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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 dustin smith (1)

Coming Alive - Dustin Smith (2014)

Coming Alive - Dustin Smith

[Free Song Download "Who Is Like Our God" from Dustin Smith- see at the bottom of the review.]

Every time a new project comes out, I hope to find one thing - great songs I can use in my local church. The new album "Coming Alive" by Dustin Smith is a treasure trove of those kinds of songs.

Songs that speak truth. Songs that are singable. Songs that can be the anthem of our local church, and the hearts that comprise it.

The project starts off with the declarative "Coming Alive", the title track song that quickly becomes a thankful praise and a deepening prayer as you enter into it. The lyrics are straightforward, passionate and thankful. 

You rescued our lives and lifted our heads up
You opened our eyes to see all Your goodness
You came in like a raging flood
Overwhelming us with Your great love

But even in that thankfulness, the lyrics remain God-ward and prayerful in posture.

We're coming alive, we're coming alive now
So breathe Your life into these bones
So we can run to Your light and sing of freedom

I love this opening song. It brings the listener in touch with the sensibility of this project as a place of overflowing wonder- something birthed from a heart that is renewed. And in our cynical, tired world (and sometimes church) we are thirsty for the message of God's refreshing love coming to revive us.

Passionate Modern Psalms - Without collapsing into cliche, these paradoxial twin concepts of thirst and refreshing become the synthesizing theme of this album, which is evident as you listen to plaintiff prayers and thank-filled anthems like "Coming Alive", "Extravagant Love", "Breathe On Me", "Come Rushing In", "We Want To Know You", "Home", "Eyes Like Fire" and "Surround Us Now". Dustin Smith is clearly a person who has been to the desert, and has found the spring of eternal life Jesus promised to the woman at the well in the fourth chapter of John's gospel account. Smith relies on the Psalmic formula of honest need and heartfelt prayer that always capitulates to an extravagant response of thankfulness.

Singable Songs - Above all, each song is singable and I absolutely love that about "Coming Alive". It has placed melody and lyrics at the center of each composition. While the musical production of this project is top notch and beautiful, each one of these songs stands on its own as memorable song your congregation can learn and sing and it does not rely on musical arrangement primarily to be considered for your Sunday morning worship list.

Live Recording - That isn't to say there isn't some spontaneity, energy or musicality in this project. In fact, this album bubbles over at times with an honest spontaneous fervor that gathers the songs into an experience of worship rather than just a collection of songs. Listening to "He's Alive", "Breathe On Me" and "Come Rushing In" makes it clear that Dustin is just as intent on worshiping God as he is in recording an album.

Surprising - Even when the lyrics and tone of the songs take a more intense flavor, they remain constantly scripture-centered (as in "Eyes Like Fire" which is based on a poignant combination of Gospel, Psalms and Revelation imagery). And, even those songs, we find the melodic and singable qualities stand strong.

My favorite songs on this project are "Coming Alive" (melodic and anthemic for use in any church) and "Eyes Like Fire" (vivid lyrical imagery) ! This is a faith-filled album with gracious and thankful language placed on singable melodies. Excellent!

Amazon Link:

Review by Kim Gentes

DOWNLOAD! Our friends at Integrity Music are giving away this free mp3 and chord chart for the song "Who Is Like Our God" written by Dustin Smith, Michael Farren and Chris Clayton! Check it out below!

Free Song Download "Who Is Like Our God" from the album "Coming Alive" by Dustin Smith

Who Is Like Our God - Dustin Smith (mp3)

Who Is Like Our God
by Smith, Farren and Clayton

Note: To save the ZIP file above
simply [Right-Mouse] click the link.

 "Coming Alive" Already in

All the songs on this album have been pre-loaded for subscribers who use for their worship planning. You can include these songs in your set planning this week! If you are a member, simply login and find it in the song database, or under "New Songs" link. If you aren't a member, you can check out for free for a month (more info here).