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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 neverclaim (2)

The Neverclaim - The Neverclaim (2013)

[Free Song Download "My Soul Longs" from Neverclaim- see at the bottom of the review.]

About a year ago I was listening to fresh sound of worship from a live recording at a Vineyard youth conference. One of the main voices on that project was Jeremiah Carlson. You could tell then that Jeremiah and the band, called the Neverclaim, were just starting to make their passionate sound and infectious songs known. This last month the inaugural album from the Neverclaim was released through Provident/Essential Worship. The project is great!

But more than just a great music, Jeremiah and the Neverclaim are the real deal- real worshipers who lead just as passionately in a small group of a handful of people as they do in front of a crowd of thousands. While living in Franklin, TN I had the chance to hear Jeremiah lead worship at Franklin Vineyard earlier this year, and they poured their hearts and music out with great encouragement to the local church gathered there.  This last summer I also had the chance to be at a large conference where the Neverclaim led worship daily for the youth and also in a final night of worship with a 3000+ adults and youth. In each of these contexts, The Neverclaim was focused on glorifying God and inviting the gathering to surrender their hearts to Christ. Whatever else we may say about "worship bands" these days, it is important to note what the focus of these groups are, and I am delighted to say that these guys are more interested in lifting up Jesus than "making their mark" in the music scene.

This project launches with the great song Revival, a melodic song with punched-in electric guitars, power chord vamps and a memorable chorus. The chorus exposes the thoughtfulness of Jeremiah's writing- the lyrics are compact and powerful, drawing together the commitment of the believer, the supremacy of Christ and the hope for change at the hand of Jesus- the change we call "revival"-

We were made for such a time as this
When every knee will bow and tongue confess
Jesus Christ for who he really is- revival, revival!

Musically, this is well arranged anthem rock displaying the benefits of a studio well used- great layered guitars and tight vocals that highlight the musical advantages of this group. And that advantage starts clearly with Jeremiah's soaring vocals that highlight every song on this project. Supporting the vocals is a mashup of power chord guitar movements and picked or strummed acoustic (with occasional banjo/mandolin flourishes as well). Of course, a regular collage of rhythm (drums and bass) hold time step duties and a keyboard rounds out the sounds for this ensemble.

Track two and three are strong songs as well, with undulating verses and big choruses. Track three, Pearl of Great Price, has an especially strong devotional theme, once again wrapped in some great vocals from Jeremiah. I loved the surrendered language of this song, whose simplicity makes it a nice candidate for use in local churches:

I give everything, everything
You're worth everything to me
I give everything, everything
Cause You gave it all for me

Track four is a gospel/choir-esqe track that intros with a humble mandolin/banjo/acoustic guitar/slide guitar feel and a hand clapping roots groove. This, again, accompanies the lyrics well, which speak of community and calling out in prayer for God to "steal the hearts" of our communities from the depths of despair and darkness that the world has gripped them in. Carlson, in a co-writer with Scott Krippayne and Tony Wood, brilliantly effuse passion and prayer, singing:

Would you steal their hearts as You call their name
In a broken world, tryin to do the same
Would you let them see the majesty of who You are
Oh Lord, would you steal their hearts

It's hard not to start clapping, join in singing and want to set this track on repeat for a very long time! 

Track five is the acoustic radiated song, My Soul Longs, which begins like a Mumford & Sons tune, and carries acoustic strumming of guitars, banjos and mandolins throughout- all the while being pitched into glory with Jeremiah's heartfelt vocals and some thundering guitars, drums and bass! I love this song! By the time it gets to the bridge/refrain "He's comin' back for His bride", I dare you to try to sit still and not jump in and worship at the top of your lungs! It was pretty much impossible for me and my family whenever this song hit the speakers!

The album is not all power punch and glory, though. There are moments of settling in, and simple reflection on God's goodness and majesty- Be Lifted Higher is one of those. Though it takes off in the chorus the way other tracks do on this project, it is a brilliant song that breathes the praise of God as a framework into which we should address the "King of Kings".

Track nine retreats even further into a folk/roots/rock undertone, settling the ethos of the project into a southern rock sound with Sweet Sweet Mercies. Like many songs on this project, what seems like a simple single idea turns into some soaring chorus vocals on lifting power chords. Once again, I couldn't turn this track off. Brilliant!

There is more to discover here, but I will leave some tracks for you to consider with your own ears and hearts. One thing I noted as I "chewed" on this project- the more I listened, the more I loved it.  It is not an album that can be listened to once and you've emptied it's cache of goodness. You will return to it many, many times, as I have. And after weeks, you'll still find yourself finding it in your playlists on itunes player or spinning the old polycarbonate plastic in your car (that old thing we used to call a CD).

