Michael W. Smith – Still Vol. 1

Still Volume 1

Michael W. Smith

“Still Vol. 1”

Rocketown Records

10 tracks @ 56:12

Grade = A

            In the lead-up to his newest record, Michael W. Smith consistently said that this was the kind of record he and his wife always wanted to make.  What kind of a record is this?

            Don’t expect anything along the lines of “Conversation” or “Great is the Lord.”  However, there are musical clues spread throughout Michael’s career that point in this direction.  There’s “Freedom,” a full-length disk of all instrumental music released in 2000;  and if you purchased the “Worship” disk, you may have received the bonus CD “Devotions,” which features some spoken word material.

            That’s what “Still” is, spoken word and instrumental material.  The spoken word portions are all Bible verses, grouped together in five themes;  Steadfast, Broken, Hope, Shelter and Blessing.  “Hope” features Psalm 51, which brings me back to the communion portion of the old Lutheran liturgy.  Those five tracks are repeated but without the spoken word.

                I’ve been playing this disk nearly every morning while I putter in the kitchen putting breakfast together.  It’s also the accompaniment during morning devotions.  A pretty chill record, it’s the perfect companion for quiet time, prayers, meditation  and a welcome respite from the chaos of living in a COVID world.

            And since this is Volume 1, I’m looking forward to Volume 2.

-Rob Snyder

Eyewitness to Crucifixion

Eyewitness to Crucifixion

By Stephen M. Miller

Our Daily Bread Publishing


In college I gained a greater appreciation for history, mostly because I felt like it went from memorizing timelines and into something much more in-depth.  Imaging going from reciting dates of the major events in life to discovering what drew us into those events and how we came through them.  It was that awe and wonder of discovery that peeked my interest in college.  While my college years are long behind me now, I still have that awe and wonder about history.  I love to learn the details of events I have often minimized as “ancient” history.  Aside from the feeling of discovery, you also get a new perspective on life and with today’s lack of perspective on social media it’s important to get realigned occasionally. 

That brings me to “Eyewitness to Crucifixion” finally, what a wonderful piece of perspective this is!  Very soon now we’ll be coming to Easter and the resurrection.  A time when the crucifixion gets a little more attention than usual, and when it’s often drowned out by the happenings of the holiday.  In my experience, any attention given to the resurrection barely gives any perspective to the events that preceded the glorious moment when Christ defeated death and arose from the grave – the crucifixion. 

Reading through “Eyewitness to Crucifixion” helps to put context around this horrific practice and just what Jesus had suffered through on our behalf.  Miller skillfully uses historical accounts outside of the Bible to give the reader a better understanding of the context of crucifixion.  It helps to make it feel more real when you read what scholars and poets of the time had to say about crucifixion.  It also helps to move it beyond the cursory verse or two recited on the occasion and it gives you deeper appreciation of the sacrifice Jesus had made.  Furthermore, Miller’s writing style is easy to follow and engaging.  It was an easy read considering the depth of the content.  I highly recommend supplementing your traditional holiday traditions with a new bit of perspective.     

 Ken W.

#EyewitnesstoCrucifixion #NetGalley

Jamie Kimmett – Prize Worth Fighting For

Jamie Kimmett

Jamie Kimmett
Prize Worth Fighting For
Reunion Records

“At the feet of Jesus,” that’s where this CD found me at a time when I really needed it.  It was late at night when my wife sent me a link to “Burdens” before we had even heard of Jamie Kimmett via the press.  The song plays out like a modern psalm, with the vocalist crying out to God with a heavy heart.  It’s followed up by a personal declaration of trust in “Down,” which I think is a great response to “Burdens.” 

Further on, Kimmett redirects the focus from self to others on “Love Your Neighbor,” a catchy little tune about being the hands and feet of Christ.  It’s hard to take the focus off of yourself when your spirit feels broken, but it really gives you a change of perspective and it can be healing as well. 

The title track is another catchy tune that gives perspective as well with a focus on the eternal prize worth fighting for.  When you’re feeling the “Burdens” it’s time to press on through prayer, supplication and praise.  What a wonderful reminder and yet another powerful song.

Kimmett is out on tour with Casting Crowns as this project has been released giving him some much deserved attention.  Check out his official website at for videos, tour dates and more. 

  • Ken W.      

Leeland – Better Word


Better Word
Integrity Music

The latest from Leeland, “Better Word,” releases today.  It’s a live worship album and a very welcome return of such incredible talent and heart. 

While I have always enjoyed their more contemporary and mainline worship, I appreciate the live and more “spontaneous” production of “Better Word.”  This format gives you over an hour and a half of uplifting and vertical worship. It’s an overall joyful experience. 

At 15 tracks long it is hard to narrow it down to just a few favorites, but some of the highlights include the title track, “Better Word,” “Wait upon the Lord,” a spontaneous prayer for strength and courage from the Lord, “First Love Fire,” a good reminder of that spark I once had when I first came to know the love of Christ. 

“First Love Fire” is a tear jerker for sure, but it is also an incredible reminder of how I often forget just how much it means to be “in” Christ and not trying to go alone.  Follow that up with “Lead the Way,” and you have a cup filling experience. 

It’s so good to hear from Leeland again.  There’s word of a tour too so check out for more on that and the new release. 

