Sara Groves – Abide with Me

Sara Groves
Abide with Me
Fair Trade/Columbia

Released last November, “Abide with Me” is a beautiful collection of hymns layered over a modest soundtrack. There is little to say other than this is a beautiful project, simply majestic and honoring. I love to come back to the traditional hymns every now and then and it is nice to have a fresh offering like “Abide with Me” to choose from. Sara Groves is a well-respected artist with a reach history of musical offerings and I can hardly think of someone more apt to bring such beauty and life to the classics like she has done here. Check out for more on Sara Groves and “Abide with Me.”

– Ken W.

Alexis Slifer – Famous For

Alexis Slifer
Famous For
Bema Media

Alexis Slifer, a former “Rubyz” vocalist, endeavors to establish her own voice on her new release “Famous For.” It’s a bright new EP with a tight range of vocal styles that mostly hover around a pop infused soundtrack. The heart of the album comes from a tried and tested heart that aches for the “healing forgiveness” of our great God and Father. From human trafficking in Cambodia to the core of her very own family, Slifer knows what it is like to depend on the peace that only God can bring to a broken heart. My personal favorites are the title track “Famous For” and “Wildfire.” Together they show great maturity and depth as an artist. The new project is six tracks long and short 23 minutes long, but it shows great potential for a breakout solo. Check out for more on “Famous For.”

– Ken W.

Audrey Assad – Evergreen

Audrey Assad
Fortunate Fall Records / Tone Tree Music

The fully-new project, “Evergreen,” is the first such endeavor for about four years from singer/songwriter Audrey Assad. In a day when people may be more apt to purchase a single or two, I am impressed at how much Assad has put into this project. While it is only a couple tracks longer than an average album, it feels like so much more. Mostly because of the depth of the themes and songs on “Evergreen.” I am simply entranced by her voice and the masterful soundtrack on songs like “Immanuel’s Land” and “Deliverer.” The added twist of Celtic on “Wounded Healer” also shows how well she can stretch her musical palate. Overall, “Evergreen” is one of those projects were a simple single or two are just not enough. There is both stillness and joy in the lyrics which leads to reflective worship. Simply Beautiful.

– Ken W.

Michael W. Smith – “A Million Lights”

Michael W. Smith
“A Million Lights”
Rocketown Records
13 tracks @ 49:30
Grade = A

Michael W. Smith’s 25th (!) full length album is a joy. According to his website, “A Million Lights” is a “countercultural response to the divisive national sentiment of 2017 and the mean-spirited banter on social media.

“Until the world ends, music is the most powerful language there is,” says Michael. “It can transform your life on every level, not just the spiritual. It can help people reconnect with why they’re here.”

Overall, the production is minimal, with an emphasis on keyboards. A couple tracks take me back to “Live the Life,” one of my all-time favorite albums, period. Every track on the new record is a winner.

2018 is going to be very busy for MWS. He also has a new live worship album “Surrounded,” coming out the week after the release of “A Million Lights.” The title track from the worship record has already hit the Billboard “Hot Christian Singles” chart. He will tour the “A Million Lights” record this spring and goes to Israel. You can catch a clip of MWS talking about his trip to the Middle East on Godtube.

– Rob S.