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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.

Entries in andy park (5)

Still Shining - Andy Park (2016)

"Still Shining" is an enthralling 9 track celebration of Christmas through the sounds and styling of worship songwriter Andy Park. After listening to it completely through a few times, the songs don't begin to wear on you- they lift you. I'll be playing this 'round the clock for the season. Here are some highlights/notes on a few individual songs from the album:

The Wonder of it All- Original song. Acoustic guitar based tune with regular band and a crisp vocal sound. Feels like a James Taylor ensemble. 

Comfort and Joy- Original. The angelic proclamation to the shepherds is re-envisioned in a jazz /blues  tune.

Still Shining- Another original. A song about both the guiding star that led the shepherds to the Person it represents- the Shining Star of the universe, Jesus. Easy listening (think Neil Diamond) and congregational possible song.

Star of Wonder- Rework of the classic . Beautifully rendered acoustic guitar based song that soars with note-perfect flute and vocal backgrounds.

Come Let Us Adore- Acoustic guitar rendering of the classic song "Oh Come All Ye Faithful". Beautiful instrumental intro. With small group choral joining for 2 verses. Simply gorgeous. 

Joy To The World- A thoroughly joyful instrumental rendition of this Christmas standard. Great strings on the acoustic guitar and mandolin with swelling violin in a light acoustic/bluegrass tune.

The production and artistry here is crisp, clean, beautiful and unmistakably Andy. When you listen through the whole thing, you'll feel refreshed. For me, personally, it drew me closer in to the advent pulse and rhythm. It definitely wins my "Editor's Choice" designation.

It's available on Amazon ( but you can get it directly from Andy as well, here:


Go get it, friends. Really.


Review by Kim Gentes


A Taste Of Heaven [EP] - Andy Park (2013)

Review of "A Taste of Heaven" (EP)

View a brief profile of Andy Park.

Andy Park

If you have been involved in worship ministry or just enjoying the music of worship that has been written and used in churches in the last 20 years, you've probably used a song written by veteran worship songwriter, Andy Park. While he has been a major voice and trainer in the Vineyard movement, he is internationally known for popular songs such as In The Secret (I Want to Know You), Precious Child, My Delight, Only You, The River Is Here, Blessed Be The Name, We Will Ride, Yahweh, Yet I Will Praise, and Wonder Working God. Andy has been writing worship songs that have become the soundtrack of the modern church around the world.

When one gets the idea that someone has had long term "success" in worship songwriting this could conjur up ideas of mountain top retreats, cluttered writing rooms, VIP studio access, co-writing with gifted compatriots and a life of creative seclusion. While that may be someone's dream, that is not the reality of Andy Park. Of all the high profile worship writers I have met and gotten to know personally, Andy is one of the most diligent servants to the Body of Christ I have ever met. Yes, he has written over 120 songs that have been scattered across the globe, but he did that while planting churches, pastoring, raising a large family, traveling around the globe, helping train churches in worship, writing books, mentoring dozens of others and following God. Andy is the real deal- a local church pastor/worship leader who understands the struggles and frustrations of everything from small church plants to mega-church campuses.

Why does all this matter? Because Andy writes these songs from the trenches. He isn't musing over something ethereal that he doesn't have to live through. In the real work of the kingdom of God and community of family, the kinds of songs that we write must survive the "reality" test of being true enough not only to believe, but to use on a regular basis in local churches at home and around the world. I am thankful for mentors and leaders like Andy Park, who have continued to lead and write from the trenches of local church work, while remaining an encouragement to the greater body of Christ.

For more info on Andy Park, his music and ministry, go to .

When I started listening to this short EP I was working frantically on another work project. But as the songs "A Taste of Heaven" and "Perfect Peace" began to rise up from my office sound system, I began to listen. It was beautiful.

