Prime Cuts: You Go Before, I Love Your Company, Lead Me to Your Love
In this milieu of plagiarised beats and sunkissed electronica where melodies are mostly borrowed over recycled rock-based templates, Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) has unfortunately suffered from anonymity. Few are singer-songwriters who can craft melodies that are not only original, but also ones which can prevail through the passage of time. Cheri Keaggy is an exception. Instead of regurgitating the same riffs and hooks that you hear on Christian radio, she takes time to construct melodies with an old fashioned tenacity yet contemporary enough to rival the music that is on radio now. Utilizing the piano as her palette for her style of 90s pop, these 11 tracks trump on Keaggy's mettle as a songwriter. With her deft pen, she weaves out not only memorable lines, but she covers topics cardinal to our faith often neglected by modern songwriters. Topics such as Christ being our Sabbath, parent/child relationships, and even the horror of the current ISIS' crisis.
Keaggy is one of CCM's most treasured icon. Relative to CCM's pioneer guitarist Phil Keaggy, Cheri has been one of CCM's major female voices as she has graced Christian music radio with hits such as "Not with Jesus," "Sweet Peace of God," "In Remembrance of God," "My Faith will Stay," and many others. Along the way, she has also received three Dove Award nominations and one win. Of late, she has been utilizing Kickstarter in raising her own funds via her legions of fans to finance her own albums. One of which is 2012's "So I Can Tell." After setting her bar so high with "So I Can Tell," one gets a little anxious in approaching her brand new album "No Longer My Own." Safe to say, "No Longer My Own" not only passes muster, but it's on the whole an even better album relative to "So I Can Tell."
If "So I Can Tell" is her album of healing and restoration album after her divorce, "No Longer My Own" is an album of surrender to Jesus. Most exemplar of this theme is "You Go Before." It is a gorgeous piano-led ballad that speaks of God's sovereignty over the events of our lives. Quipped with so many memorable lines, this song is a treasury for those of us who need to bolster our faith in the light of God's greatness. For fans who love a well-crafted piano-based crescendo-building ballad, look no farther than the stellar "Lead Me to Your Love." Inspired by the recent beheadings on the news, the anthemic sounding "Overcome" gives assurance that even though evil may seem to triumph, Jesus via the Cross has in fact the victor.
The theme of surrender takes a practical turn with the pop-ish "Be My Sabbath." One of the very few songs that deal with issue of taking a Sabbath out of our busy week to worship and rest, "Be My Sabbath" is a quintessential track. Perhaps no song brings out Keaggy's creative side as a songwriter better than the lilting "I Love Your Company." Told from the vantage point of God the Father, "Company" reveals with perspicuity God's desire to spend intimate time with us. With such an infectious melody undergirding a paean of thanksgiving to God, "Lucky to be Breathing Your Air" is a treat to the ears. However, those who are religiously rigid may find fault with the word "lucky," considering the pagan connotations often associated with its usage. Perhaps a better substitute for the word "lucky" may be "happy" or "blessed."
Nevertheless, Keaggy does it again. If you love her previous disc "So I Can Tell," you'll love this new effort even more. Filled with great melodies over ruminative lyrics, surrender to God has never been so sweet, memorable and easy.
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