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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 award winning (3)

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


The Playlist (Deluxe Edition) - Rita Springer (2012)

Rita Springer is a name that has been synonymous with passionate worship. Like many of you, I've been enjoyed her songs, been inspired by her powerful vocals and encouraged by her living example as a leader and mentor to a generation of worship leaders. I first met Rita in 2001, and did a video interview with her on a tour she was doing with Worship Together newcomers (then) Tim Hughes and Chris Tomlin. Rita was then, and continues to be, a trailblazer who never settles for the "status quo". She was never content to live on your latest success or create a song to fit with the "formula" that might be popular.

Rita's latest album, called "The Playlist (Deluxe)", is a progression in that journey, taking Rita's music from its powerful and inspirational roots to a place of beautiful artistry and pop accessibility. This marks the first album for Rita with her new major label partner, Integrity Music. Instead of pressing Rita into a plastic mold of pop-Christian music, this new release has Rita playing some of her most innovative music to date (such as tracks In This Forever, Over I Go, and Made For This), while on the same album including some of her most worshipful, hook-laden grooves (such as tracks I Call You, You Are My Hallelujah, Come In, All I Need, You Are Good, Oh How You Love Me, Make You Happy, and gospel drenched This Blood).

"The Playlist (Deluxe)" is a triumph of the best passionate worship, glorious vocals, great lyric writing, and artistic production that we've ever heard from Rita Springer. I couldn't get through this album without lifting my arms, raising my voice and joining in worship. While this album is made with top level production, it remains 25 excellent tracks (11 studio and 14 live tracks) for consideration by local churches looking for great new songs. Rita is joined by a veritable "who's who" of producers who's collaborative efforts shine, rather than segment, this great album. Jason Halbert, David Ruis, Bobby Hartry, Jason Morant, Anthony Skinner, Daniel Bashta and Joel Khouri apply their considerable talents to this project, and each track brings out a slice of Rita's passion that fits the song. Additional to that, the "Deluxe" portion of this album is a live version of many songs, PLUS four of Rita's most amazing corporate worship favorites: Created to Worship, All I Need, You Are Good and Oh How You Love Me.

Listening through the album multiple times, I keep changing my favorite songs. Lyrically, I found myself resonating with the lead track Come In very deeply. Rhythmically, I loved In This Forever and its 6/8 feel. But four songs stand out profoundly for me. First, I Call You is an infectious song of praise with such devotional language I find myself reaching for my guitar and joining in every time the track starts. Second, This Blood is something of the feel of an old-time hymn, with gospel choir backdrops and the undeniable message of Christ's redemptive work made possible in the sacrifice of His Blood. Then, You Are Good is one of those songs that will ring around in your head and want you to put it on the set list for next Sunday every time you hear it- a great corporate worship song. But my absolute favorite song has to come down to Oh How You Love Me, which though it is one of Rita's classic worship songs is so powerful, so compelling and pulls such a deep musical groove that you can't do anything but absolutely love it and want to sing along to the Lord "Oh how You love me". 

If you have never heard Rita Springer before, this album should be your first stop into one of the most passionate, gifted songwriter/worship leaders in the last 20 years. It's that good. I have no hesitation with naming The Playlist Deluxe a 2012 Editor's Choice Award recipient. It is a great album, really. Check it out.

NOTE: Below is a free download from our friends at Integrity Music, with both the MP3 and chord chat from the song "This Blood" from Rita's new album. Enjoy!


Amazon Link:


Review by Kim Gentes


Free Song Download "This Blood" from Rita Springer


This Blood
by Rita Springer, Paulette Wooten

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


Big Big God - Roger Hodges (1999)

Crisp, clear and radiant--these are the inviting rhythms of Roger Hodges' best worship project to date, 'Big Big God'. Are you thinking of what it would sound like to have pristine sound production, knitted with completely rapturous melodies, all held together with incredible grit through honest vocals? Stop thinking, start worshiping--with 'Big Big God'!

