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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 vineyard (33)

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 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.


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

A Taste Of Heaven [EP] - Andy Park (2013)

Review of "A Taste of Heaven" (EP)

View a brief profile of Andy Park.

Andy Park

If you have been involved in worship ministry or just enjoying the music of worship that has been written and used in churches in the last 20 years, you've probably used a song written by veteran worship songwriter, Andy Park. While he has been a major voice and trainer in the Vineyard movement, he is internationally known for popular songs such as In The Secret (I Want to Know You), Precious Child, My Delight, Only You, The River Is Here, Blessed Be The Name, We Will Ride, Yahweh, Yet I Will Praise, and Wonder Working God. Andy has been writing worship songs that have become the soundtrack of the modern church around the world.

When one gets the idea that someone has had long term "success" in worship songwriting this could conjur up ideas of mountain top retreats, cluttered writing rooms, VIP studio access, co-writing with gifted compatriots and a life of creative seclusion. While that may be someone's dream, that is not the reality of Andy Park. Of all the high profile worship writers I have met and gotten to know personally, Andy is one of the most diligent servants to the Body of Christ I have ever met. Yes, he has written over 120 songs that have been scattered across the globe, but he did that while planting churches, pastoring, raising a large family, traveling around the globe, helping train churches in worship, writing books, mentoring dozens of others and following God. Andy is the real deal- a local church pastor/worship leader who understands the struggles and frustrations of everything from small church plants to mega-church campuses.

Why does all this matter? Because Andy writes these songs from the trenches. He isn't musing over something ethereal that he doesn't have to live through. In the real work of the kingdom of God and community of family, the kinds of songs that we write must survive the "reality" test of being true enough not only to believe, but to use on a regular basis in local churches at home and around the world. I am thankful for mentors and leaders like Andy Park, who have continued to lead and write from the trenches of local church work, while remaining an encouragement to the greater body of Christ.

For more info on Andy Park, his music and ministry, go to .

When I started listening to this short EP I was working frantically on another work project. But as the songs "A Taste of Heaven" and "Perfect Peace" began to rise up from my office sound system, I began to listen. It was beautiful.

The first track, "A Taste of Heaven", is presented in both a standard and extended version (track 2) on this project. This song is about God's grace and favor on His people, and how that favor is a foretaste of the glory of heaven come to earth today. This song is really about God's presence being the unmerited favor of blessing for us, as he states in the second verse:

Standing under the shower of your unmerited favor
Your blessings upon us
You have given so freely your affectionate mercy
Your blessings upon us

This is not an indulgent declaration, but a thankful praise to God for his incredible love towards us, and this theme continues throughout the song. It is uplifting and engaging, pointing the worshiper towards the great Giver as we wait patiently on His presence to guide us.

Producer Kelly Carpenter has done a very nice job of keeping the music well suited to Andy's style, guitar playing and voice. The arrangements here are easily recognizable as Andy Park songs from the first bar. And the "extended versions" of the English and Spanish translations of "A Taste of Heaven" have a nice vamp into electronic/looped soundscapes that give Andy space to mix both English and Spanish in the ad lib sections. With a chorus echoing in the background perhaps this is a prophetic vision of all peoples, all languages worshiping God. Very worshipful.

As the next song, "Perfect Peace", began playing, my wife came upstairs to my office and asked about it. She said, "that song is for you." She was right.

Park has always used scripture foundations in his songs, such as this one that elegantly weaves Psalm 62:5, Isaiah 26:3 and Matthew 11:28-30, reminding us:

Perfect peace, he will give you perfect peace
As you think about his goodness and his kindness...
...Come and rest, come and let your soul find rest
For the burden that he gives you is light

The song is played with an acoustic guitar framed arrangement, keyboards, and programmed instrumentation. It's simple and lilting arrangement is perfectly suited for its message of peace by trusting in God. I found myself surrendering, singing along and reciting the lyrics as prayers throughout the day.

"Perfect Peace" is one of 3 different songs on this short EP, but the collection contains both "A Taste of Heaven" and "Perfect Peace" in Spanish versions as well, "Un Sabor De Los Cielos" and "Perfecta Paz" respectively. In fact, Park has wrote "Un Sabor De Los Cielos" in Spanish originally and translated it for the English version. It was beautiful to experience a worship EP that contained English and Spanish versions of the songs. In light of this, I asked Andy Park more about his music and ministry, and his work on this recent project.

View our brief interview with Andy Park.

Interview with Andy Park

Question 1 - What influenced you to write these songs in Spanish? Is there ministry or personal background to this EP?

Andy - I have been leading worship in Spanish since I was a teenager. I grew up in Southern California and traveled many times to Baja California to minister in churches and orphanages. I have traveled to around 8 different Latin countries to do ministry. The title track of this EP, Un Sabor de los Cielos, is the one song I have written in Spanish and then translated into English. It came to me while I was playing piano one day. I just started singing in Spanish. I needed some help from a friend to finish the lyrics. Because Spanish is the original language of the song, it flows better and is more poetic in that language.

Question 2 - You have been traveling overseas for many years. Most of us in North America aren't really aware of what worship is like beyond our own local churches. In Paul's letters in the New Testament to churches, we hear him talking about some churches being weak in some ways and strong in others. Related to worship, what kinds of needs do you see in countries outside of the US/Canada? What kinds of strengths do you see?

Andy - One difference is that in North America we have so much material prosperity. In many Latin countries, there is a lot of need. In some cases this causes people to worship more fervently. Because of a lack of material provision, they feel a stronger need for God. Greater need in life leads to greater hunger for God. The dynamics of worship vary from one church to another within every country I've been to. There are many different styles of worship.

