By BRUCE DENNILL
Matt Redman: Glory Song
It’s difficult to imagine an individual who is less Hollywood than Matt Redman. The humble but massively influential English worship leader and singer-songwriter’s album Glory Song, however, was recorded in Tinseltown’s Capitol Studios and the artwork recalls the opening sequences of a thousand movies set in and around Los Angeles. Other than the regular inclusion of Southern gospel backing vocals and arrangements, though, Redman doesn’t make any particularly noticeable nod to the American context for the album’s genesis, and sticks broadly to the formula established in the latter-half of his long recording career: a live sound, incorporating both traditional and contemporary arrangements and instruments as well as input from a range of collaborators. As a measure of Redman’s reach and relationships in the industry, it’s interesting to note that his guest on anthemic opener All Glory, Kierra Sheard, is a third-generation American gospel singer, while the rapper who sings on the next song, Gospel Song, is a young Englishman (who competes for space in that song with some fantastic Hammond organ work – a more traditional touch in Christian music than rap).
Greatest Hallelujah has a structure that should be quickly and easily grasped by singing congregations around the world, before Gracefully Broken makes a claim as Redman’s next obviously great song, combining a persuasive hook with arms-aloft dynamics and disarmingly profound lyrics. In terms of energy, One Day (When We All Get To Heaven) is at the other end of the scale, updating the classic, simple hymn When We All Get To Heaven with new verses and an additional melody part. It’s impossible to get out of your head after a single listen, and it’s likely to immediately appeal to every generation that hears it, courtesy of the inclusion of its traditional and original elements.
Redemption Ground is a stirring ballad, with It Is Finished a relatively traditional praise song that ends in a wonderful choral crescendo. In Questions (You Are Faithful), Redman tackles, as he did in the enduring Blessed Be Your Name, the quandary Christians face when God seems absent in difficult times. This song doesn’t quite have its predecessor’s pop appeal, but it is possible to instantly embrace it as a rallying cry, and the gospel choir backing makes it soar sonically.
Still I Will Sing is uptempo and provides anyone, er, singing it with a succession of motivational phrases. Place Of Praise is another Redman specialty – a composition that provides a significant challenge to listeners, asking them to depart their comfort zones with its refain “I will not bring that which costs me nothing” and acknowledging that it’s not always easy for believers with the line, “I’ll find my way back to the place of praise again.” Hope Is Marching On is the flip-side of that perspective, with Redman finding comfort in God’s help amid more fabulous gospel harmonies.
Simple Pursuit/Glory Song is a focus on the core values of a relationship with God, and closer Your Ways closes the collection in gratitude: “I am held and I am loved”. Glory Song is not a treasury of likely radio hits, but it’s another substantial chapter from an artist committed to helping others to worship the God he serves.
- All Glory 7.50
- Gospel Song 7.00
- Greatest Hallelujah 7.00
- Gracefully Broken 8.00
- One Day (When We All Get To Heaven) 8.25
- Redemption Ground 7.25
- It Is Finished 7.00
- Questions (You Are Faithful) 8.00
- Still I Will Sing 7.00
- Place Of Praise 8.25
- Hope Is Marching On 7.50
- Simple Pursuit / Glory Song 7.00
- Your Ways 7.00