Right with You
- reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2004 1 May
- Childhood Eyes
- Catch Me
- You Are My Journey
- You Never Stop
- Simply Divine
- My Little Faith
- Talk to Me
- Forgiveness Looks Good
- What Will You Say
There are some strong comparisons to be made between Joe Rogness and Sara Groves. Both are singer/songwriters from Minneapolis, both have worked with producer Nate Sabin, and both have left the security of their day job to pursue music ministry full time. A self-taught guitarist and accomplished pianist, Rogness was inspired by the acoustic pop of David Wilcox and began writing music in high school, entertaining the idea of one day pursing a music career. Though he did perform locally and served as a worship leader in Minneapolis, Rogness ended up pursuing work in the business world, developing a lucrative career in sales that would have given him a "very comfortable early retirement."
A personal retreat in the mountains of California forced him to reexamine his priorities. After wrestling with abandoning financial security and the ability to comfortably provide for his wife and three children, Rogness decided God was calling him to pursue a full-time career in music. In 2003, he independently released his debut,
Personal expectations play a large role in enjoying
But multiple listens prove especially rewarding with this album. Dig deeper and you'll discover that Rogness has an honest approach to lyrics that is refreshing—not quite as thoughtful or introspective as Groves or Nichole Nordeman, but it approaches the same neighborhood. Especially touching is the prayerful "Forgiveness Looks Good," inspired by another couple damaged by an extramarital affair. It candidly reminds us that forgiveness is not just a decision, but also a long process of healing and reconciliation. Another standout is "What Will You Say," a slow jazz song reminiscent of Sting at his mellowest that explores our motivations for obeying the Lord and doing good.
The quiet and contemplative "Simply Divine" marvels at how God can take the ugliness of Christ's suffering and death and make it into something holy: "Only you could take the shape of the cross and make it something beautiful." Rogness' role as father helped inspire "You Never Stop," which looks at our impatience with disdain and our heavenly Father's love with wonder. "You Are My Journey" similarly contrasts our fickle perspectives with God's faithfulness in our lifelong faith walk with him. The only song not written or co-written by Rogness is Nate Sabin's "Catch Me," a pretty inspirational ballad—with backing vocals by Groves—that declares our desperate need for God.
Though well recorded and produced,