worship leaders/songwriters Matt Redman and the incredible band Delirious1.

Delirious' leader singer and main songsmith, Martin Smith, has come full circle of that place - writing new songs from and for the local church. Reading a recent biography of Martin Smith, it sounds like he is stepped into a time of community in a local church plant in his native UK. It is from this seedbed of connection and community that Martin and his songs have re-emerged in this new album "God's Great Dance Floor: Step 1".

The opening track is a pop arranged song that stirs the worshiper with the appropriate title "Awake My Soul". Smith's voice and sensibilities jump right onto this album by bringing you into a place worship right from the start. The next song sounds like the 90s-captured sound from U2 inspired songs with the 16th note hihat and delayed electric guitar reverb setting the progressive groove of "The Fire Never Sleeps". In the midst if this upbeat celebration, Smith returns to his worship language of surrender, singing "burn oh my soul" out passionately and intensely.

"Back to the Start" is the third track, alternatively subtitled "God's Great Dance Floor". This song was the title track from the recent Passion conference live CD (and serves the same purpose here) done by Tomlin, Redman and Crowder to great effect. Here, Martin Smith gives us the crisp presentation of a tight arrangement, that has every bit as much energy as a "live" version. I really enjoyed this lengthy track that explodes into at least three different modes of energy and arrangements. Joy-filled and celebration-ready!

The album leans way back with "Waiting Here For You", a piano ballad in which Smith declares that he will wait for God, lift his hands and adore the Lord of all creation. With solemn "Alleluia" this song soars in peaceful surrender, the pop-ballad music gently percolating underneath the cleanly sung lyrics. A beautiful, glorious, song of surrender. Track five keeps the pensive mood, and opens up confession of brokenness and loss, ultimately reconciling such painful things in the providence of God to carry us through. Powerful. The track "Safe In Your Arms" is a prayer song, echoing the themes and lyrics from Psalm 23 with the resolution that "I am safe in Your arms". These last three songs form a deep pool of worship in the stream of this albums river of praise, perfectly fit in the mid-point of this experience.

Once making the corner passed "Safe In Your Arms", the tempo picks up once again, running into track 7 that overlays the metaphor from the old song "onward Christian soldiers" into a commitment song to encourage believers to surrender their lives and bring the love of God through acts of mercy and justice to the nations. While Smith is unafraid to use this metaphor, I wonder its usefulness in the international church today, which would be quite sensitive to this imagery being associated with Church.

The next track is called "Jesus of Nazareth", another song which seems like it is taken from a themed children's song, and turned into an "adult song", this time with full country/roots treatment of drums, guitar and even banjo, all plucking along to the cut time, until the very end where the song ends oddly with a rock exit. Track nine, "Catch Every Teardrop", sounds like a Christian radio heart-touch song, evoking both confession and prayer in this melodic and catchy tune. It would seem out of place on this largely worship-oriented project, but Smith draws on his already established thread of confession and prayer to make this fit and highlight his story-telling side. The last song uses allusions to David ("shepherd boy, singing to a choir of burning lights") mixed with Smith's personal call to sing to God and invite others into that song as a way to express "love is a fire!".

The entire album is delightful, starting with praise filled celebration, deep pools of worship and ending with songs of life and commitment to God's call. A thoughtful, engaging and uplifting project. Check it out!


Amazon Link:


Review by Kim Gentes


1. I use the simple name Delirious in this article, though they were branded as "Deliriou5?" in their official marketing and naming.

Jesus Culture with Martin Smith: Live from New York - Jesus Culture (2013)

There are moments in worship that mean as much as the songs that accompany those moments. They are the times of encounter, surrender, offering and praise in which something of our most humble offerings meet with the very presence of the awesome God to whom we are surrendering. After 30 years of "modern worship" (however loosely one might define it and move that time marker), some of the best recordings are not marked just by great songs, but by the moments captured in that embrace of emotion, theology, and art. When I think of great "moments" that are captured on a recording, some of the spontaneous moments that come to mind are the song Exalt the Lord with Daphne Rademaker/Brian Doerksen (track 15 on Winds of Worship #2 /1994), Days of Elijah with Robin Mark (track 11 on Revival in Belfast/1999), the opening prayer and spontaneous song Great is the Lord with Kevin Prosch (tracks 1 and 5 on Even So Come/1991) and the song Spirit of the Sovereign Lord with Andy Park (track 13 on Worship Festival Live/1992) and even the recent song In Jesus' Name with Darlene Zschech (track 4 on Revealing Jesus/2013). Each of those moments contained not just the excellence of music and song, but something of a poignant encounter.

