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Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews

Worship Through the Valley

  • reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2004 1 Jan
Worship Through the Valley
Sounds like … soft acoustic worship in the same style as Shane Barnard & Shane Everett, Andrew Peterson, Sara Groves, and Caedmon's CallAt a glance … this strong debut effortlessly draws the listener into a quiet time of worship with the LordTrack ListingLord, ComeWho Am I?EternityEvery TribeYou SaidMore of You, LordMy Dreams Are of YouReflectionSandHoly Is the LordThe Old Rugged Cross

We'd dedicate more space to talk about Matt McGee's worship debut, except we've already done so as a featured emerging independent artist last year. Now he's signed a partnership with Crowne Music Group to distribute it on the national level, and hopefully that's more incentive to check out this guy's rich acoustic-pop worship style, similar to Shane Barnard & Shane Everett, Andrew Peterson, and Caedmon's Call.

Originally intended as a collection of worship songs for college students to use in their quiet time, McGee accomplished that much and more with Worship Through the Valley. I've consistently had listeners from within and outside my company come back to express how much they enjoyed this album, which was produced by multi-instrumentalist Greg Worzel (Integrity's Shout It Loud) and features the talents of Nate and Lori Sabin, both very involved with Sara Groves' music. There's a nice balance between worship classics ("The Old Rugged Cross," "You Said"), ambience (the instrumental "Every Tribe"), and reflective originals here. "Sand" succinctly contemplates God's loving sovereignty, while the call to worship "Lord, Come" clearly makes an effort to avoid overused rhetoric with multiple verses and meaningful petitions.

Sure, the production quality and inventive lyrics could be better, but this is a very good start for McGee. A lot of worship albums unfortunately require you to be in the mood; if your heart isn't prepared for it, it can quickly become stale and repetitive background noise. This one, however, connects with listeners effortlessly, drawing them into worship on its own merits, in spite of mood. That's no small feat, and the sign of an effective worship recording.