The first track, "A Taste of Heaven", is presented in both a standard and extended version (track 2) on this project. This song is about God's grace and favor on His people, and how that favor is a foretaste of the glory of heaven come to earth today. This song is really about God's presence being the unmerited favor of blessing for us, as he states in the second verse:

Standing under the shower of your unmerited favor
Your blessings upon us
You have given so freely your affectionate mercy
Your blessings upon us

This is not an indulgent declaration, but a thankful praise to God for his incredible love towards us, and this theme continues throughout the song. It is uplifting and engaging, pointing the worshiper towards the great Giver as we wait patiently on His presence to guide us.

Producer Kelly Carpenter has done a very nice job of keeping the music well suited to Andy's style, guitar playing and voice. The arrangements here are easily recognizable as Andy Park songs from the first bar. And the "extended versions" of the English and Spanish translations of "A Taste of Heaven" have a nice vamp into electronic/looped soundscapes that give Andy space to mix both English and Spanish in the ad lib sections. With a chorus echoing in the background perhaps this is a prophetic vision of all peoples, all languages worshiping God. Very worshipful.

As the next song, "Perfect Peace", began playing, my wife came upstairs to my office and asked about it. She said, "that song is for you." She was right.

Park has always used scripture foundations in his songs, such as this one that elegantly weaves Psalm 62:5, Isaiah 26:3 and Matthew 11:28-30, reminding us:

Perfect peace, he will give you perfect peace
As you think about his goodness and his kindness...
...Come and rest, come and let your soul find rest
For the burden that he gives you is light

The song is played with an acoustic guitar framed arrangement, keyboards, and programmed instrumentation. It's simple and lilting arrangement is perfectly suited for its message of peace by trusting in God. I found myself surrendering, singing along and reciting the lyrics as prayers throughout the day.

"Perfect Peace" is one of 3 different songs on this short EP, but the collection contains both "A Taste of Heaven" and "Perfect Peace" in Spanish versions as well, "Un Sabor De Los Cielos" and "Perfecta Paz" respectively. In fact, Park has wrote "Un Sabor De Los Cielos" in Spanish originally and translated it for the English version. It was beautiful to experience a worship EP that contained English and Spanish versions of the songs. In light of this, I asked Andy Park more about his music and ministry, and his work on this recent project.

View our brief interview with Andy Park.

Interview with Andy Park

Question 1 - What influenced you to write these songs in Spanish? Is there ministry or personal background to this EP?

Andy - I have been leading worship in Spanish since I was a teenager. I grew up in Southern California and traveled many times to Baja California to minister in churches and orphanages. I have traveled to around 8 different Latin countries to do ministry. The title track of this EP, Un Sabor de los Cielos, is the one song I have written in Spanish and then translated into English. It came to me while I was playing piano one day. I just started singing in Spanish. I needed some help from a friend to finish the lyrics. Because Spanish is the original language of the song, it flows better and is more poetic in that language.

Question 2 - You have been traveling overseas for many years. Most of us in North America aren't really aware of what worship is like beyond our own local churches. In Paul's letters in the New Testament to churches, we hear him talking about some churches being weak in some ways and strong in others. Related to worship, what kinds of needs do you see in countries outside of the US/Canada? What kinds of strengths do you see?

Andy - One difference is that in North America we have so much material prosperity. In many Latin countries, there is a lot of need. In some cases this causes people to worship more fervently. Because of a lack of material provision, they feel a stronger need for God. Greater need in life leads to greater hunger for God. The dynamics of worship vary from one church to another within every country I've been to. There are many different styles of worship.

Question 3 - Bringing the question back to North America- what are the things we most need to learn in worship in our US/Canadian churches?

Andy - I think we all just need to keep learning to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, mind and strength, and love our neighbour as ourselves. It's an ongoing process of growing in the Lord and continuing to pursue him.

For more info on Andy Park, his music and ministry, go to .

The final song on this EP is a Spanish version of the classic Vineyard worship song "Precious Child", entitled "Precioso Hijo". This powerful song is about God's love for us as His children. It is about how we should see ourselves as being chosen for his family- bound, not by our performance, but by God's faithfulness. This is a familiar theme for Andy Park, as many of his songs explore God's love and characteristics, our identity in Christ and our community identity as the church (global and local).