It is this kind of thing that comes to mind when listening to the new album "Jesus Culture with Martin Smith: Live from New York". This recording is as much about great moments as it is about great music or gifted artists/leaders. Veteran artist, songwriter and worship leader Martin Smith takes the front seat (leading 7 of the 16 tracks) in this worship experience vibrantly paired with the energy and passion of musicians and leaders of Jesus Culture- Kim Walker-Smith and Chris Quilala (with a single track featuring Derek Johnson).

The album kicks off with Martin Smith leading his new song Fire Never Sleeps, a classic Delirious/U2-sounding rock tune that ambles along through its punctuated rhythms of the verse into melodic long notes in a glorious chorus that rings out:

Burn, oh my soul, set me on fire
Burn, oh my soul, light up the fire
Burn, oh my soul 

Smith, in his writing, vocal passions and lyrical throw-offs, presses the heart of the message, inviting the gathering of thousands of young people to set their hearts and passions on fire with passion for God. A great song with lots of energy reflecting the lyrics.  Track two is driving rock song, this time written and led by Chris Quilala, called Forever. Building through several repetitions of declaration ("forever, I am Yours") and surrender ("All that I have is Yours") the song launches into guitar solos and choruses, until it completes, leading into the somber intro of Pursuit, the third track on this album. This song, written by Daniel Bashta, is led by Kim Walker-Smith, whose clear voice and passion is paired with Martin Smith in a duo unlike many others I've heard on a worship album. This song is a bright gem on this recording, as the two leaders defer to each other throughout the sections of the song, alternatively leading and backing each other up. Beautiful, powerful and anthemic- a model for the kind of cooperative leadership of the church of Jesus in which our voices blend in harmony with one another to produce a gift that can be more than the sum of its parts. One gets the sense that the Holy Spirit was leading this song as much as Walker and Smith, as during the ebb of the song you can hear the congregation refraining over top of the slow rolling of chords in the interlude.

Kim Walker-Smith leads out on track four, the song Walk With Me, a song written by members of the band One Sonic Society (Garrard, Ingram, Mabury, Thatcher).  This song is perfect for Walker-Smith, who presents the prayerful verses as plaintiffly (I have to make up words sometimes) as she does the surrendering chorus and the pounding bridge.  As the song goes into an interlude around 5:10 of the song, we encounter one of those moments of grace in which the lyrics are as much prayer as they are "ab libs". Beautiful. This continues through this extended song, whose 8 and a half minutes seem to go by quickly for the engaged worshiper.

Martin Smith returns to lead track five, Waiting Here For You, a perfectly titled and needed song for our "on-demand" culture. The music, tempo and arrangement of this song is rightly pulled back to starting off as a simple piano ballad. Kim Walker-Smith joins back in, complimenting Smith's soft voice. Their vocal textures combine nicely, and eventually bring the song to a percolating flow, as electric guitar riffs drive the song into a stadium anthem, with the thousands year old refrain of "Alleluia" repeated in glory and resonance amidst the 14000 worshipers to the grand audience of One. The worshipers keep the refrain going a cappella until Martin Smith returns by singing the chorus in Spanish, vividly presenting an audible metaphor for the scriptural truth that we will one day sing together from "every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb." (Rev 7:9)  This transitions seamlessly into Martin Smith's song Our God Reigns, another track that ebbs and flows with ease through music and refrains without sounding tired. Martin Smith's spoken encouragements are well placed, well-received and cause explosive worship among the worshipers. Again, the track leads through ebb and flow, somber and joyful times, even including an extended time of waiting at the end of track 7 (another Smith tune Song of Solomon).

Each track on this project has a unique footprint. Poignant moments appear from congregational voices echoing over the music to long notes of guitar solos and other times of pounding drums and anthemic declarations. I could go through the entire song list and explain great moments, but it is best for you to simply get this project and set it in your playlist. The two hours of music on this double CD live recording is a wonderful journey to join in with!

Some tracks to look for new songs that you may not be aware of are track 7- Set A Fire, track 8- Alleluia, track 12- Holy Spirit, and track 16 - Did Your Feel The Mountains Tremble. You may well have heard these songs before, but if you haven't I strongly encourage you to take a listen to these. Excellent songs and vibrant versions of each of them, showing how they can be done live with great effect.

If you are a worshiper, enjoy rock style music, and love "live" worship, this recording may well become one of your favorite in recent memory. Filled with great anthems and alive with engaging moments, it is well worth buying the entire album to experience the entire journey this album takes.

