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LIVE TO WORSHIP (2000)
Live to Worship - Click to view!Since the new millennium's dawn, an ocean called the Worship Marketplace has kept afloat some adventurous vessels on uncharted courses--and far too many boats on popular, conventional routes. Lincoln Brewster's music belongs in the latter class, launching out with only the perilous intention to Live to Worship. An onset of distortion, bass riffs (via the masterful Chris Donohue), and haunting chords give the project momentum from square one, celebrating God in "You Alone." Though the very title brings thoughts of "old hat" to many listeners, classic chorus "Lord, I Lift Your Name on High" reaches maximum praise potential with a palatable, band-based mix, sounding more current than ever. Being dragged from the borders of worshipful commitment and into the heavenly epicenter is the hazardous subject of "Take Me Higher," a breakout single with bolstered rhythm and a rigorous message. A stylistic whirlpool of pop, worship, and rock, the vocal blend of Lincoln with Dan Haseltine (Jars of Clay) flows in a meek melody titled "The Power of Your Love," the first of two Hillsongs Australia choruses that strips away all self-importance. Superb strings and underscoring Hammond B-3 (from Charlie Lowell, also of the Jars) serve as the music to a complete adaptation of "Psalm 91." Blustery winds kick up the surf in "Superstar" and "Caught in the Moment," two pressing, gigantic tidal waves that balance celebration and consecration with insights like, "You're slow to wrath and swift to bless my soul." Without announcement, the Live to Worship ship cruises into shoreless, undisturbed waters through an entry canal called "Shout to the Lord." Though little changes in the sound volume or mix, the Australian anthem ushers in a thick Presence that limits visibility and is more vital to life than oxygen. "Secret Place" and "I Cry for You" linger in this holy cloud, two Brewster-penned melodies that speak of heartstrings, hidden love, and cries for entire salvation (especially intimate during the latter's simple ending: "Lord, I love You ~ Lord, I need You"). Resembling a time-honored banner carried on many a voyage, the John Newton hymn "Amazing Grace" is bedazzling, bountiful--beloved, as the solo work of guitarist Brewster. With bearing that proves neither inflexible nor a free-for-all, "Captain" Lincoln arrives at his destination, discovering there's joy in the journey when you Live to Worship.
- Josh M. Shepherd

LINCOLN BREWSTER (1999)
Lincoln Brewster - Click to view!Once there was a guitarist whose bracing musicianship landed him a contract with a recognized mainstream label and touring deals with major secular artists. But God had other plans for Lincoln Brewster, and he laid down those opportunities to serve as youth worship leader at a newly-planted church. Soon after, he was signed as the third addition to the Vertical Music roster. It's from this heart of swerveless submission that Brewster's self-titled CD, a turbulent and very earnest project, originates. "We all like to pray for faith when we've misplaced it," asserts "He's All I Need," a brisk opener of rash faith featuring amazing guitar solos and drive. "Everybody Praise the Lord" rides on a gang vocal chorus as it thanks the Lord for bringing love, joy, and freedom to life. Dominant pop melody "Hey God" ascends on a celebration of Jesus caring about us, drawing a new life, and erasing shame. Very Smitty-esque "What Kind of Love" cloaks amazement at Christ's sacrifice in a series of questions, while the musically carefree "Can't Deny" voices the pertinent, rudimentary decree of the gospel. To gloat on the resurrecting, injecting power of God, is to slay all restriction to glad, longing worship--is to "Spin" around, 'jump up, get down' with Brewster's best-known rock single. Somber and melancholy, "Shine" offsets the previous track by examining the dichotomy of having a body, yet being a luminous spiritual being. Track eight discloses ecstasy at being "On My Way" to eternity; "Broken" disposes to be "usable to God" rather than resistant and egotistical. The concluding song "Walk On" melts with conviction at the Lord's presence even when "hurled into an angry sea." Consolidating elements of acoustic and electric, Lincoln Brewster is an unartificial succession, touring the fields of praise and the rivers of freeing supplication.
- Josh M. Shepherd
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