Surrounded By Mercy
- reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2003 1 Aug
Veteran recording artist Kim Hill's career has been somewhat sporadic over the last ten years. In the mid-'90s, she crossed over to the country scene with
Among the better original tracks is "Your Mercy," co-written with acclaimed worship leader Rita Springer. The beautifully written ballad offers genuine humility toward God's unfathomable grace, with Hill even trying her hand at the worshipful ad-libbing Springer is known for. "Be Lifted Up" was written with Scott Krippayne; you can hear his pop influence with a melody that's easy enough to learn: "My spirit cries out to You/Desperate to find a new way to praise You for all that You are." Honest words from a worship songwriter. Then there's "Fill Me Now," a piano ballad stunning in its intimacy-reminiscent of and as effective as "Spirit of the Living God."
It's been said that Hill is better at song interpretations than at songwriting, and that seems to apply to most of the cover tunes on
There's also a predictable but suitable cover of Chris Tomlin's soaring "Famous One" and Todd Proctor's divinely romantic song of praise, "Love You More." Hill presents a simple acoustic pop rendition of John Barnett's well-known "Holy and Anointed One," a song so simple, it's pretty hard to do it wrong; to her credit, Hill offers some moving, soulful ad-libs. Less effective is her arrangement of the hymn "My Jesus I Love Thee," which alternates verses with the increasingly popular "You Are So Good to Me." It's wonderful so many are being blessed by that latter song (including its authors, Waterdeep and 100 Portraits), but Hill doesn't offer anything you haven't heard already from Amy Grant or Third Day in concert. In fact, the two songs don't really mesh together, with the two verses of the hymn to Christ interrupting the flow of the other song's praise to the Trinity, leaving out the verse for the Holy Spirit in the process.
What specifically distinguishes Kim Hill as a worship leader? Her approach and outlook to worship is refreshing and genuine, but that's not an exclusive trait, as evidenced by Rita Springer, Darlene Zschech, and Kathryn Scott. Truth be told, though, there's no reason to be any more critical of this album than Michael W. Smith's wildly popular