** CLASSIC CHRISTIAN ALBUM ** Laura Story "Blessings" Album Review

Laura Story

Prime Cuts: Blessings, Prodigal Song, You Are Love

The word "blessing" has been thrown so frivolously that it sometimes is just a synonym for our greed for more garbed under the disguise of religious verbosity. Story tries to set it right not just with the title cut of her new record but with the entire disc. Taking the focus away from our selfish esurience for more health, wealth and prosperity, Story directs us to God and his goodness. These 10 tracks are worship tunes deeply entrenched in the character of God informed by the truth of Scripture and performed with heartfelt earnestness. Unlike her award winning predecessor "Great God Who Saves," Story wrote or co-wrote all the cuts here. With a portfolio of penning incisive worship staples (such as Chris Tomlin's No.1 smash "Indescribable"), Story again demonstrates her formidable mettle as a songwriter here again. When she's not writing alone, she has found co-writers in high places, including a co-write with fellow artist Brenton Brown and Third Days Mac Powell.

Some of the best songs are those written after the soul has been ripped by trials. And here the title cut "Blessings" is such an example. Written after her newly wedded hubby Martin was diagnosed with brain tumour, Story still finds strength to praise God. With heart wrenching lines such as 'Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops/What if Your healing comes through tears/What if a thousand sleepless nights/Are what it takes to know You're near/What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise" it's hard not to be moved. This gorgeous piano ballad is worship at its most pristine. Though not as soul ravishing "You Are Love" is a melodious mid-tempo exaltation of God as love that is simple yet so penetrating. While the popish formulaic "This is the Day" (not that 70s praise song but a newly composed tune) finds Story in more familiar terrain of standard praise and worship terrain calling to mind Darlene Zschech and the Hillsong team.

A couple of songs break away from the more cliché praise and worship fanfare. Calling to mind Bonhoffier's quote that "Christ calls us to die," "One Life to Lose" sets such a truth to music that is refreshing and so needed to be heard these days, especially in our narcissistic culture. While the piano ballad "Prodigal Song" is the re-telling of the parable of the prodigal son in modern day context. "Faithful God" is to be praised for Story's vulnerable and heartfelt delivery though the song has pretty predictable chords and melodic progression. "Remember," on the other hand, is a slow Communion hymn with its beauty enhanced by a bevy of strings.

Just like Natalie Grant's "Held" or Darlene Zschech's "Pray," Story's title cut "Blessings" is one of those songs that is spiritually revolutionary. The song is worth the price of the entire disc. Though the rest of the songs don't have the same intensity, this is still a good worship album. This is an album that takes our eyes away from ourselves and keeps our hearts on God and His goodness. This CD is indeed a "blessing."


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