  • Ken

Falcone Rising

Falcone Rising
Creative Soul Records

Right from the start, “Falcone Rising” had me hooked with its classic Christian rock attitude. It takes me back to the awesome ‘80’s – ‘90’s garage band rock like Whitecross or Stryper. A straight up gospel message backed up by melodic hooks and punchy guitar riffs. The simplicity of it is lost on today’s overly polished radio singles. Just take for example “I Never Knew You,” a powerful reminder of Matthew 7:13-23 and the penalties of simply going through the motions of your faith and never really having your heart set on Christ. It’s a commanding guitar driven track that speaks volumes.

“Falcone Rising” is John Falcone, a man of man talents – husband, father, and surgeon. At the uncommon age of 38 John declared his personal faith in Christ and set to find an outlet for his newfound life. He found that outlet in music and subsequently “Falcone Rising.”

Aside from the core tracks that are more rock driving, Falcone also uses this outlet to sing a few love songs to his wife. A peppy “A Year Ago Today” and the more tender “A Wedding Song.” Both fine tracks among many others, but again, my leaning is more towards the more rock driven songs like “You Won’t Break Me” and the aforementioned “I Never Knew You.”

You can check out for more on “Falcone Rising” including a detailed track listing with corresponding verses, lyrics and links to either buy or preview the new album.

  • Ken W.

Jean Watson – Sacred

Jean Watson

Jean Watson


Truthfulmusic Productions

For the past several months I have not been very active regards to writing reviews.  After 19 years of listening and writing I needed to step back and focus on other things.  However, “Sacred” is the one project that never left my top playlists.  It is simply majestic and uplifting.  From the beautiful Celtic tones to the heartening lyrics “Sacred” is a complete triumph.  Watson even brings new life (and lyrics) to a standard – “The Doxology” which inspires praises to the good Lord. 

One of the most delightful songs is “St. Patrick’s Breastplate.”  I love the dramatic ups and downs of the soundtrack, the vocal crescendos and the swelling strings.  There are also a handful of classics like “Joyful Joyful We Adore Thee,” “Fairest Lord Jesus,” and another favorite on this album, “Holy, Holy, Holy.” Cap that off with the tender “How Can I Keep From Singing” as the album just keeps on giving and giving. As a bonus, Watson impresses with her violin playing as well on “Hallelujah.” 

Aside from the new album, Watson has also released a new book, a 40 day devotional titled “Everything Can Change In 40 Days.”  I have not read the book but you can find info on both the book and “Sacred” on her official website at

  • Ken W.    

Phil and Rex – Illumination

Phil and Rex

Phil and Rex



Phil Keaggy and Rex Paul Schnellle joined forces to produce a monumental project.  The new songs include some previous releases from Keaggy, but redone Phil and Rex style.  The rest of the album is full of collaborations primarily from Phil and Rex (and a couple extra friends).  Rex adds a lot to the project by recording guitars, vocals, bass, drums and keyboards.  He also produced and mixed the final songs.  There’s an incredible amount of talent behind this project. 

The opener, “Don’t Hold Back” is a smooth, catchy piece about serving others as Jesus had modeled.  Right off the bat the first track has a perfect amount of guitar work too.  The same flair can be found all throughout the project, but I particularly like “Time,” and the piano led “Let Everything Else Go.”  One of my favorite Keaggy originals is “Full Circle.”  The remake is quite refreshing, and the guitar leads do not disappoint either.

For more on Phil Keaggy check out his official website here:

For more on Rex Paul Schnelle check out

  • Ken W.

John Waller – Explosion of Light

John Waller

John Waller

Explosion of Light

Radiate Music

The latest from John Waller includes the peppy hit “Awakening,” aka “The Coffee Song.”  It’s interesting because the local coffee shop is often the favorite meeting place for pastors, ministry leaders and local college ministries.  The majority of the album keeps this upbeat tone and in some small way, it reminds me of listening to Jeff Deyo back in the early 2000’s.  It’s a combination of formidable vocals, ambient guitars and overall intensity.  And then you bookend that with the tender “Mamas Prayer” and you have a very well-rounded project.  Two of my favorites aside from the aforementioned songs are “Mine” and “Here’s My Yes.”  The overall feel is upbeat and heartfelt.  For more on John Waller check out his official Facebook page at

  • Ken W.  

Meredith Andrews – Faith and Wonder (Live)

Meredith Andrews

Meredith Andrews

Faith and Wonder (Live)

Curb – Word

The latest release from Meredith Andrews is a live EP containing six songs.  From the news release;

The result is a collection of songs that feel like a homecoming, intimately personal while still filling the room with a collective chorus of worship for a God who saves. It was Andrews’ first and only goal in creating Faith and Wonder (Live), for God’s presence to be felt in a deep and genuine way.

I can imagine that “Million Saints” just filled the room with a resounding chorus. This is followed up by the emotive “Faith and Wonder” and later in the lineup is an equally impassioned “On and On.”  While a short project, it is packed with powerful moments of worship.

  • Ken W.  

Imari Tones – Overture

Imari Tones

Imari Tones


The most interesting thing about this album is the fact that is entirely in Japanese. It’s not the first CD I have reviewed for the band so I wasn’t too worried that I could not understand a lick of the lyrics, but I can understand the guitar “licks!”  I have also been following their YouTube channel as well ( so I am aware that this a very pivotal album both because it was recorded completely in their home language, but also because it is to be their last album with the original line up.  The band continues to practice and play, and I believe there are plans to continue recording. 

If you’re interested you can check out their band camp site and preview “Overture,” or any of their other many releases.  You really don’t have to be fluent in Japanese to enjoy the throwback 80’s glam rock soundtrack or the more acoustic and poetic sounds of “Kotoba.”  I also have other reviews that you can peruse.

Jesus Wind

Revive the World

  • Ken W.