Anyone who may have had the opportunity to worship in a meeting with Roger Hodges knows his approach is a one-way rocket to the courts of God. I have to confess something--I used to be of the opinion that truly great albums and songs would 'float' to the top, get picked up by the majors (labels), and make it to the masses. After the last two-and-a-half years of listening to stacks and stacks of praise & worship CDs, this just isn't reality anymore.

The rise of the 'indie' (independent) praise and worship projects has become a legitimate source of TOP quality resource and expression in that genre's music market. Sure there is a lot of 'fluff' put out by indies, but the truly great stuff is not only competing with the big labels, they are setting the pace in creative and passionate musical prayers and devotion. After indie projects like Langley Vineyard's 'the Well', Rita Springer's 'Created To Worship', and WaterDeep's 'Enter The Worship Circle', the water is gathering for this emerging stream of praise to become a torrent of the river of God.

And now you can add to that flow of God's praise, the rhythmic current of 'Big Big God'!

This CD belongs in that category of top notch projects. 'Big Big God' begins its spin in your CD-ROM with 'You Are,' a power-ballad that throws out the rules and rushes straight to God, speaking passionately to the Father. You will fall to your feet in surrender to Him, as you sing out:

And You are the air I breathe
And You are the song I sing
And You are redeeming love
I trust in You alone

You will be tempted to lock on to this first song and let the [repeat] function hold you here for hours! But that, my friend, would be a big, big mistake. The six minutes this track plays for will seem far too short to anyone who finds themselves on the floor, pouring out the heart to the Father.

Moving on to the next song, Roger calls us to 'rise up' in the military/march-girded rhythms of Psalm 33. I really enjoyed this song, as the music and Hodges' voice invites us to stand in the light of God.

But the journey has just begun, and as the light, crisp strum of the acoustic guitar begins to swell into the title track song, you are swept back into a personal conversation with God. Thankfulness expressed across the breadth of God's character is a constant staple to this great album, which is a well balanced feast of lyrical devotion. Of course, there is a reason 'Big Big God' is the title track to this project--the song is as infectious as it is thoughtful. But if you thought this was just another well-scripted, studio produced session of nice songs. well, by this third song you have begun to realize this is much more. In 'Big Big God', Hodges begins his adding of joyful, creative and honest worship and praise 'spontaneous' moments. And apparently, once he gets started, he can't hold it back.

Throughout the rest of the album, Hodges makes no apologies for his obvious attack of enjoyment that lifts this album into a real praise and worship experience. The joy keeps on going in the boisterous 'You Are Faithful', where this rocket launches into some very nice musical placements by electric guitar power-man Lincoln Brewster.

You can't put much better talent on an album, and those haven't already heard Brewster's work on his self-titled debut (from Integrity Music's youth worship label Vertical Music) will be very pleasantly surprised. After a brief settling back, with Kevin Prosch-esque 'The Son Is Rising', the trip continues with 'The Lamb has Overcome'. This has the same straight-ahead lyrical and progression stylings as 'You Are', but this time points us to the returning of Jesus.

Just when you think you have things all figured out, 'All that I Want' is slight step off the trail, but most welcomed. This song provides good style contrast, and again with deeply heartfelt lyrics sung with actual passion (wow! Imagine that!). By this time you are pretty convinced that Roger Hodges is the real item--an actual worshiper who recorded what he actually would do in a live worship service setting.

This time comes to an intimate juncture with just voice and acoustic guitar (and a touch of oboe or synth patch) laying out the song 'You've Captured My Heart'. This intimate worship ballad is perfect, no other words for it. On the final cut, every instrument is pulled back except piano. Then, Hodges just lets it all come out- passionate prayer, covenant commitment, and loving thankfulness, with a beautiful backdrop of sensitive piano playing.

Quite obviously, this project earns our highest commendation here at, the Editor's Choice Award. I actually struggled to find something wrong with this CD, listening to it for 5 continuous hours (a record for me with any CD). Maybe it was because the musicianship was impeccable. Maybe because the vocals are just everything you ever wanted to say to the Lord. Or, maybe it's because you can't help but get caught up in the praise and worship with this album--I am not sure of the reason, but this project is flat out excellent. Praise God!

Product Link Big Big God - Roger Hodges

Review by Kim Gentes