Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Paul Baloche: Singing about The Same Love

Paul Baloche is one of those whose music I'd always loved but never knew him by name.
I only knew his songs whether sung by him or someone else, that is until about 8 years ago. Since then, Paul has been one of my "go to's" for worship. His songs are honest and easy to sing and "most times" easy for me to play. HA!!

Who doesn't remember "Open The Eyes of My Heart" or "Above All," written with Lenny LeBlanc or "Hosanna?" These are all great songs! I can't be sure of this, but I would venture to guess that Paul's songs, whether written by just him or with others, are probably the most songs heard, during a worship service in churches around the world or small groups, etc.

What I find amazing about Paul Baloche, is that he is not stingy with his songs "i-ther." : ) He is quick to share his tips and tricks in workshops, worship magazines, DVD's or his website. Allowing a sometime simple worship leader like me to play these songs like a pro.

The New Album

Paul's latest release,

"The Same Love,"

celebrates 20 years

of music and

ministry for Paul and

his 12th recording with

Integrity Music.

Pretty nice track record!

"The Same Love," is definitely a album of hope. When I think of my loved ones going through battles of various kinds, this album is a comfort.

Several songs have particularly touched me.

The first one; "Just Say," with The Brothers McClurg and written by Paul and Chris & Anthony Hoisington.

"Save me from myself and calm the raging seas
You will be my ark that floats me up above the storm."

"Hear my humble prayer help my unbelief"

These words couldn't be more true in my own life.
Especially when I feel that I've failed the Lord and all I want to do is say to Him. . .

"Just say
Just say the word
Just say the word
Iʼll be made whole."

I can feel that pleading and almost begging tone in the lyrics. Like the woman who suffered her malady for over 10 years and all she wanted to do was touch the hem of Jesus' garment. I can feel that!!!

I'm curious as to what the inspiration was for this song.
In my opinion, this is a a very tender song of love and acceptance.

I also have to say at the bridge, I love that little jazzy piano groove going on. Nice! Love that there is just the right amount of instruments in this and the finality of the piano chord. . . Yes, very nice.

"Your Blood Ran Down" at first listening, was my least favorite, with it's repeat of "Your blood ran down" about 8 times. But then, one day, I listened to it again and was in awe by those lyrics. . .to know that His "blood ran down for me" is very humbling.

This is a very, very beautiful and simple piece. I could see this in a soundtrack.
And maybe the reason I think this, is because Paul wrote this after seeing "The Passion of The Christ." In a video talking about this song, Paul referred to Romans where it says, God demonstrated His love for us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. He said he had to get this on an album.

I'm so glad he did. Thank you, Paul.

I love the lyrics of "My Hope. . ."

Nothing will change if all the plans I make go wrong
Your love stays the same
Your light will guide me through it all
I’m hanging on, I’m leaning in to You

Nothing can reach the end of all Your faithfulness
Your grace is with me
Through every shadow, every test
I’m hanging on, I’m leaning in to You

I don't know where You’ll take me
But I know You're always good

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Your great love, Your righteousness
I will not walk another way
I trust Your heart, I trust Your Name
I’m holding on, I’m holding on to You

You are my rock when storms are raging all around
You shelter me God
I’m safe with You on solid ground
I’m hanging on, I’m leaning in to You

Several of my family members are going through what these lyrics describe.
And this seems to be their mantra. . . "I’m hanging on to You!"

Powerful lyrics, and with Kathryn Scott's vocals, it really make this song complete.

Songwriter; Ed Kerr, talks about writing "My Hope," having Paul listen to it, tweak it and putting it on the album. And as you know, I love the background of a great song!! Paul also talks about "My Hope" here.

Look Upon The Lord is like Isaiah standing in the presence of the Lord. Kari Jobe's voice is so angelic, I can see the seraphim and cherabim near by! And I have to say, I would love to see my 17 year old daughter sing this with her worship team. What a gorgeous tune!