If you are a local church worship leader looking for some excellent worship songs on the topics mentioned in this review, I encourage you to consider listening to the samples online at Amazon (or if you have, you can preview the songs there). Especially if you are looking for Spanish worship songs, I encourage you to check out these 3 Spanish songs on this EP.

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:


Kim Gentes



Wonder Working God - Andy Park (2009)

Several months ago I found myself on a driving trip from New Orleans to Mobile, AL then to Nashville. Over eleven hours total in driving prompted me to bring two new worship CDs to review. The first one I put in was Andy Park's "Wonder Working God". I never took it out. Like my trip, the project is a journey of its own going from song to song, sound to sound, culture to culture. Collectively, this project moves through a wide range of rock, acoustic rock, blues-rock, gospel-piqued and even Asian influenced styles.

Right off the top, the track "Our God Reigns" wakes you up with a 60/70s rock story complete with pounding drums, punching bass and big band accents (or ska, depending on your generational persuasion). A great declaration song about the truths of God's character, "Our God Reigns" will become a favorite in any church it is played in.

Many of us know Andy Park as the songwriter of "In The Secret (I Want To Know You)", one of the most popular songs in the church in the last 15 years. But that may soon become the second most popular song in Andy's songwriting repertoire after the church hears the title track on this album. "Wonder Working God" is a brilliant song with scriptural lyrics, compelling music and soaring melodies. In our time of uncertainty in so many areas, "Wonder Working God" is a lifeline of scriptural truth that congregations everywhere will be using to help remind them of the hope God has placed in our lives through His promises. This is a song that will find its way to other artists and be covered on other albums. It's that good.

The great songs don't stop. Other new songs "New Day", "Help Somebody", "Friend of the Poor", "Fleece of White" and "Your Grace is Sufficient" provide an expansive pallet for anyone looking for superbly crafted songwriting with solidly scriptural content. In addition to that, classics such as "How Priceless" (one of my favorite songs ever), "Messiah", "One Thing I Ask" and "Like A Lily" round out the album with crisp arrangements that provide for generous use in the local church.

The production on this album is diverse in style, but constantly understated in execution, which makes it a listening delight. Choosing well between guitar or piano based song arrangements, producer Brian Theissen makes this album about the songs, not about an infinite number of layers of production that take the songs beyond their intended use- the local church.

I wish I could say I remember what the other album was that I intended on listening to for the balance of the eleven hours in the vehicle, but "Wonder Working God" made the entire trip with me through Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee. And it was a delight! A great album and a gift to the church, it's easy for me to recommend "Wonder Working God" to you as our latest "Editors Choice" selection from

Product Link (buy it here): Wonder Working God

Serving with you, Kim Gentes

Unshakable - Andy Park (2006)

From unashamed to impassioned, from declarative to prayerful, and from intimate to glorious- these are the swells of heart language that flow from "Unshakable", the sparkling new collection of worship and songs from veteran songwriter/worship leader Andy Park. I can't stop listening to this newest project because, simply, is inspires me at new depths with each listen. What a great collection of songs- very diverse but seamlessly synchronized in musical production and heart language.

What I love about Andy Park resounds in this new project, just as it has always rang out from his music and his life. His integrity, his clarity of purpose and the example of his actions run a consistent thread from his songwriting, his mentoring of other worship leaders, his work in local and world missions, all the way to his raising of his children. I must admit to having had the opportunity to get to know Andy over a few years in mid nineties. More than anyone else I have met in arena of worship leaders and songwriters, Andy epitomizes the balance of outstanding leadership and humble service. Most will know Andy as the prolific songwriter who has penned "In The Secret" (I Want To Know You), "Holy Love", "We Will Ride", "The River Is Here" and over a hundred published songs used throughout the world. What most won't know is that Andy also is the mentor to a long list of worship leaders, including people such as Brian Doerksen, Craig Musseau, Kelly Carpenter, Larry Hampton and many other people without songwriting credits and recognition.

