An Evening of Vineyard Worship 2
- reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2001 1 Jan
There's something to be said about expectations and preconceptions getting in the way of listening to music, and with so many mediocre or routine worship projects piling through the pipeline, my expectations were low for the newest An Evening of Vineyard Worship project. I'm not acquainted with the first Evening of Vineyard Worship album, nor do I fully understand the need for another Vineyard series, which was supposedly created to "document the diverse worship styles impacting the body of Christ." Isn't that what the Winds of Worship series was doing? Additionally, I wondered how "diverse" a handful of worship leaders in Columbus, Ohio could sound. Of course, such expectations just made listening to this recording all the more refreshing!
I would describe An Evening of Vineyard Worship 2 as eclectic, featuring a variety of guitar-driven pop/rock styles. The varied performances hold your attention through the album. Both "My King and My God" and "You Just Do" have a pleasant pop sound with a roots rock sound and a shuffle feel that reminded me of Steven Curtis Chapman's work. "You Are the Source" is your usual contemporary pop worship … that is until it gets to a drum breakdown near the end of the song, followed by a complete shift in feel for a jazzy ending! Then there's "Shadow of Your Wings," an acoustic pop/rock song that could easily be a Sixpence None the Richer tune, and "I Will Worship You Alone," a song with a funk rock feel. Of course, there's a healthy share of worshipful ballads too, but even they are a little atypical—"How Wonderful You Are," for example, has a strong '80s sound thanks to its keyboards.
All of these songs wouldn't be nearly as interesting were it not for the impressive band and their superior musicianship. Drum fills, guitar riffs, piano chops, and bass solos abound throughout the album, and though they're not quite the improvisational giants that Tommy Walker's band members are, there's clearly a stronger sense of musical excellence here than on most other worship projects. But most important is the worship itself, led here by Dave Absalom, Dave Chumchal, Stacy Herzog, and Christina Lutz. They have gifted voices and have a fine collection of original worship songs, which are all very singable and rarely repetitive or clichéd (and when they do approach cliché, you don't mind because the melody is so well-written or the band is so good). And finally, it's important to note that despite the talented musicians on this album, none of these songs are overproduced or performed to the point where your average worship band couldn't incorporate these into their own worship services. As I said with the recent Never Looking Back project, I think this is the ultimate blessing in a worship album, because it's more than just good music—it's a resource for your worship ministry at church.
It's worshipful, it's melodic, it's thoughtfully written, and it's extremely well performed. Surprisingly enough for me, An Evening of Vineyard Worship 2 is as successful a praise and worship album as I've heard this year!