For churches using, all of the songs, chord charts, lyrics and audio from this album are already available and pre-loaded for you in the system song database. In fact, to the best of our knowledge is currently the only place yet to have any charts from this album! If you are not part of and want to listen to audio samples or purchase the album directly yourself, see the Amazon link below.

Amazon Link:


Review by Kim Gentes



Not Be Moved - Vineyard Worship (2012)

"Not Be Moved" is the latest recording from Vineyard Worship and is released via their quarterly series (called Club Vineyard) with some grace-filled fresh songs. The twelve songs that fill this project are congregationally minded offerings that could fit in a varied range of churches, partly due to their generally singable vocal ranges and partly due to the diverse range of styles in which these songs are arranged.

The lyrical and theme content of this album reflects a long-standing tradition of the main-stay of worship music- glorious adoration and the Christian basics of faith, hope and love. Several songs focus directly on glorifying God for his worthiness- Name Above All Names, Face To Face, Greatly Praised, Satisfied, Blessed Be The Name of The Lord, He's Our King. Several other songs expound the virtues of God's rescuing, faithfulness and provision towards His children- My Savior My Rescue, Love Lifted Me, Not Be Moved, The World Can't Take It Away, and Everything Is In Your Hands.

Aside from these thematic groupings, notable in this collection is a focus on declarative language in most songs (in both theme groupings previously mentioned) and the absence of the language of prayer and request.  Two songs with prayer language are "Make Us One" and the personal "Face to Face". This is not a huge shift or difference that might be noticed on this album alone, but becomes clear as one looks at decades of songs from the Vineyard churches. Popular songs from the 80's (such as Change My Heart O God, More Love More Power, Psalm 121), 90's (highlighted by Come And Fill Me Up, Draw Me Close, Breathe) and 00's (Hungry, Surrender, Be The Centre) of Vineyard catalog often prominently featured a musical playlist of plaintiff prayers and supplicant surrenders. Today's Vineyard songs resound more with the language of assurance and faith declaration than the language of prayer, though the lyrical sense of joy and thanks continue to smile across many of the songs of this album.

The album kicks off with an understated floor tom pounding in solid rock song "My Savior My Rescue". The song is a declaration of placing trust in God's love, His works and the belief that he will rescue us from the desperation inherent in our human needs. A thoughtful song of remembrance and assurance, that exudes praise and lifts the worshiper into a place of trust in God. Track two, "Love Lifted Me", is a country styled tune that rambles steel guitar through its bubbling effervescence of love-laced lyrics. This exultant song provides a joy-filled refresh to the age-old phrase "love lifted me" that is worth churches taking a look at, with a tasty gospel hook (that ends too soon, in my opinion) appended to the final refrain of this special song.

"Name Above All Names" is beautiful track setting a guitar-infused musical bed for a wonderful presentation of Philippians 2:6-11, where Christ's submission by emptying Himself of his divine-qualities becomes the place in which he humbles Himself to obedience and gains the experience of true humanity, even death on a cross. The song is perfected by the passionate and grace-filled vocal tones of worship leader Hannah Daugherty, who highlights two of my favorite tracks on this project. The title track, "Not Be Moved" follows this. A glorious, piano-based (complete with oscillating organ pads) gospel song, it presents the center of this project's theme- a clear, powerful and faith-filled declaration of God's immovable and unchanging nature as the foundation for our reliance on His benevolence.

Track five is the poignant song about the prayerful desire for the worshiper to have their eyes opened to see God's glory and to be in the presence of the One. Again, Daugherty captures the song with her fluent interpretations that create the atmosphere of deep worship. At eight and a half minutes (the longest track on the album), this song effortlessly brings the worshiper into the same place of prayerful hunger as the lyrics expound. Several songs continue  the stylistic rock/roots, country and rock/country stylings of this album's primary motif- "Greatly Praised", "The World Can't Take it Away", "Make Us One", "He's Our King" and "Everything Is In Your Hands".

"Blessed Be The Name of the Lord" is another reload of an archived Kevin Prosch song from the mid-90's (similarly, the song "They That Wait On The Lord" was revived on the "My Foundation" album from Vineyard last year), though this tune update drones on and fails to either capture the energy of the original version or provide an alternative infused with an interesting arrangement.

"Satisfied" is one of my favorite tracks on this project, partly because it stands out stylistically from the guitar-centered, country/rock styling of the rest of the album. But more than just style, this song is a humble admission of our needs resting solely in the person of God.  It states:

All of my longings are satisfied

All of my longings are satisfied in You

This kind of admission is enrapturing and epitomizes the heart-ache of all of us- to be with Christ and have Him be, simply, enough.

