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IT WAS YOU (2004)
It Was You - Click to view!"...Trust the heart of your Father when the answer goes beyond what you can see..."

What a comforting thought. When all your paths seem too narrow or too long, how wonderful is it to know the He has a plan for you, regardless of your knowledge of said plan? As is the case on many contemporary Christian recordings being released today, Jim Murphy's It Was You deals with issues of trust and comfort. A label mate to Wisdom's Cry at Mission House Music Group, Jim displays a passion for ministry on this debut project.

It's somewhat difficult to limit the description of the album's sound to only one or two genres. Though Jim tints many of his songs with a sort of country-pop color (not unlike Wisdom's Cry) his choices for songs run the gamut from upbeat country-rock to introspective ballads to more traditional hymns. In common is the recurrence of themes of both reverence for God and gratitude for all that He has done for us.

Though "All In This Together" starts it off in an up-tempo style, the following song might be the album's best. "Bow the Knee" is a slow, tender ballad that simply cuts to the heart of our lives. Imploring his listeners to trust in God's plan in the face of adversity, Jim displays a powerful voice and wonderful feel for this cut. The string and piano arrangements add some depth and the effect is strong on the listener. "Believe" and title track "It Was You" are more of the country-pop sound. At this point of the project, I am struck by the similarity to the music of Mark Schultz. The ability to successfully blend worship and praise, as well as country, pop and traditional, is uncommon, but both artists possess this skill. I might be a little biased, as "Lamb of God" is one of my favorite songs of all time, but this rendition runs a close second to "Bow the Knee" for top honors. The lonely opening, with solitary voice and minimalist piano accompaniment, brings home the personal nature of God's sacrifice. And the bolder finish to the track simply adds to the sense of longing one feels when they really think about the lyrics to this time-honored classic.

Although much of the disc falls in line with the majority of available offerings in the worship genre, Jim does take a chance or two with his sound. "Taken Back" is a prime example of this. At its core, this track is another acoustic-guitar driven song like so many others out there. But the simple addition of what sounds like a synthesizer riff gives it a little bit of variety. A better example is the last song, "The Prints of Peace." Stripped-down and soulful, this piano ballad brought tears to my eyes. The soft backing chorus lends a touch of reverence to the plaintive cries of longing. The song also includes a hint of the familiar with its bridge from the hymn "Nearer."

All in all, it's hard to find anything glaringly wrong with this CD. It represents an honest and heartfelt expression of worship. The songs fit well together, and the lyrics consistently point to God. Even the music is well-rounded, as opposed to the stark, underdeveloped sound that new artists sometimes mistakenly produce. While I like this project, and would recommend it for those looking for a worship album, the style may not fit with everyone. I'd suggest listening to the sample tracks available on the website before purchasing a copy.
- Scott Bush
July 2004
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