Artist:  Various
Title:  CompassionArt:  Creating Freedom from Poverty
Label:  Sparrow

Important, inspiring compilation worship project …

Martin Smith (Delirious) had a dream: to gather some of the best Christian songwriters in the world for a one week songwriting marathon that would result in a new album entitled CompassionArt. The goal? To get everyone to give away all ideas and efforts from this single week for the sake of global charitable causes. The result? A dream realized with CompassionArt: Creating Freedom from Poverty.

Most of the material present on CompassionArt feels most at home in church worship gatherings. Radio single “King of Wonders” features a string arrangement and worship leaders Matt Redman, Tim Hughes and Joel Houston (Hillsong) leading this simple, instantly familiar chorus. Chris Tomlin, Steven Curtis Chapman and Paul Baloche slow things down with the tender guitar work on “You Have Shown Us,” featuring the familiar words of Micah to “do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God.”

The strongest Sunday morning song is “So Great” (debuted at 2008’s Dove Awards), which rides a strong worshipful build that only increases when bolstered by the Lakewood Choir. It’s a powerful anthem for the church expressing the greatness of God and featuring the beautiful vocals of Christy Nockels alongside Michael W. Smith and Israel Houghton.

Diversity is found here and there with the foot-stompin’, bluesy, front porch tune of “Fill My Cup.” Martin Smith of Delirious and CeCe Winans complete the out-of-left-field collaboration, but the track works quite well. TobyMac and Kirk Franklin join forces near record’s end with “Let It Glow,” but it comes a bit too late in the sequencing and relies on lyrical turns that come off silly and out of place.

The story behind CompassionArt is more beautiful than the material found on the album, but that’s not a bad thing. The entire package is a solid-to-stunning collection of talent, heart and mission.



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**This review first published on January 16, 2009.