Friday, January 3, 2014

Music Review: God of Every Story by Laura Story

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Powerful and encouraging lyrics
Cons: Style sounds similar after a while
The Bottom Line:
Amazing lyrics
Will make you stop, remember
How great is our God

Praise to the God Who is Bigger Than Any Story

While I had heard of Laura Story, I wasn't really a fan until I saw her with Stephen Curtis Chapman and Jason Gray at the end of 2013.  I liked her set enough to buy God of Every Story, and I've really been enjoying it.

The reason I have struggled with Laura's music is her genre - inspirational/worship.  It's not my go to genre, and it does provide the biggest con for me with the disc.  The music tends toward the slower side of things with an emphasis on Laura's piano playing.  I'm not saying it's bad, but it does tend to sound the same after a time or two through the disc.

But the lyrics.  Oh, the lyrics.  They can pull me through many a CD I'm ambivalent about, and here is where Laura really shines.

Take the title track.  Yes, it is on a theme I love, trusting God, yet that's never once mentioned in the song.  Instead, we are reminded that God is there when we hurt and He is still faithful.  The first couple of verses are inspired by people Laura has met who are struggling.  The only person who has come through to the other side is Laura herself, and the story of her husband's illness and their miracle daughter forms the basis of that verse.  And the fact that Laura is on the other side and able to point out how God is faithful makes it even more powerful.  This is a mid-tempo'd track with a really catchy melody - one I'm very likely to be singing the rest of the day.

Another song I really like is the anthem "I Can Just Be Me."  It's one of those songs that hits you because of how simple the idea is.  Laura sings about her struggles to hold it all together and put a brave face on at times.  And then she goes to God and surrenders, being broken and afraid but letting God be God.  As I say, it's a simple idea, but one that I really need to hear many times.

"Grace" is a song of encouragement and it reminds us that God is always there willing to forgive and pick us up no matter how often we sin as long as we are trying to live for him.  This is a very personal ballad and it almost feels like an intrusion into Laura's personal thoughts; frankly, that adds to the power of the song.

And I really do love "Keeper of the Stars" which is again a song of trust and surrender as Laura sings "I'm giving it all to the Keeper of the Stars/I won't be afraid cause You're holding every part of this world."  Yeah, if God is holding the universe in place, I can certainly trust Him with my life.

I mentioned earlier the worship part of the recording, and that shows up in such tracks as "There is a Kingdom," "O Love of God," Who but Jesus," and "You Gave Your Life."  Of course, it's hard to not listen to the songs I've already talked about without worshipping God as well.

So I'm glad I got to see Laura Story in concert because I doubt I would have bought this CD otherwise.  There are some powerful lyrics on God of Every Story that God will use in my life for a long time to come.

CD Length: 40:12
1. There is a Kingdom
2. O Love of God
3. I Can Just Be Me
4. Who is Like Our God
5. God of Every Story
6. Who But Jesus
7. Keeper of the Stars
8. Forgiven
9. You Gave Your Life
10. Grace
11. He Will Not Let Go

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