Reformed Praise has released their latest album, Merciful to Me, co-produced by David Ward and Steve Cook. My daughter, Sarah, who has led choirs and ensembles and who is part of the worship team at Grace, reviews the album as my guest-blogger today. The digital download is $10.00 and the CD is $13.00.
A few weeks ago, I’d never heard of Reformed Praise–but as a girl who loves to listen to and sing new music, I was excited to discover their album, Merciful to Me. This recent release is a grouping of old and new hymns set in a wide range of contrasting styles ranging from soft rock and bluegrass to classic jazz and a more contemporary praise and worship sound. While a project so eclectic runs the risk of seeming a bit disjointed, the lyrical theme of the mercy of God brings a overarching unity.
Merciful to Me includes new lyrics and tunes along with the texts of several older hymns – such as Majestic Sweetness and Jesus Lover of my Soul–set in fresh arrangements. This variety of styles allows for a wide range of instrumentation with saxophones, whistles, mandolin and djembe thrown into the mix with guitars and piano. The result is an album with a wide appeal and a fresh, interesting sound throughout.
Better than the music itself though, is the lyrical strength of the songs. My favorite tracks include O Jesus, a pop arrangement of There is a Name I Love to Hear, and So I Will Come–a ballad featuring the vocal talent of Shannon Harris. These, along with the rest of the album, emphasize the work of Christ on the cross, and point the listener to the mercy found through Him.
So I will come and view the cross
Where mercy answered righteousness
The spotless lamb of God was slain
For this unworthy, helpless sinner’s gain
– So I will come
Not every track of Merciful to Me is easily adaptable for a corporate worship setting but several, including the title track, clearly lend themselves to congregational singing. All, however, are wonderfully suitable for use in private worship or, if you are anything like me, simply singing around the house.
Reformed Praise has put out an excellent album, one that is well worth the listening.
Sarah Ascol has recently returned to the USA from living overseas. She is a teacher, tutor and homeschooling consultant.