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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 songs (20)

Everything And Nothing Less - Chris McClarney (2015)

Chris McClarney's new project "Everything and Nothing Less" is the best live album I've heard yet to come out of Jesus Culture Music. The anthemic and melodic sounds of soaring vocals on a bed of electric guitars and thundering drums has been the hallmark of the sound coming from the youth music birthed from Bethel Church in Redding California. And Chris McClarney is not a new-comer to this influential group. His song "You Love Never Fails" (originally included in the 2008 live album from Jesus Culture of the same name) was the main anthem of their music for several years.

There is a lot of great music being recorded across the worship genre. And while much of the best production of this music leans on radio play and becomes popular there, the best focus of all worship and praise music begins with great songs. Great songs that expound the history, passion and theology of the Christian faith. Great songs that the church can sing. Great songs that can be used as liturgy (modern or historic). And most of all great songs that local congregations can use to give honor, praise, glory, surrender, prayer, thanks, deepest devotion and worship to the one true God, Yahweh.

"Everything and Nothing Less" is a concise and brilliant collection of great songs. Excellent lyric writing, beautiful melodic hooks, and compelling music that beckons the listener to abandon their hearts and souls in a Holy Moment to the God of Miracles who is an All Consuming Fire. These are, in fact, the first three tracks of the album, and they represent three of the best new songs I've heard in the last 10 years.  

The project begins with the powerfully understated "Holy Moment", a wonderful call to worship song that opens the worshiper to a poignant sense of God's presence and a welcoming declaration of anticipation and expectation.  Track two pivots on the "Holy Moment" theme to a declaration of God's holiness, glory, worth and righteousness with "All Consuming Fire". Like the first song, track two is arranged in an initially understated bare structure, but about half way through it, the song launches into McClarney sailing his brilliant voice through the chorus and on to ad lib and vocal throw-offs that shine with genuine passion.

The third track on the album comes to my favorite song on the project, "God of Miracles." A faith-filled request and declaration, this ballad is surprisingly humble and prayerful, inquiring of God to intervene while remaining truthfully honest to the reality of what is happening in our real lives, as is seen in the unveiled language of this bridge:

This world is shaking, but you cannot be shaken
My heart is breaking, but I'm not broken yet
Your love is fearless, help me to be courageous too
There is nothing impossible for the ... [chorus: God of miracles]

I could go on to explain the remaining tracks of great music, wonderful production and true energy of this live recording, but I will leave that to you to hear. This project easily garners an "Editor's Choice Award", as it is the best album I have heard this year and I consider this to possibly be the best live album I have heard in a decade- it has that many useable, great songs.

Fans of Jesus Culture music will love this album, but so will people who like Tomlin, Hillsong United, Will Reagan/United Pursuit. Part of what makes this album even more special to me personally is that I happen to have had the chance to meet and get to know Chris McClarney on a few brief occasions. I also had the opportunity to attend a church for about a year where he led worship. Chris is absolutely one of the most passionate, humble and honest people I have yet to meet. He is singing these songs like he means it- because he does. On top of that Chris has, far and away, the best voice of any modern worship "artist" or leader I have heard- an astounding range, crisp powerful tone and a warm style that invites everyone else to jump right in.

If you've been saving your money for that one album you will buy this year- this is it. Seriously. Fortunately, with today's tech, you can hear extended samples of every song (on Amazon or iTunes) before you commit to buying.  This is one project you must buy the entire album for- don't get just a few tracks. It's that good.

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. In fact, to the best of our knowledge is currently the only place yet to have all charts from this album! 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:


Review by Kim Gentes



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.


My God My King [single] - All Sons & Daughters (2013) - free download

The new album "All Sons and Daughters: Live" is a beautiful collection of fresh songs, done with wholehearted devotion. [a full review of this album will be coming soon to this blog]

One of my favorite songs on that album is "My God My King". A simple song of devotion, declaration and Psalm-like surrender from our heart to the King. As with other songs on this album, I found myself getting out my guitar and playing along. As the crisp lyrics rose of out my heart I was reminded of Psalm 9 and the similar theme and words used there to express thanks and praise.

I love where it echos that thanksgiving for God's goodness :

For You've been good always
You're good always

I encourage you to download BOTH the mp3 and the chord chart and engage with this song. Many thanks to my friends at Integrity Music for giving us permission to post this.

Below you will find download links for both the PDF chord chart and the mp3 audio file.

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 God My King" from Integrity Music

My God My King
by David Leonard & Leslie Jordan

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


"My God My King" Already in

This song has been pre-loaded for all those who use for their worship planning. You can include it in your set planning this week! If you are a member, simply login and find it in the song database, or under "New Songs" tab. If you aren't a member, you can check out for free for a month (more info here).

Article by Kim Gentes 


Not Be Moved - Vineyard Worship (2012)

"Not Be Moved" is the latest recording from Vineyard Worship and is released via their quarterly series (called Club Vineyard) with some grace-filled fresh songs. The twelve songs that fill this project are congregationally minded offerings that could fit in a varied range of churches, partly due to their generally singable vocal ranges and partly due to the diverse range of styles in which these songs are arranged.

The lyrical and theme content of this album reflects a long-standing tradition of the main-stay of worship music- glorious adoration and the Christian basics of faith, hope and love. Several songs focus directly on glorifying God for his worthiness- Name Above All Names, Face To Face, Greatly Praised, Satisfied, Blessed Be The Name of The Lord, He's Our King. Several other songs expound the virtues of God's rescuing, faithfulness and provision towards His children- My Savior My Rescue, Love Lifted Me, Not Be Moved, The World Can't Take It Away, and Everything Is In Your Hands.

