By Debra Akins, contributing writer, gmclife.com
Late last year, gmclife.com named worship artist Chris McClarney one of its Top 10 Artists to Watch in 2010, and with the release of his first full-length studio CD, Defender, you now have the opportunity to hear why. Defender features 16 tracks and nearly 70 minutes of McClarney's soulful, bluesy, modern worship sound, including "Your Love Never Fails," the current radio single and self-penned song that has quickly become a popular worship anthem worldwide since its adoption earlier this year by the Jesus Culture movement.
Produced by John Hartley (Matt Redman, Rebecca St. James, Miriam Webster), engineered and mixed by Derri Daugherty (The Choir, Jeremy Camp, Leeland), Defender showcases the rich, warm texture of McClarney's vocals against the backdrop of driving, jangly guitars infused with a bluesy, folksy edge. That combination, along with McClarney's impassioned delivery, fills up this CD to the brim with track after track of soulful, memorable and lyrically-strong songs that will easily become congregational favorites.
With a great mixture of classic hymns rearranged (I can't stop listening to McClarney's rendition of "Immortal Invisible"), a stand-out cover of Matt Redman's "God of Our Yesterdays," and strong worship anthems ("Still Saving Me," "Who Is This Love Amazing," "Across the Universe," "Rescuer" and the title track are all highlights), Defender could not be a more important "debut" for this Nashville-based worship artist who has already been leading worship for about 15 years. This album should be at the top of your wish list.
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