Shawn McDonald, "Don't Give Up"

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When his first album, Simply Nothing, released in 2004, it was clear that this was a guy who would spill his guts into every song and every gig. His lyrics were bold, stark, palpably authentic. Ditto his shows, where McDonald shared his compelling testimony night after night, holding nothing back. "Honesty," he said at the time, "is huge."

Six and a half years later, it still is. So it makes perfect sense that McDonald would call Closer, his fourth studio project, "a very honest and vulnerable record." Honestly, what else could it be?

His first three albums - Simply Nothing (2004), Ripen (2006), and Roots (2008) – chronicled the journey of a broken man who'd found redemption, who was growing in faith while expressing his doubts, singing praises and lamentations along the way. But always a picture of a man drawing closer to the God who saved his life... and his soul.

"I was starting to mature in my faith and putting my roots down," McDonald says of his 2008 release. "I was reaching a point where I was allowing my life to be rooted in Christ. But that was also about the time when I really started going through it."

Which brings us to Closer. McDonald wrote most of the 13 songs while "going through it" - a painful few years that ultimately ended in a failed marriage. Read more about Closer.

Shawn McDonald Giveaway

Shawn McDonald has written five devotions of reflection about the meaning of songs on his new album Closer and put them in a unique and customized photo book. The book is full of photos of Shawn in his favorite places, from the beach to the coffee shop. Each book comes with a Shawn McDonald Closer album to pair with the devotions and photos. Click here to ENTER TO WIN.

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