Glory: An Evening of Worship with Klaus

Sounds like … modern worship as done by Hillsong, Gateway Worship, and Passion, as well as specific worship leaders like Lindell Cooley, Jason Upton, Eoghan Heaslip, and Matt RedmanAt a glance … the first nationally distributed album from Klaus goes through all the usual motions of a live worship project without offering a compelling reason to recommend it ahead of similar albumsTrack Listing The Lord Reigns I Give You Glory You Are the Joy (spontaneous worship) No One Is Like You Stay Amazed Running I'm Listening (spontaneous worship) Abba Father Breath of Your Spirit Glory When I'm with You When I Speak Your Name

It seems rather strange to refer to someone by a first name before developing widespread recognition, so here's a brief history of Klaus. As you might guess, Klaus Kuehn was born in Germany, but he actually spent most of his childhood in the American Midwest and Canada. Studying jazz and classical in his youth, he pursued his passion for ministry by attending Christ for the Nations Institute in Dallas, where he regularly led worship. Today he serves as a full-time worship leader through his own Pure Worship Ministries, releasing a couple of independent projects of his own. But now he's partnered with Integrity Music for the national release of Glory: An Evening of Worship with Klaus, a sort of homecoming project recorded live at CFNI.

Because Klaus cites Keith Green and worship leader Lindell Cooley as influences, it's not surprising that he has a similar piano-driven worship style, though the elements are still very modern, employing plenty of guitar and electronic effects. He also has a spontaneous side in his leading, at times recalling the worship styles of Jason Upton or Rita Springer. And with fellow worship leader Elizabeth Clark contributing her vocals throughout the recording, one can't help but recall Kathryn Scott singing with Paul Baloche or Brian Doerksen.

The comparisons don't end there. Both "When I Speak Your Name" and "The Lord Reigns" were recently featured on the Gateway Worship release Wake Up the World, and the latter song is very derivative of Coldplay's Brit rock style. Though Klaus wrote or co-wrote every song on Glory except for Andrés Spyker's "I Give You Glory," it all resembles Hillsong and occasionally Passion with its upbeat modern worship and epic balladry, particularly the nine-minute prayer-ballad "Stay Amazed" and its similar-sounding follow-ups "Running," "I'm Listening," and "Abba Father."

Therein lies the primary criticism of the album: it sounds like hundreds of other live worship recordings released in the last ten to fifteen years. That will certainly still appeal to anyone looking for songs to add to the church repertoire that are both new and familiar. But those looking for something as weighty or distinctive as, say, Matt Redman, Chris Tomlin, or Darlene Zschech won't find it here. Glory is by no means a bad recording; it simply doesn't offer a compelling reason to consider it ahead of similar worship albums.

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