Monday, March 27, 2017

Music Review: Love Made a Way by Aaron Shust

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Great worship music
Cons: A couple of choices seem odd, but they are minor
The Bottom Line:
Live worship CD
Three classics; the rest new tracks
Combine for great disc

Aaron Shust Goes Live

For most of his career, Aaron Shust has walked the fine line between the worship and the pop sides of Christian music, so it’s not really a surprise when he decided to release a live worship project.  Love Made a Way is a great disc to lead you in worship.

I never really know what to expect when I pick up a live disc.  Some of them feature lots of talking that doesn’t hold up well to repeated listens.  That’s not the case here.  In fact, this is just Aaron singing.  If you take away the crowd singing behind him and the applause between songs, you’d never know it was live.  While that doesn’t really capture a live event, it makes it perfect for repeated listens.

One thing that tries to set this apart is the use of guest singers.  In almost every song, Aaron is joined by someone else, Christy Nockels and Matt Hammitt are the two that repeat, but 8 of the 11 songs feature someone else joining Aaron..  Honestly, I must admit I miss the point of this.  Only if I am really listening for it do I hear the other person doing the duet.  They tend to blend in with the chorus that is backing up Aaron.  It’s not bad, but it’s not noticeable so it winds up being weird.

If you’ve been a fan of Aaron’s career from the beginning, you should still get this disc.  There are only three repeats here, “”My Hope is in You,” “Cornerstone,” and “My Savior, My God.”  Honestly, I love all three of these songs so much, I am thrilled to have a second version of them.  While “My Hope is in You” sound very much like the original recording, he has tweaked the arrangement on “Cornerstone” and “My Savior, My God.”

Of the eight tracks Aaron hasn’t previously recorded, the only one I already recognized is “God of Brilliant Lights.”  I hadn’t not heard the lines from the way he started it before, but the rest of the song is definitely familiar.  I didn’t have any other recordings of it before, and I’m glad to have it.

Some of these tracks are definitely new.  For example, the disc opens with “Heartbeat.”  This song is an up tempo opener that offers God our all with every heartbeat.  It’s a great way to pull us into the disc.  Another new track is “Lead On (King Eternal),” another song of surrender.

One of the tracks I really love is “Death Was Arrested.”  This song, which lends a line to the disc’s title, focuses on what Jesus’s death and resurrection really means for us.  This one is going straight to my Easter rotation, but obviously it is something great to reflect on year round.

And there’s the first single from this disc, “You Redeem.”  This is a great celebration of all God has done for us by forgiving our sins.

While never leaving the contemporary worship realm, this disc has enough variety in style and rhythm to keep you from getting bored.  The songs are simple, mostly keyboard, guitar, and drum, which allows us to focus on God.

So if you are a fan of Aaron’s music or worship music in general, I definitely recommend Love Made a Way.  It’s a great combination of new and old that will focus you on God.

CD Length: 51:28
1. Heartbeat (with Matt Hammitt)
2. My Hope is in You (with April Geesbreght)
3. Belong
4. You Redeem (with Matt Hammitt)
5. Ever Be (with Emily Hamilton of For All Seasons)
6. God of Brilliant Lights
7. Cornerstone (with Jillian Linklater)
8. Death was Arrested (with Christy Nockels)
9. Resurrecting (with Molly Reed of Grayson/Reed)
10. My Savior My God (with Christy Nockels)
11. Lead On (King Eternal)

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