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 Worshipmusic.com, 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. Worshipmusic.com 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 instrumental (3)

Christmas In Ivory - Ed Kerr (2011)

Christmas brings out nearly everyone in the music world. Renditions here and there, all styles and all kinds of remakes of classic songs.

What comes as a respite for me is the simplicity and beauty of music played in the excellence of a grand piano.  Ed Kerr is the veteran musician, songwriter and composer that has been gracing the Christian and worship music world for over 20 years.

Recently, I have been listening to eight classic Christmas songs and enjoying the sounds of the piano as crafted by Ed Kerr. His new release, "Christmas In Ivory", takes the iconic songs of the season and places them to inventive but classicly framed arrangements.

Are you looking for a fresh new album of Christmas music that you can put on and enjoy for hours? "Christmas in Ivory" is my recommendation for you. But don't take my word for it- check out the free song below, which is one track from Ed's album. 

Free Song Download from "Christmas In Ivory"

 

The First Noel
arranged by Ed Kerr

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

 

Now that you have sampled part of this great album, I strongly encourage you to get the entire album. You can get a copy of the album yourself at :

Christmas In Ivory (CD)  http://bit.ly/uMz8cl
Christmas In Ivory
 (MP3 Album) http://amzn.to/w0K2EC

For musicians or churches interested in incorporating some of these great song arrangements in their own contexts, there is also a full digital songbook available at the same page.

 

Review by Kim Gentes 

 

Passage - Kelly Carpenter (2011)

Come take journey with me...

I lean back, close my eyes, open my ears, drink in the sounds... and very soon, I am surrendering my tension and anxiety to the Prince of Peace. Once surrendered, I am carried along in the ebb and flow waters of beautiful sonic soundscapes, skilful artistry and thematic hooks and progressions. I drift. Not aimlessly, but toward a grace-filled remembering that God is not limited to our ways. He holds the universe, the planet, the country, my family and even my day in His very capable and very caring hands.

How did I take that journey? What vehicle or route did I take for just such an adventure? Quite simply, I took this journey via a new "Passage" - the latest instrumental CD from singer/ songwriter/ musician Kelly Carpenter.

Using perfect sound beds, a gracious 5-peice core ensemble, and a light sprinkling of violin, Kelly Carpenter achieves a wonderful balance of ethereal space, melodic hooks and rhythmic structure that you are lifted almost effortlessly from our dense world of noise and confusion into another world of reflective and deepening peace.  Keyboard is primary, and brings center to this recording, but it is not agrandized against the better use of a more perfect sound for any single song. Occasionally, a swelling electric takes you buy the hand, then the drums walk you to the next section, but you never feel ripped or pushed or unceremoniously dumped from one musical context to another. It is all well envisioned, well planned and well executed.

While the entire track list of this peerless experience is new material, save one track, I couldn't shake the feeling that all the tasteful riffing and discourse was warmly familiar.  Our first aural glimpse of the violin happens with the prelude and main section of the only covered song on this project- an instrumental version of the David Ruis classic "Whom Have I But You" anchors the early section of the album with perfect positioning. We don't hear the violin return until track 11, and when it does, only subtly it glides us gently along, delivering us to the homestretch of this wonderful experience (into which tracks 12 and 13 are aptly named "Final Journey" and "Embrace").

Because this album is something of an experimental journey, you would think that the result would feel ultimately lost. But nothing could be further from the result on this album. Passage succeeds at both projecting and reaching its target of enraptured peace through the transcendance of music. It also succeeds at making the journey without formulizing the route. You don't arrive at the end of each song in the same time, groove, style or arrangement as you did from the previous song.

This project breathes of creativity, and settles for nothing less than artistic brilliance. After listening through it no less than 20 times, I love it even more now than the first time I listened. This is rarely the case with instrumental music, which often bores the attuned listener after a half a dozen plays. 

I strongly encourage you to check out Kelly Carpenters wonderful new album, Passage

The album is available as CD and/or MP3 album, whatever you prefer.

Audio samples for all 13 tracks available at Kelly Carpenter Album: Passage 

 

Review by,
Kim Gentes


Andrew Smith: Tap Style Guitarist & Songwriter (Video)

For many years, I have reviewed and recommended music and resources from a unique church resource perspective. I love the opportunity of finding great tools for the local church. But as creative leader, myself, there is a deep desire to experience excellence and beauty in the art of music, and to see that inspire the church creative community. In my ventures in the last 15 years, I have come across a worship leader/songwriter named Andrew Smith a number of times.

But what I didn't know about Andrew was that the last several years has had him on a musical journey where he is receiving flourishing acclaim as a tap style guitar instrumentalist. In addition to a strong presence as a singer/songwriter, Andrew has toured and recorded extensively playing and delighting audiences with some beautiful tap-style guitar works.  My goal with this article today is simply to highlight some of Andrew's music for you, and to give you a sample of this gifted artists enchanting craft.

Below is a 6 minute 40 second video of a piece called "African Tap". Take a moment, sit back, watch and listen. You will be delighted, encouraged, and at once inspired- whether you are someone who is involved in creative artistry or not. You can also see more information about Andrew on his own website.

I want to thank Andrew for giving me permission to include this video on my site.  You can find out more about Andrew's music and journey at his site directly at : http://andrewsmithmusic.com/

I hope you find Andrew's music as inspiring and encouraging as I do.

Sincerely

Kim Gentes