Question 3 - Bringing the question back to North America- what are the things we most need to learn in worship in our US/Canadian churches?

Andy - I think we all just need to keep learning to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, mind and strength, and love our neighbour as ourselves. It's an ongoing process of growing in the Lord and continuing to pursue him.

For more info on Andy Park, his music and ministry, go to .

The final song on this EP is a Spanish version of the classic Vineyard worship song "Precious Child", entitled "Precioso Hijo". This powerful song is about God's love for us as His children. It is about how we should see ourselves as being chosen for his family- bound, not by our performance, but by God's faithfulness. This is a familiar theme for Andy Park, as many of his songs explore God's love and characteristics, our identity in Christ and our community identity as the church (global and local).

If you are a local church worship leader looking for some excellent worship songs on the topics mentioned in this review, I encourage you to consider listening to the samples online at Amazon (or if you have, you can preview the songs there). Especially if you are looking for Spanish worship songs, I encourage you to check out these 3 Spanish songs on this EP.

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:


Kim Gentes



The Fire - Samuel Lane (2013)

[Free Song Download "O My Soul" from Samuel Lane- see at the bottom of the review.]

With subtle motion and smooth tones begins the "The Fire". Like the starting crackle of a freshly lit hearth, this is how Samuel Lane begins to fuel the fire that is this new album from Vineyard Records UK. The intro song, "Take Me With You", doesn't rip a hole out of your speakers. Rather than pouring gasoline onto a bursting bonfire, it sparks, rumbles and gently ignites the rhythms, vocals and instruments that will build into a warm and engaging experience of songs and lyrics that call out passionately to God.

Rolling from that into "Fiery Love", Sam takes the intensity up ever so slightly, building the anticipation nicely from the intro song into this prayer language song, which calls out:

Lift me from my grave and hold me up
With hands that hold the stars, with fiery love
Holy Spirit come, and light me up
With hands that hold the stars, with fiery love

The song rises to a powerful thundering of passion before receding into track three, "O My Soul". Here, Lane ebbs this project back to a rumbling and humble surrender of worship, with dynamics and rhythms that perfectly fit the song lyrics. And this peeks engagingly into big refrains of "Oh my soul, praise, praise Him!" Wonderful!

And so it goes with this album-- ebb, flow, rise, refrain, response, recede and restart the progression. This is not a formula, it seems, for Samuel Lane. It feels more like a discourse of authentic prayers, each one drawing closer to the person of God and surrendering more deeply the person of the worshiper. I have to admit, I was struck by the intimate language and conversational approach that Lane takes on some of these songs. But it is not a nonchalant cavalierism that reduces worship to a "Jesus-is-my-boyfriend" song collection. This is serious, but intimate. God is great, yet He is near. He is the Father which calls and invites us, and Lane has given us real language and theological strength that hold the tension of humanity and its broken, suffering children seeking a holy and mighty God, who deigns to call Himself Father to each of us.

Musically, this project stays tethered to the acoustic foundation that would place Lane in his living room, strumming and picking his guitar. Several songs swell with electric and rhythmic sensibilities and instrumentation. Some songs drift completely into country, even blue-grass/roots sounds complete with banjo and steel string guitars and brushes on the snare drum. But rock is never completely shut out of these tracks. "You Are With Us", "Lead Me Home", and "Glorious" remind us that Vineyard music, both in the US and abroad, has its origins in the rock generation of the 60s, 70's and 80's, whose anthemic soaring progressions still beat in the musical heart of the modern church.

In a way, this album is the most deeply "Vineyard" project I have heard in a very long time. Certainly, it has nuances of the church movement's musical heritage (along with the modern touch of "Mumford & Sons" splattered occasionally). But more than that, this project harkens back to the days when Vineyard music was the vanguard of intimate prayer language in the global church's worship song repertoire. Lane unlocks something reminiscent of John Wimber in his sensibilities and clarity about how scripture can collide with music. And he revisits the eloquence of rhythm and voice that Scott Underwood brought to the mid-90's through his songs and recordings. But at the core of this album's "Vineyard-esque" traits is the lyrical canvas that Samuel Lane paints on- unafraid of our relationship with God the Father, Holy Spirit and Jesus the Son.

I enjoyed this album immensely. And each listen has only increased my appreciation for Lane and love of these songs. After 4 complete journeys through this album, I can tell you there is a lot here and many more hours to spend. Treasures were spent gathering this album together and there are treasures more to be found for anyone willing to listen completely through this entire journey of intimacy, honesty, prayer, surrender, rhythm and joy. One of the best thematically based albums I have experienced in the last 10 years.

For churches looking for great worship songs, I have two suggestions to start with from this album. First is "Father", the fourth track on this album. It is one of the most arresting lyrical prayers I have heard put to a sonic pallette. Truly engaging and easy to place in the deepest part of your intimate worship sets. Second, is the building and upbeat song "You Are With Us". This song is a rolling celebration of God's immanence and the joy of assurance that comes with being in the very presence of the very God. Really, this is a very good song and deserves a listen by almost every congregation doing modern worship styled songs.

Because of the strong songs, excellent thematic elements and seamless threading of all musical elements from top to bottom, this album gets my endorsement as the latest awarded "Editor's Choice". Don't hesitate to get this project, try it with your church band and use these songs!

For churches using, all of the songs, chord charts, lyrics and audio 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:


worshiping Him!

Review by Kim Gentes


Free Song Download "O My Soul" from Samuel Lane

O My Soul
by Samuel Lane

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

Many thanks to my friends at Integrity Music / Vineyard Music UK for allowing us to offer this free song download for a limited time.  KG..