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Bring It On - Click to view! BRING IT ON (2003)
There is a difficulty one encounters when listening to worship music during the daily routine. The problem is that worship music is intended for communion with God, and it's difficult to accomplish that when we are preoccupied. Hence, it is hard to appreciate good worship music as a form of entertainment. In their debut release on Word Records, Oasis Praise has found a way to bring the experience of being at church into your car, or your office, or wherever it is you need inspiration. The disc, entitled Bring It On, is a collection of original material spanning a number of genres. So many, in fact, that it is difficult to classify the group by any single one.

First, let's review the little background information available on Oasis Praise. The name itself is shortened from "The Oasis Christian Center Praise Team". As the elongated name suggests, the group is actually the praise team for a church in Los Angeles, CA. Unfortunately, very little other information is given about these musicians. What we do know is that the lead singer, JD Webb, either wrote or co-wrote every song on the album, which speaks to the volumes of talent he seemingly possesses.

The first track on the album, entitled "Are You Ready?" is gospel with a kick. It is very energetic and sets the tone for the whole album. Exhorting us to start a revolution by taking God's message to every nation, we are reminded to stand strong for we have victory in Jesus Christ. Following another gospel track is something more standard in modern worship-a ballad. "Fields of Mercy" is a soulful expression of gratitude for God's grace in spite of our imperfections. Webb expresses this sentiment clearly when he sings "In You I am worthy / I am deserving / because you loved me and took me as I am." Midway through the album, the pace really picks up. From this point on, we are treated to a collage of rhythms, images, and vocalists. On the way we pass through soul/funk, R&B, and even a little Latin. Particularly outstanding is the number sung by Shunna Jones-Moreno called "Rain Down," in which we are reminded that "If Nothing Goes Up / Nothing Comes Down." This song contains a wonderful guitar riff a lá Carlos Santana. Finally, the album concludes with "Jesus is Here," a slow ballad, which is beautiful in spite of its simplicity. Its message? "If you need strength / If you need hope / If you need forgiveness / He's right here."

The starkness of the concluding song is an indicator of the few problems that do exist on this album. The songwriting is mostly straightforward and heartfelt in its praise and adoration, but some of the depth is sacrificed to the rhythms of the songs. In other cases, the message is too simplistic, and it seems that filling the required time allotment is the goal, accomplished by repeating simple phrases in lieu of writing another verse. Between many of the songs or as part of the intro, there are exclamations of praise such as would be common to church performance. Unfortunately some of it comes off as being forced, negatively impacting the feeling that the songs really are being sung with love and adoration. These problems concern me in the sense that some material might be included for the purposes of entertainment more than praise, per se.

Having said all that, the vocals are impeccable throughout the album. The mystery musicians in the background remain in the background largely because there are no noticeable flaws. Overall, what strikes me about this album and holds its place in my CD player is the experience of emotional range through the music. These songs portray to the listener the joy of salvation, the hope of redemption, the beauty of grace, and the majesty of Our Lord, in only a few minutes' time each. This album is highly recommended to one and all.
- Scott Bush
January 2004

Probably the coolest looking church site you'll ever see, this official site for the Oasis Christian Center has little info on the music but more about the church and ther ministry.

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