- reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2004 2 Feb
- Rise Up
- In Christ Alone/Nothing but the Blood
- I Want the Joy
- Come All Ye Who Are Weary
- Deep Calls to Deep
- My Hero
- Lily of the Valley
- You Give Me Life
- This Was Good
- You Still Have My Heart
There's little doubt that Rita Springer is one of the most gifted worship leaders to arise over the last ten years. Her awesome vocals are beautifully dynamic, ranging from a tender whisper to a powerful cry. Lyrically, Springer is capable of poetic imagery and personal expressions that glorify God while cutting to the heart of the worshipper. The passionate worship leader also has a unique gift for improvising songs on stage at the piano. These talents add up an intriguing blend of artistry and worship not heard often enough.
In 2000, Springer realized a longtime dream by starting the Fragrant Oil women's conferences with a team of speakers and worship leaders.
Both albums begin with the soulful title track, made edgy with the dramatic band stops and funky riffs; it's a good song that's a little overlong, taking too much time to develop. "I Want the Joy" is a rocker from
"My Hero" is the only new Springer composition, a simplistic and repetitive ballad that here bleeds into Vineyard worship leader David Ruis' "Lily of the Valley." Then Springer dives into the evocative and powerful "This Was Good," which displays her writing at its best. Stripped to just piano and vocals for this arrangement, she follows the powerful song with Shane Barnard's simple ballad "You Give Me Life" and closes the single disc with the gentle and stirring praise of "You Still Have My Heart."
While the single disc is over an hour long, the double disc set runs close to two. Whether or not those extras are worth it depends on your personal tastes and experiences. The primary difference is that the two-disc set includes a few extremely charismatic, emotionally rendered prayers and spoken teaching from the conference—it may appeal to those who have attended Fragrant Oil, but the casual worship listener will likely be disinterested or even uncomfortable with it. There's "'North & South' Cry," another spontaneous song that runs more than 10 minutes that's made more interesting with its strong "Better Is One Day" percussion.
The double disc version offers six more songs that are generally more of the same-live tracks from
All in all, you miss out on some good stuff if you go with the single disc, but you almost get too much with the double. Either way, both are extremely homogenous, and it doesn't help that they include some of Springer's more repetitive and monotonous songs. The focus here is not on her songwriting or production, but on her passionate and intimate style of worship. As such,