Monday, March 4, 2013

RECORD REVIEW: Kim Walker-Smith "Still Believe"

RECORD REVIEW
Kim
Walker-Smith
Still Believe
(Jesus Culture Music)
_____________________

I was blown away by 
several new Praise 
and Worship records 
in 2012. And in 2013, 
the bar is being set by
Kim Walker-Smith's
latest (semi) solo
offering.
_____________________

Recorded live in concert at the Cascade Theater in Redding, California, vocal powerhouse Kim Walker-Smith leads a crew of supremely talented musicians, including her Jesus Culture cohorts, drummer Josh Fisher, bassist Brandon Aaronson and guitarists Jeffrey Kunde and Skyler Smith in  this hour-plus treasure.

Long on highlights and jam-packed with Bat Out of Hell-length Spirit-filled epics, Still Believe kicks off mightily with "Alive" — one of the most chilling songs that I've heard in a (very) long time. In fact, Still Believe was released only a few weeks ago and already I've heard a live band cover this tune.

Other highlights include "Waste it All"  and "The King is Here" — two gems that ooze honest, pure passion and emotion.

Possessing true "Born to Run"-like warmth and beauty, "Yield My Heart" offers an absolutely brilliant string of performances from Lewis Patzner, Anton Patzner, Hannah Jeanpierre and Allison Wyatt, as well as from Dwayne Corbin on glockenspiel. Kudos, kids!

More than a highlight, the Jim Steinman-like arrangement and seven-minute performance of "Miracle Maker" is a show-stopping masterpiece.

After numerous listens, I "still believe"
that Kim's latest is one of the year's best.
Throughout Still Believe, Kim delivers numerous Spirit-led revelations — particularly during the title track when she boldly proclaims, "Pain has no place. Disease has no place. Sickness has no place. Weariness has no place. Depression has no place in your presence Lord." Mmm, now that's some good preachin', Kim!

Still Believe ends as strong as it begins, with the record's crown jewel, "Healing Oil." And how else but in the Spirit can two simple lines, a mere 21 words, morph into an eight-minute opus?

I can feel your healing oil
running down my brow.
I wouldn't trade another lifetime
for how I feel right now.
(from "Healing Oil") 

-Christopher Long
(March 2013)


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