Before the Throne
- reviewed by Christa Banister Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2007 9 Sep
- Come and Sing
- Before the Throne
- My Maker and My King
- I'm Coming Back
- There is a Peace
- We Are Listening
- All I Have is Yours
- Lead Us Back
- In the Shadow of the Glorious Cross
- All Good Gifts
Nary a day goes by where I don't receive at least one new Independent artist submission in my mailbox, a testament to all those pursuing creative endeavors around the world and looking for media exposure. With so many discs arriving on a daily basis, it shouldn't surprise you to know that it's truly a mixed bag in terms of creativity, quality, and production values.
But every once in a while, I receive an album that pleasantly surprises me on all fronts. Not only is the packaging impeccably and cleverly designed on Sojourn's Before the Throne, but the worship band for Sojourn Community Church in Louisville, Kentucky also managed a far more impressive feat: They actually wrote worship music that I didn't feel like I'd already heard a million times before. Hard to imagine, I know.
Comprised of ten original songs—plus one cover of a hymn—Before the Throne sort of resembles the City on a Hill albums. Not only does it create a sense of community through multiple vocalists, but the songs center around similar themes, particularly the sharing of God's peace, love, and other blessings. The CD also has an organic feel with earthy instrumentation, giving their sound a relatable, homespun quality.
Before the musicianship grows too familiar, however, Sojourn proves capable of shaking things up. Much like Derek Webb vocally, Brooks Ritter sings about redemption with strength and conviction on the upbeat rock shuffle of "My Maker and My King." For "In the Shadow of the Glorious Cross," Ritter's lilting vocals blend seamlessly with those of fellow vocalist Rebecca Bales. Her voice perfectly complements the earnest sentiments of worship in "I'm Coming Back," an earnest and well-written reminder of how we've "wasted all I have on things that will not last."
The music is the draw, but the lyrics are what keep you coming back—as it should be. "There is a Peace," for example, has the same heart-wrenching confessional quality of a song like Rich Mullins' "Hold Me Jesus," as Ritter joins Rebecca Dennison to sing about being "weary and tired and worn out from this life." Such genuine and honest moments that combine thoughtful lyrics with varied instrumentation make Before the Throne a winner from start to finish. If you're like me and grow weary of worship projects that offer merely more of the same, this one's a true delight.
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Due to the number of projects we receive, we are unable to cover or correspond with every artist that contributes. But we do give all submissions a fair listen for coverage consideration.