If you are looking for songs to consider for your local church, I recommend "My Savior My Rescue", "Love Lifted Me", "Name Above All Names", and "Satisfied"- each of these songs have something significant to contribute to any worship repeteroire. Be sure to listen through the entire album and glean some good new songs for your local church worship.

For churches using, all of the songs, chord charts, lyrics and audio from this album are already available and pre-loaded for you in the system song database. If you are not part of and want to listen to audio samples or purchase the album directly yourself, see the Amazon link below.


Amazon Link:


Review by Kim Gentes

Only A Shadow [live] - Misty Edwards (2013)

So far, this year has been a pleasant surprise with some exceptional albums that have released already from Kim Walker-Smith's "Still Believe" (Jesus Culture), Passion's and Tomlin's perennial releases, Darlene Zschech's brilliant "Revealing Jesus" and now the most dynamic live recording you may ever hear- "Only A Shadow [live]" by Misty Edwards. Edwards is a worship leader and songwriter with International House of Prayer (IHOP) in Kansas City. Her new album, released by Forerunner, is recorded in conjunction with the OneThing conference just held a few months ago.

Describing this album would be almost impossible without words such as prophetic, spontaneous and dramatic. Edwards style and her musical and vocal nuances evoke comparisons to the modern rock drama- especially when you consider the lyrical content she is covering. This album is entralling and worshipful- a moving experience based in powerful dramatic renderings of scripture, song lyrics and spontaneous spoken sections. One could easily imagine Edwards being the lead in a modern rock musical. Her voice arrests you, her passion explodes through the lyrics and her range crosses effortlessly from low tones to soaring arias.

All this comes out in powerful fashion right up front as the album begins. Track one (called "Ezekiel 1") is a song in which Misty Edwards recites several verses from the first chapter of Ezekiel. Underlying the track with a G minor chord, the music rhythmically ebbs and flows around her recitation of the scripture. Combining the pulsating music, her passion and her dynamics turn the scripture into just as strange a presentation as the text itself contains (anyone who has read Ezekiel knows how shocking the text is). And that is the point- Edwards makes the message and musical media become so synchronous the readings, lyrics and spoken encouragements / admonitions leave you captivated.

This album is not a set of disconnected tracks- it is a single, brilliant, intentional and captivating experience. Edwards and her musical team execute a carefully woven musical story of passion, commitment, scripture, surrender and thanksgiving that draws the listener in by its undulating musical presentation, skilful melodies and musical hooks, deft arrangements and the overwhelming power of Edwards' own vocal gift. I had heard that Misty Edwards was primarily a "prophetic" worship leader (whatever that is supposed to connate). For that reason, I expected the album would be largely tracks of ad lib sections without congregational participation. But I was quite wrong- this album's most surprising feature was the number of tracks that left me singing out with the chorus portions of many songs. While there were definitely a lot of ad lib/musical vamps in which Edwards launched into largely solo explorations, each of those felt well-spaced and not overly self-involved. They move the listener as they seem to have moved Edwards.

That said, this album will not be for everyone. But let me highly caution those who think they know what "prophetic worship" is (and might be ready to "pass" on this album)- do not skip passed this project. It is not only an absolutely amazing musical experience, it is a beautiful dramatic presentation with a worship leader whose ability to cross from ad lib to scripted, solo to congregational and dramatic to melodic sections is nothing short of enthralling. And it all fits its purpose- one is not pushed to be in awe of Edwards (though in other venues, this would surely be the effect). Rather, I constantly found myself being pulled into the stream of the praise, engaging, and worshiping. And then later, I was silent, listening, and reverent of the God and King who had become the object of Edwards' burning obsession in whatever ad lib section she had come to. It is truly an experience unlike any other.

If you have never heard an album of music from IHOP or Misty Edwards, I can't recommend this any higher- take some time to listen and experience this album. It is beautiful and unlike anything you have encountered in the "worship music" genre. A unique and needed stream- a gift to the Body of Christ.

Thankfully, you don't have to take my word for it. This entire worship experience was captured in HD video and is presented on the IHOP website via streaming video (which we've embedded here below). I encourage you to settle back and enjoy as much of this as you can. It's amazing!

For churches using, all of the songs, chord charts, lyrics and audio from this album are already available and pre-loaded for you in the system song database. In fact, to the best of our knowledge is currently the only place yet to have any charts from this album! If you are not part of and want to listen to audio samples or purchase the album directly yourself, see the Amazon link below.

Amazon Link:


Again, folks check out the video below and hear/see some of the songs on this album. An incredible experience!


Worshiping God!

Kim Gentes