- Monday, January 01, 2001
One of the must-hear worship leaders to have on your list is Dennis Jernigan, a man best known for the songs "You Are My All in All" and "Great Is the Lord Almighty." He's a gifted music minister and songwriter whose style I'd describe as inspirational pop with touches of Andrew Lloyd Webber-style rock/pop.
I Surrender represents Dennis's first album of all new recordings in nearly three years. It's neither a live album nor a studio project, as the tracks were recorded in a studio with the vocals and audience response added later. It is nevertheless a clean and clear recording with almost all the energy of a live worship album. (Most of you wouldn't have known if I didn't say anything, but I can hear the hiss of the live recording disappear as Dennis' spoken word introductions slip into the studio-recorded music.) I particularly enjoyed "You Are the Way," which features an infectious chorus and an excellent groove similar to that of "Great Is the Lord Almighty." Another favorite is "Falling Rain," a beautiful pop song I could easily hear a church congregation or choir sing. And "Passionate Obsession" is simply gorgeous, with a beautiful orchestration that reminded me of "The Music of the Night" from Phantom of the Opera. It's a romantic and inspirational piece of music.
Dennis has a gift for speaking the heart of his songs. I find a lot of spoken word on recordings to be distracting and sometimes annoying, but Dennis is interesting and inspiring on this project (though I wonder how such mini-sermons stand up over repeated listens). Dennis has a great voice, but I think it's sometimes too well trained for his music. He's absolutely fine on most of his pop songs, but his more aggressive and rocking pieces need a more aggressive singer to lead them. Aside from that and the rough mixing between studio and live tracks, I Surrender is a recording filled with well-written inspirational pop on par with Dennis' past work.
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