I haven’t written any posts about music in quite some time. But I got a Christmas present from my wife that I am just loving. The new album from Selah titled You Amaze Us is just awesome. There is a real lack of Christian music that is truly meaningful and rooted deep in the scriptures. I find myself turning the radio off and playing a CD because it seems like the same old thing.
It seems that artists who write and perform songs that are rooted deeper in the scriptures have a tendency to be played less on the radio. On the Christian stations that I listen to, I don’t hear Michael Card at all anymore. It’s not just that they aren’t playing his newer stuff, they aren’t playing any of his stuff, even the stuff they played 15 years ago. It’s the same with Andrew Peterson. I haven’t heard a song by him on the radio in a very long time. He has had two new albums with great music that I just love and hardly anything gets played. Jimmy Needham is another one, although the radio does play an occasional song by him. Fernando Ortega has all but disappeared as well.
Selah kind of dropped off the radar for the radio as well, especially when Nicole left the group and they were in limbo for a minute as far as who would replace her. After Amy Perry joined, I wondered if they would be as good as they were before. I heard one song on the radio, and it was okay, but not a whole lot more. So I assumed their music probably wasn’t as good as before because I wasn’t hearing the radio play it.
Then I saw them in concert with Amy Perry at Maranatha. After the concert I bought both albums they had put out with her. Their transitional album, Bless the Broken Road, which themed around duets with guest artists, had Amy singing on at least three songs, but I didn’t realize she would be joining the group at that time. After that album release I hadn’t bought anything because I wondered how good they would be with a new lead singer. Their concert thoroughly convinced me and had me wondering why the radio was not playing their music more. I have played those two albums, You Deliver Me and Hope of the Broken World, at least thirty times while walking my route.
They are still rooted in the hymns with a bluesy style. The harmonies are just awesome. This whole album just makes you think about God and our Savior Jesus Christ on such a personal level. Let me share why I am loving this current release.
First off, the reason I knew they had a new album out was because the radio has been playing the song You Amaze Us. There is no way to overlook this great praise song with Todd singing the lead. The main body of the song is wonderful as well as the ending “all the glory and honor belong to you.” Todd also sings the lead on Oh Our Lord, another great praise song.
The song At the Cross with Amy singing lead is a contemporary song that incorporates hymns in such a seamless transition that if you didn’t know any better you would think they were part of the original song. Lyrics from At Calvary and the hymn, At the Cross, are included, but the power of the lyrics of this new song are on par with the depth in both of those hymns. Consider these lyrics: “Dark and sacred hill where violence purchased peace, The innocent was bound to set the captives free, There you made a way the lost are welcomed home again.” Amy also sings the lead on O the Blood, another powerful song that points us to our Savior’s great sacrifice on the cross. Here are the lyrics to the chorus, but you really have to listen to it to fully appreciate it. “O the blood of Jesus washes me. O the blood of Jesus shed for me. What a sacrifice that saved my life. Yes, the blood, it is my victory.”
Alan makes probably his greatest contribution on this album with the song Nearing Home. This is a tribute to Billy Graham as the lyrics will manifest. Perhaps it is not a coincidence that they also recorded a version of Just As I Am on this release as well. But back to this song. It has such a homey feel to it, like you are sitting with Alan and maybe even watching the look on Billy Graham’s face as he listens. The fiddle, the mandolin, the cello, they just draw you in. It’s such a touching song that humbles each of us about our place in life, whatever God chooses for us. I just don’t quite know how to put the feel of this song into words. Alan also sings lead at different points on a couple of other songs, but on this song, he really knocks one out of the park.
If you are wondering is Selah can still rock, oh boy! Some of you may remember Deep (Way Down), The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power, and more recently, Shelter Me, and the power with which they brought these up tempo songs to us. Let me just tell you, they still got it. Their version of Victory in Jesus starts out with some bluesy guitar riffs. Then there is this foot stomping beat with all of them humming along for about for a good minute before they even get to the lyrics. After the second and third verses, they break to this awesome jam singing, “Heard about the blood of the Lamb, that was shed for me. Makes me victorious, you know I’ve been set free.” By the end of the song, Alan is jamming on the piano and if you are listening along, you’re jamming too.
They record two songs that I have personally never cared for too much. But their arrangements are so good I find myself singing along. In the Garden is a hymn that has been around for quite a while. Each of them takes a turn at lead in this meaningful rendition. Also, and this may raise a few eyebrows, I have never cared for the gospel song, Soon and Very Soon. But this version, this is something I can sing along with. It’s smooth, real smooth. But all in all, there is no song on this recording that I find myself wanting to skip. Every song is very good, if not great.
So for those of you who are looking for some good music, the latest release from Selah is totally worth it. And if you don’t have their last two, go back and get them as well.
Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13
-The Orange Mailman