- reviewed by Andy Argyrakis Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2002 1 Dec
Wayne Watson certainly has accomplished a lot in his career, which thus far has spanned more than 20 years, yielding four prestigious Dove Awards and 23 #1 hit singles. He's best known for his emotional songwriting style, joined by his smooth and slightly soulful voice. This sound places him in the peer group of artists such as Newsong, Bob Carlisle, and 4HIM. Gems such as "Watercolor Ponies," "For Such a Time as This," "When God's People Pray," and his triumphant duet with Sandi Patty "Another Time, Another Place" have had immeasurable impact on his faithful fan base and have become classics in the contemporary Christian music realm.
Since the release of 1993's
Even though it's hard to brush such sentiments aside when listening to
As the disc progresses, "Something's Gotta Humble You" stands out, but once again, for the wrong reasons. It's yet another example of Watson taking a time warp back ten years to when the track's funky beats and blue-eyed soul vocals would have fit right in with releases by Clay Crosse or Bryan Duncan from that era. The following "Long Way From the Manger" is a bit more interesting as Watson adds what sounds like a live piano and string section, even though the unnecessary water drops and squishy drum sequencing would have been best left off. A nearly identical backdrop exists for "Dreaming Again," and Watson's clichéd phrases of putting behind past baggage, moving forward with life, and following your dreams don't exactly help his cause.
Despite the lack of musical creativity and typical lyrical framework on the recording, Watson deserves credit on two occasions for his songwriting smarts. First up, he earns high marks for composing a touching love song to his wife ("The Promise") which follows the tradition of Steven Curtis Chapman's "I Will Be Here" or Michael W. Smith's "The Other Side of Me." Though the "sappy love song" factor exists in all three compositions, it's far more appealing and beautiful when directed towards a spouse; you can expect to hear Wayne's song at weddings and receptions in the years to come. The other standout tune worth mentioning is the disc's piano-tinged finale, "Steal Me Away," which Watson co-wrote with his son. Adam began with the chorus of the song on one of those days when the distractions of life were closing in on him, while Wayne filled in the verses chronicling how the presence of God is a safe haven from such daily dilemmas and dramas. He sings: "Steal me away, steal me away / From the devils and the dealers that cannot satisfy me / Steel me away, steal me away / And wrap me in your arms where nothing else can steal me away."
Those two appealing cuts simply aren't enough reason to recommend this collection to the general populace, though die-hard fans of Wayne Watson and the generic inspirational pop sound probably will at least want to check out this recording for themselves. Longtime fans will especially appreciate the bonus four-song acoustic disc included free as a purchase premium (featuring "Somewhere in the World," "Watercolor Ponies," "Home Free," and "A Beautiful Place"). Check out this disc if you fall into the category of those who must own anything and everything Watson releases; otherwise, you may want to bypass