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Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews

Fill Me Now

  • reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2005 1 Aug
Fill Me Now
Sounds like … generally softer acoustic songs of worship, typical of the Vineyard sound with similarities to Enter the Worship Circle and the recent Spring Hill Worship albums.At a glance … Vineyard's history of excellence in worship music isn't helped with this rather forgettable collection of original songs.Track ListingC'mon EverybodyFear of the LordFraction AnthemFill Me NowLord You Never PromisedWhat a Friend We Have in JesusThe Only OneYour MercyFall on Your MercyLove of GodRaise the White Flag

As a worship leader, it has recently become difficult to find compelling new songs with broad appeal for my congregation. There seems to be a creative drought, which might be partly due to decreased output from Vineyard Music Group, a label whose name was once synonymous with "excellence" in worship music. Using the motto "Fresh … New" to promote their more recent CD resources, Vineyard can still thankfully be counted on for original songs, as opposed to routine covers.

However, if the mediocre selections represented on Fill Me Now represent the best, it doesn't bode well for Vineyard. "C'mon Everybody" is certainly functional as a celebratory worship opener, but it's a tad pedestrian in expression and monotonous in melody. Scott Underwood's "Lord You Never Promised" pleasantly recalls James Taylor, but it's not something most churches will embrace. Nor is Billy Sommerville's intriguing "Raise the White Flag," despite its atypically busy drum pattern and artsy production. And the most interesting thing about the tedious "Fraction Anthem" is its title, though it's never explained amidst the repetitions of "Jesus Christ, we praise You."

Marie Barnett's "Fall on Your Mercy" is the best on the album—nearly as dramatic and passionate as her signature worship song "Breathe," though it's hardly fresh and new considering it comes from her 2001 indie album. There's a fair acoustic folk rendition of "What a Friend We Have in Jesus" that crisply bustles along like a steam train, and the title track is a simple hymn pleasantly orchestrated by Keith Getty ("In Christ Alone") and sung by Kelly Carpenter ("Draw Me Close"). It's good that Vineyard is still operating to build up the church, but this is not one of their better offerings. Fill Me Now simply doesn't satisfy that hunger for first-rate worship music.

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