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Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews

Amazing Freedom

  • reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2007 1 May
  • COMMENTS
Amazing Freedom
Sounds like … Christian pop artists like Point of Grace, Cindy Morgan, CeCe Winans, and Nichole Nordeman if they led worship using the music of Chris Tomlin, Wayne Watson, and others.At a glance … Amazing Freedom is well performed, no question, but the abundance of overly covered material makes it seem unnecessary in light of other worship albums.Track Listing Forever
Almighty (with Holy, Holy, Holy)
For Who You Are
My Prayers
Holy Is the Lord
All Glory
Amazing (with Amazing Grace)
You Are
How Great Is Our God
For All You've Done

Founded by Stephen Arterburn in 1996, the Women of Faith conferences are hugely popular, drawing 3.7 million participants in the last decade. Albums tied to these events are nothing new, but Amazing Freedom does mark the first of many resources developed through a new partnership with Myrrh/Word Records.

This studio recording features production by vocal arranger Chance Scoggins, whose handiwork you might recognize from his work with Avalon and Point of Grace. Indeed, Amazing Freedom resembles a praise album by those artists, only sung by a team of relatively unknown worship leaders and indie artists—Nia Allen, Allison Abbott, Corrie Farina, Missi Hale—with excellent voices, especially when joined together in tight harmony.

The album does resurrect a couple of oldies but goodies. Clint Lagerberg's almost liturgical sounding "For All You've Done" is rendered beautifully here, and Wayne Watson's signature hit "Almighty" sounds revitalized for the twenty-first century. And for once, the radio single also represents the strongest track—"For Who You Are" is exciting and guitar-driven with a Brit rock feel, yet still very congregational friendly.

In contrast, "All Glory" has a routine inspo-worship sound, and "My Prayers" seems out of place here as more of a performance piece. "Amazing" represents yet another attempt at contemporizing "Amazing Grace," an idea beyond overdone. And since Chris Tomlin is so popular, what better way to add familiarity than not just one cover, but three? Sure, they're well performed as you'd expect with a production budget, but including songs covered as much as these seems unnecessary. Is Tomlin all there is to make a good worship album, or is he included to make this a popular worship album?

Hence the one thing lacking: a strong musical identity to make this a worthwhile alternative to a Tomlin album or WoW Worship. It's well done, no question, but I wish there was more to Amazing Freedom than a conference tie-in or a collection of songs set to female-friendly keys for sing-along. Enjoyable, but not essential.

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