The full track with songwriters is as follows:

1. The Same Love (Baloche, Michael Rossback)
2. We Are Saved (Baloche, Ben Fielding, Jason Ingram)
3. King of Heaven (Baloche, Jason Ingram)PPau
4. All Because of the Cross (Baloche, Ben Gowell)
5. Your Blood Ran Down (Baloche)
6. My Hope (Baloche, Ed Kerr, Sheila Rabe, Alyssa Mellinger)
7. Oh Our Lord (Baloche, All Sons & Daughters - David Leonard and Leslie Jordan)
8. Christ the Lord (Baloche)
9. Reign in Me (Baloche, Jason Ingram)
10. Just Say (Baloche, Brothers McClurg - Chris and Anthony Hoisington)
11. Loved By You (Baloche, Lincoln Brewster)
12. Look Upon the Lord (Baloche, Kari Jobe, Jason Ingram)
13. Shout for Joy (Baloche, Jason Ingram, Lincoln Brewster)

Grammy award winning engineer; Chris Lord-Alge worked on this album. You might know his work on U2's Beautiful Day, Switchfoot's "The Beautiful Letdown" and "Nothing Is Sound" as well as others. But for me, I love the fact that he worked on Chaka Khan's 1986 release of "Destiny" which my friend Tony Patler, was co-writer, musical director and keyboardist.

Congratulations to Paul Baloche for celebrating 20 years with a solid worship album.
It's a beautiful piece of work.



Monday, March 12, 2012

Aaron Kusterer is fluent in the Language of Emotion

I love instrumentals!!!

I love that feeling when the music totally moves you from sways to getting deep inside the soul and unleashing emotions buried.

I've no doubt that guitar enthusiasts already know about this amazing guitarist.
And I've no doubt that people like me, who aren't musicians but just love music will know the name "Aaron Kusterer."

Aaron's latest release "Language Of Emotion" is definitely the guitar lover's LP!! Lots of influences here, i.e. Joe Satriani, the "Steves" . . .Lukather & Vai and one of my favorites; Lee Ritenour.

This album, Aaron's 2nd release is a very sophicated effort without being stuffy. This is not a show off, "see what I can do" album. Aaron is definitely fluent in his skills and he just wants to communicate what's on his mind. He's taking us on a journey and he wants you to sit back and take it all in.

Listening to his album over and over, I can't help but think of the scene in "The Benny Goodman Story," where Benny asks his girlfriend to marry him by playing his clarinet towards her while also doing a show. He asks her this way because he can't verbally do it. She understands this and accepts. In listening to track 4, "No Feeling Left," I could totally feel what Aaron was conveying. What a rush!! I've not only been there, but I have some family and friends who are in this moment. "No Feeling Left" seems to describe the problem . . . THAT RAGING BATTLE, but also, I feel, gives the solution. . . HOPE!

Here's the full track list:

1. Tongues of Angels

2. Elysian Dream

3. Throat Full of Nails

4. No Feeling Left

5. Colour of Love

6. Deeper than the Unknown

7. Azure (Acoustic Intro)

8. Azure

I love that Deep Purple "Smoke on the Water" like intro on "Throat Full of Nails" with the heavy Hammond B!! Very solid! Love it!!

"Deeper than the Unknown" has that jazz fusion feel to it with a flavor of George Harrison's sitar. Very nice. Makes me think of Jeff Lorber's early LP's.

MAN!!!!!! I AM IN SHOCK!!!! Azure (Acoustic Intro) takes me back to those early days of record label, Windman Hill with Alex DeGrassi and William Ackerman. I had to listen to this over and over!!! Almost made me cry like everytime I'd hear Alex's "Western." UNBELIEVABLE!!!

And THAT is what I think music should do to us. . . move us, get into those hardened walls of our hearts and tear them down, exposing it and bringing it back to life.

I also have to add that the intro reminds me of a friend who has left us. . . Roby Duke.
He'd like this!

Azure (Acoustic Intro) moves into what I imagine it would be like if Phil Keaggy & Richard Souther got together and recorded Azure.

"Language Of Emotion" is a solid album from a solid artist!!
I can't say enough about it. You just gotta listen.