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TIM HUGHES
[ when silence falls ]

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WHEN SILENCE FALLS (2004)
When Silence Falls - Click to view!I'm of the opinion that "worship music" should be judged differently than "the rest of music at large." The motives for writing worship music should be different than those for writing other styles of music. There should be, hopefully, a motivation by the artist to create music by which the saints of God may pay homage to their Savior and Lord. I cannot answer for Tim Hughes' heart on this matter. All I know is that his newest record, When Silence Falls, provides a place where I can cry out to God.

This is the first Tim Hughes CD I've ever heard in its entirety. I only knew who he was thanks to Matt Redman. So I was pleasantly surprised to hear how he took the over-recorded "Beautiful One" and made it his own song. I soon discovered that he originally wrote this song, but after hearing By The Tree, Chris Tomlin and Jeremy Camp record their versions, I couldn't see how it could be made new again. Hughes surpasses all my expectations through delicate guitar work and a "modern worship" sound that never becomes too heavy to handle. In fact, "Beautiful One (Reprise)" has become my favorite rendition: here Hughes sings freely, in a different octave, accompanied by a guitar played in classic Brit-rock style.

I appreciated the musical care taken on the track, and this extends throughout the recording. Songs like "You" and "Name Above All Names" feature an up-beat tempo that's surprisingly refreshing. There's nothing distinctly different to make it so enjoyable, but it's the minor details that keeps this album from feeling like a Matt Redman or Chris Tomlin release. It could be the very nature of Hughes' voice. He can easily be compared to Martin Smith from delirious?, and I can picture the d:boys playing similar songs in their Cutting Edge days.

Of course, the album has its slower ballads, but they're absolutely touching. "Whole World in His Hands" takes the Sunday school tune and molds it into a modern praise chorus that provides hope to the spirit: "He's got the whole world in His hands / I'll fear no evil, for You are with me / Strong to deliver and mighty to save." Even the choir in the background remains relatively fresh and new. "Beauty of Your Peace" is centered on a piano and soothing vocals, providing a place for His peace to reside. "When the Tears Fall" produced the title of the album, and it serves as a center both musically and lyrically. The beginning is similar to "Beauty of Your Peace," but it then produces a loud, boisterous moment where the band and vocals converge onto a praise chorus: "When hope is lost, I call You Savior / When pain surrounds, I call You healer / When silence falls, You'll be the song within my heart / I will praise You, I will praise You / When the tears fall, still I will sing to You." It's a declaration of faith regardless of the surrounding circumstances.

I've spent a lot of time with When Silence Falls. I started listening to it recently after I began to feel under the weather. As I lay immobile in my room, this record played on my speakers, and the songs ministered to my spirit and moved me to tears. I was able to spend time with Jesus, and these songs became the soundtrack. My experience with this record inspires this positive review. Of course, the music and words are always a critical part of music records, "worship" or not. But in this instance, they move away from the center. For me, When Silence Falls becomes a place where God and I can communicate with each other. And for that I am grateful.
- Hollie Stewart
July 2005
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