Worship leaders and musicians will find a lot to collect here on this album, and the songs I've highlighted here are good first options to consider. While the ranges are a step or two higher than most congregations will want to venture in corporate worship, some are spot on for that 3rd or 4th song when everyone is singing fully and voices are warmed up. Also, your youth groups will love any of these song selections, even done in the original keys here.

This album is a wonderful debut album for the Neverclaim with lots of thoughtful lyrics, great music and mountain top vocals to lead you through. Don't skip over this album. For all these great reasons it gets my nod as an Editor's Choice Award album. Great work Jeremiah and the Neverclaim!


Amazon Link:


Review by Kim Gentes

DOWNLOAD! Our friends at Essential Worship and Vineyard Publishing are giving away this free mp3 and chart for the song "My Soul Longs" by The Neverclaim! Check it out below!

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 Soul Longs" from the Neverclaim

My Soul Longs
by Jeremiah Carlson

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


Cultivation Generation: My Foundation - Vineyard Worship (2012)

[Free Song Download "My Soul Longs" from Jeremiah Carlson- see at the bottom of the review.]

My Foundation is the latest release from Vineyard Worship. The project is a live recording from its recent Cultivation Generation young adult conference held in Boise, ID.  The house band for the event has been The Neverclaim, a youth rock worship group led by Jeremiah Carlson, who forms the foundation of the sound and track contributions on this album. And that is a good thing.

Carlson takes the vocals on both the lead track and three others, giving a musical style and thematic bent that is reminiscent of Jesus Culture and Forerunner/IHOP (Kansas City) music. Stylistically, electric guitar driven rock ballads set the stage for a mixture of eschatologically centered lyrics ("my soul longs for the coming of the Risen Lord") and triumphalist refrains ("with a shout sin is finished, death and sin have been defeated. Now we stand victorious"). Tracks with the Neverclaim nod to similarities not only to the aforementioned, Jesus Culture, but hints of Hillsong United, and Planetshakers breakthrough with a touch of Mumford & Sons thrown in to stir up the mix.

The remainder of the tracks are led by worship leaders Stephen Lampert, David Linhart, Jesse Meyer and Anabeth Morgan.

The album starts powerfully with Carlson calling out "My Soul Longs", and the song rings out like an invitation for every heart to set it's desire on "the coming of the risen Lord". The second track, pounds out the declaration "How great" and "Love has come, love has won" as Lampert leads the song with low verses and a charging chorus (track 7 does something similar stylistically as Jesse Meyer leads). "God Don't Never Change", the third track, is a decided change of gears with blues/rock/island fusion that vamps into about four more gears of urban gospel/rock styling and vocals, always keeping a connection with the worshiping congregation singing right along with them.

The title track "My Foundation" is goes to yet another pace, but is a welcome respite to tranquil and worshipful waters, led by Anabeth Morgan whose vocals and meandering style remind us of the approach of Kim Walker (Jesus Culture) which can start with pensive humming that eventually vamps to pounding anthems with 2 bar notes. Track five is a return to Vineyard Music stamped "Roots Music" feel with its Americana/west coast country sound. The tracks continue on with great diversity and worshipful approach.

To wrap this review, I will call out two of my favorite songs from this project. The last track is a modern revision of Kevin Prosch's now classic "They That Wait On The Lord". Appropriately led by the vocal soring of Carlson and the Neverclaim, energy and congregational joy bubble up through the ebb and flow of the nearly 7 minute track. Very cool and a great revisit to a song that deserves a fresh look for this generation.

My absolute favorite song on this project lands on track eight, where Morgan's beautiful, yet powerful, voice guides us in language from the book of Revelation. This is the most pensive song on the twelve track contribution, but it is so grooved, so inviting, so heartfelt, you will fall into worship of the worthy Lord as you are led from section to section! And even in this song, a deep groove develops in the chorus and you will find yourself with hands lifted high singing "Worthy are You Lord to receive all the honor and glory!"

I really enjoyed this album from Vineyard Worship. While it's origins are youthful, the songs are largely congregational for any modern worship centered church. There is much to investigate on this project, but be sure not to miss tracks 1, 2, 8 and 12 which, in my opinion, are ready candidates for fresh winds of worship for your local church.

For those that are interested in the songs from this album, you will find it available in several of the normal locations (iTunes etc), but I especially recommend:

My Foundation - Cultivation Generation  (Amazon)

For those who use online planning, you can also find the songs from this album, the full audio, chord charts and lyrics online in

Additionally, our friends at Vineyard Music have also granted us permission to give you access to the audio and chord chart for the song "My Soul Longs" as a free download for a limited time directly here, so you will find it below.

worshiping Him!

Kim Gentes


Free Song Download "My Soul Longs" from Jeremiah Carlson

My Soul Longs
by Jeremiah Carlson

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