It is with that kind of pedigree that "Unshakable" comes our way. Andy draws from a lifetime of songwriting to God for use in the church. This crop of new songs is as strong as ever. But unlike any project in the past, his excellent songwriting is presented through the shimmering production of veteran producer Nathan Nockels. The results are the outstanding new project, "Unshakable".

Declarative praise launches this project with the title track "Unshakable", where pop stylings deliver a great musical rendition of lyrics based in the 62nd Psalm - an excellent song, reflecting the unchanging nature of God. "Revive Us Again" as a new prayer anthem that is sure to be echoed in many churches, because of its singable, engaging chorus and universal heart cry for God to visit us with His holy fire and life. Moving from style to style, this album explodes with a full gospel choir and stylings in "Savior of the World". After you settle back into your chair, you come to the narrative/prayer song "Come Reign" which teaches about the kingdom of God through ebbs of biblical song stories and flows of the prayer "come reign".

The fifth track swells with my favorite song on the project, "You Are God", where Andy re-inspires the well used theme from the books of Isaiah and Revelation where all creation lifts up its voice and declares "holy is the Lord". If you are looking for an excellent new song to use in church this week, I urge you to look at this great song. I have to admit that I have played this one in loop for over an hour. It has that scriptural clarity and anthemic nature of a song you expect to be sung around the throne of God.

But don't stop listening there. As you continue listening to this project you will find precious pearls (the title of the next track, pun intended) on each of the 11 tracks on this project. From the devotional "Precious Pearl", "Worthy of All My Love" and "To Give My Life Away" to the intimate "My Father, My Friend" you will find encouraging treasures to both bless you and give language to your blessing of our Lord through worship and praise. One song I will point out in closing is the poignant "Carry Me", which is a prayer song whose lyrics are reminiscent of the desperate times of David and whose message resounds in the hearts of all who have encountered brokenness and painful times.

Andy Park's "Unshakable" is a brilliant marriage of top notch songwriting and sparkling production from a man whose life reflects the message of his music. This new project earns our highest marks here at, and we are happy to mark it as an Editor's Choice as a great new contribution to the church.

I truly hope you take the opportunity to listen to the audio clips, but even more so to get the entire album and see if several of the songs don't find their way into your local congregation. This is one of the best albums I have heard in the last few years, so I hope you take a listen.

Product Link Unshakable

Review by Kim Gentes

Draw Me Close - 25 Top Vineyard Worship Songs (2002)

Vineyard Music has done it right! Instead of putting out just another endless collection series, they sat down and looked at the seasons of grace that God has given their music and went about capturing those time frames of gifted songwriting into 4 concise double CD editions entitled "25 Top Vineyard Worship Songs". Each edition contains the top 25 songs from that era of Vineyard music (along with a few bonus tracks on each edition). Each edition also has a complete companion songbook available. Personally, as I browse and listen to songs on these discs, I am amazed at how many great songs merged from the Vineyard. Even just looking over the first era (Season of Glory) you find I Believe In Jesus, Change My Heart oh God, Isn't He, Spirit Song, More Love More Power, and so many more absolutely amazing songs-- a breathtaking tribute to what this music company has contributed to the Body of Christ. And each collection has an equally awesome set of fresh songs God breathed, not just into the Vineyard movement, but through the entire Church worldwide. If you want to get caught up with an excellent history of life changing songs, haven't heard of Vineyard music, or just want a truly great collection of songs you know, you should really get this entire collection. Normally, I am fairly disinterested in yet another collection series, but this totally takes another place. Not only is this collection amazing in song quality, but Vineyard has made it an actual worship resource to the Body of Christ by publishing companion songbooks with piano/vocal/guitar arrangements (guitar chord charts included). Finally, they were thoughtful enough to make the CDs themselves enhanced and to include printable guitar charts, overhead masters and song stories.

Product Links: The 25 Top Vineyard Series is divided chronologically into a collection of recordings representing various eras of Vineyard worship.


Kim Gentes