Aside from these thematic groupings, notable in this collection is a focus on declarative language in most songs (in both theme groupings previously mentioned) and the absence of the language of prayer and request.  Two songs with prayer language are "Make Us One" and the personal "Face to Face". This is not a huge shift or difference that might be noticed on this album alone, but becomes clear as one looks at decades of songs from the Vineyard churches. Popular songs from the 80's (such as Change My Heart O God, More Love More Power, Psalm 121), 90's (highlighted by Come And Fill Me Up, Draw Me Close, Breathe) and 00's (Hungry, Surrender, Be The Centre) of Vineyard catalog often prominently featured a musical playlist of plaintiff prayers and supplicant surrenders. Today's Vineyard songs resound more with the language of assurance and faith declaration than the language of prayer, though the lyrical sense of joy and thanks continue to smile across many of the songs of this album.

The album kicks off with an understated floor tom pounding in solid rock song "My Savior My Rescue". The song is a declaration of placing trust in God's love, His works and the belief that he will rescue us from the desperation inherent in our human needs. A thoughtful song of remembrance and assurance, that exudes praise and lifts the worshiper into a place of trust in God. Track two, "Love Lifted Me", is a country styled tune that rambles steel guitar through its bubbling effervescence of love-laced lyrics. This exultant song provides a joy-filled refresh to the age-old phrase "love lifted me" that is worth churches taking a look at, with a tasty gospel hook (that ends too soon, in my opinion) appended to the final refrain of this special song.

"Name Above All Names" is beautiful track setting a guitar-infused musical bed for a wonderful presentation of Philippians 2:6-11, where Christ's submission by emptying Himself of his divine-qualities becomes the place in which he humbles Himself to obedience and gains the experience of true humanity, even death on a cross. The song is perfected by the passionate and grace-filled vocal tones of worship leader Hannah Daugherty, who highlights two of my favorite tracks on this project. The title track, "Not Be Moved" follows this. A glorious, piano-based (complete with oscillating organ pads) gospel song, it presents the center of this project's theme- a clear, powerful and faith-filled declaration of God's immovable and unchanging nature as the foundation for our reliance on His benevolence.

Track five is the poignant song about the prayerful desire for the worshiper to have their eyes opened to see God's glory and to be in the presence of the One. Again, Daugherty captures the song with her fluent interpretations that create the atmosphere of deep worship. At eight and a half minutes (the longest track on the album), this song effortlessly brings the worshiper into the same place of prayerful hunger as the lyrics expound. Several songs continue  the stylistic rock/roots, country and rock/country stylings of this album's primary motif- "Greatly Praised", "The World Can't Take it Away", "Make Us One", "He's Our King" and "Everything Is In Your Hands".

"Blessed Be The Name of the Lord" is another reload of an archived Kevin Prosch song from the mid-90's (similarly, the song "They That Wait On The Lord" was revived on the "My Foundation" album from Vineyard last year), though this tune update drones on and fails to either capture the energy of the original version or provide an alternative infused with an interesting arrangement.

"Satisfied" is one of my favorite tracks on this project, partly because it stands out stylistically from the guitar-centered, country/rock styling of the rest of the album. But more than just style, this song is a humble admission of our needs resting solely in the person of God.  It states:

All of my longings are satisfied

All of my longings are satisfied in You

This kind of admission is enrapturing and epitomizes the heart-ache of all of us- to be with Christ and have Him be, simply, enough.

If you are looking for songs to consider for your local church, I recommend "My Savior My Rescue", "Love Lifted Me", "Name Above All Names", and "Satisfied"- each of these songs have something significant to contribute to any worship repeteroire. Be sure to listen through the entire album and glean some good new songs for your local church worship.

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:


Review by Kim Gentes

All The Poor And Powerless [single] - All Sons & Daughters (2013) - free download

[This free download has expired.]

As one looks through the Biblical record, we see an amazing series of real lives. Some resounding with hope, some with triumph, some hurting and some broken. Amidst these poignant moments, we see the real story of God's love and power bursting on to the scene, intervening to bring His presence and justice.

It is this thread of mercy and justice that rises up in us, as God gives us strength that gives songs like "All the Poor and Powerless". This is a song pointing us to a desire to see the justice of the kingdom come to the aid of the poor and powerless. And for the hearts of every human, regardless of their place in life to come to a recognition of the Holy One and sing out "Hallelujah". David Leonard and Leslie Jordan have penned this melancholy tune that displays both of the need of humanity and holy and worth character of God.

What really gripped me about this song, was getting out my guitar and starting to play along and sing this song. The lyrics begin to leap off the page and you realize what you are singing. It sinks deep into your heart and flows back up as a declaration, and a realization that on that day :

We will sing out "Hallelujah".

[downloads expired]

Be sure to chime in and let us know what you thought (post comments below) and you are welcome to share this with friends on Facebook and twitter with your friends. 

Free Song Download "All the Poor and Powerless" from Integrity Music

All the Poor and Powerless
by David Leonard & Leslie Jordan
  • Listening Audio (Download MP3)
  • Chord Chart (Download PDF) 

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



"All the Poor and Powerless" Already in

This song has been pre-loaded for all those who use for their worship planning. You can include it in your set planning this week! If you are a member, simply login and find it in the song database, or under "New Songs" tab. If you aren't a member, you can check out for free for a month (more info here).

Article by Kim Gentes