All I Owe
- reviewed by Christa Banister Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2006 1 Aug
- Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing
- His Love Can Never Fail
- Thy Blood Was Shed For Me
- How Helpless
- Jesus, I Am Resting
- All I Owe
- The Lord Will Provide
- None Among
- My Lord I Did Not Choose You
- Nothing But the Blood
While classic hymns have undergone countless makeovers in the past few years thanks to the Passion worship artists, Jars of Clay, Ashley Cleveland, Amy Grant and others, there has been considerable overlap in what tracks have been covered. Instead of opting for obscure songs, many have chosen more familiar material for their respective projects. Which is fine, as it's probably easier to get a modern audience to connect with the familiar, tried-and-true hymns. But with All I Owe, Matthew Smith proves that variety is the spice of life with a fresh take on songs that aren't often sung in Sunday morning services.
Though Smith didn't grow up singing hymns, he discovered them during his college years when he attended a weekly Bible study called RUF (Reformed University Fellowship). "There was something I had never experienced before at these Bible studies, and the hymns we sang somehow electrified me," Smith says. "God used them to wake me up to my sin and his grace."
As the music began to connect with those in the weekly study, several popular independent projects under the name Indelible Grace were born, a series that Smith regularly contributed to. And that experience inspired him to continue creating modern renditions of hymns that don't get as much attention. "We hit a nerve [with the Indelible Grace projects], Smith shares. "There was a hunger for the raw and real in an age of overly processed, manufactured spirituality—and these hymns impacted others in the way they had with us."
With All I Owe, he introduces hymns like the personally affirming "His Love Can Never Fail" and "How Helpless," a poignant reminder of what we lack as believers without Christ's intervention. And while the folk/rock soundtrack on Owe is bright and upbeat in the vein of Derek Webb or Josh Rouse, it never detracts from the message. Even with the album's renditions of more recognizable material including the contemplative "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" and the joyful praise of closer "Nothing But the Blood," Smith manages to put a new, highly enjoyable spin on such revered material, something that makes All I Owe a rewarding experience listen after listen.
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