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MATT REDMAN
[ the heart of worship ]

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THE HEART OF WORSHIP (1999)
The Heart of Worship - Click to view!While Redman rises to a new musical platitude of acoustic honesty and passionate spontaneity, the real focus of this CD isn't Redman, his music or even worship itself--it's all about God. This soul searching began at the youth congregation of Soul Survivor in Waterford, UK where Redman serves as worship leader. Since it's inception, music had been a major part of the service, and obvious good had come from it, especially the altar time where people could come and "do business with God." But in the autumn of 1996, they came to realize they had lost their focus by rating the music on how often a song was played and how good it was mixed. Music was banned from Soul Survivor as these thousands of youth learned the hard way that worship is a sacrifice of our whole being. The band was invited back, and it's out of this experience that The Heart of Worship was birthed. Both undying celebration and heartfelt adoration are expressed on this project, beginning with "Let Everything that Has Breath," whose African choir and "taking it wherever it goes" ending lend diverse interest to the album's opening. My two favorite cuts follow: "One Thing Remains," telling of a love originating from and directed to Christ; and "What I Have Vowed," committing to a life of bowing, running, holding on and walking in truth with a refrain of "Jesus, You ~ Jesus, You." After Redman sings of the treasure of Jesus' "Intimacy," the musical intensity is turned up a notch or two in "Hear the Music of My Heart," where an electric guitar riff serves as the backdrop for a reflection of wonder at Christ's love; "I Am Yours" praises God as the source of my life; the distorted vocal and consistent backbeat of track nine give a reality to the resolve: "All we want to do ~ Is bring You something real ~ Bring You something true"; and the aggressive harmony of "For the Cross" electrifies a message of thankfulness for Jesus' sacrifice. Has anyone drawn the obvious parallels to The Heart of Worship and another recent British worship album? Even though it's not a live album or packaged in a can, Redman's latest should delight listeners of delirious?'s Live & In the Can--and actually features d:player Stu G. on electric guitar. The one and only Martin Smith joins Redman on the poignant title track. As atmospheric pop highlights "When I Needed A Saviour," about deep healing unfolding daily, an as-is percussion based mix of "Prayers of the Saints" closes Redman's incredible sophomore effort--combining great music and great worship.
- Josh M. Shepherd
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