|Charismatic Worship | Posted April 04, 2013
If you have followed Kim Walker-Smith since her recording debut in 2006 with the first Jesus Culture release, you already know her as worship leader for Jesus Culture and a worship pastor at Bethel Church. You're already aware that she is a talented, passionate singer and a fervent worshiper. You've heard and enjoyed her first solo record (as Kim Walker) from 2008, Here is My Song, and though you've appreciated her contributions to Jesus Culture albums, you've probably been clamoring for a follow-up.
But whether you are a long-time fan or are just discovering her, with Still Believe, Kim Walker-Smith will bless you with a moving live worship event that will leave you inspired, enriched, and restored.
Recorded at Cascade Theater in Redding, Calif., Still Believe finds Walker-Smith backed by a full band and string section. The project begins with "Alive," a rousing song that rejoices in our living King. Kim's voice immediately takes command as she sounds a clarion call: "We will make Him known / Jesus is alive / He's alive!" Energy abounds as she proclaims, "It may get loud / The grave is empty now / And it may get wild / His love is like no other." This song would be incredible performed as part of a sunrise service on Easter Sunday.
"Waste It All," written with Christa Black, Chris McClarney, and Laura Rhinehart, begins with strings and pounding drums. It's a minor key track with strong, compelling verses about redemptive mercy and the grateful surrender that results. Kim passionately professes: "I'm gonna waste it all on you / I'm gonna pour my heart's perfume / I don't care if I'm called a fool / I'm wasting it all on you."
The mood has been established, the stage set. Enter Jesus with "The King is Here." Another piece written with Christa Black, it begins with a melody carried by the guitar before the whole bands joins in. Giving praise to an ever-present God, the refrain rings out, "We worship and we praise / We lift Your Holy name / We rejoice for our King is here." The song is a nine-minute worship experience testifying to the transformative nature of Jesus' love: "We'll never be the same."
A second co-write with Christa Black is "Yield My Heart." Kim's soulful voice continues to captivate as she invites the Holy Spirit: "Holy Spirit Come / Holy Spirit rest in this place / Teach us how to be one with you."
Having invited the Holy Spirit in, with "Spirit Break Out" Kim implores Him to move. Beginning with violin and cello, the track gains might as rhythmic drums begin to pound. The effect is electrifying. There is an untamed, Lion King vibe that perfectly accompanies the lyric: "Can you hear it? / The sound of Heaven touching Earth... / Our Father / All of Heaven roars your name."
Can't get enough? The song overflows, spilling seamlessly into "Spirit Break Out (Spontaneous)," which in effect extends the song to 12 minutes of praise and prayer. Just want to hear the song? No problem, you can skip the extra segment.
Title track "Still Believe" is a gorgeous number, clocking in at about 10 minutes. Sonically brighter that much of the rest of the record, the track boasts strong, clear vocals that lend credibility to Kim's professed declaration, "I still believe / You're the same yesterday, today, and forever / And I still believe / Your blood is sufficient for me." There is a tangible power in her voice, but within that strength is a vulnerability allowing the lyric to connect with the hearts of her listeners. Lyrical repetition, rather than becoming monotonous, allows for reflection, prayer, and personalized worship. This track makes it abundantly clear that Kim Walker-Smith is more than a worship leader, she's an evangelist.
After the stirring "Still Believe," Kim delivers a spine-tingling rendition of the Delirious? song, "Miracle Maker." The orchestra helps establish a moodiness and heft that suit the mystery and majesty of Jesus as the singer waits for healing: "I'm waiting here for my life to change / When the waters stir, you can rearrange me / Just one touch is all I need / I've nothing much but the wounds I feel / I'm looking for the hand of the miracle man."
The disc concludes in Jesus' presence with the peace-inducing "Healing Oil," where Kim simply repeats these two lines: "I can feel your healing oil running down my brow / I wouldn't trade another lifetime for how I feel right now."
Still Believe firmly establishes Kim Walker-Smith as a charismatic presence who can galvanize and embolden Christ's faithful followers, while simultaneously bringing hope and healing to the lost and the hurting. Her voice has a strength that can jumpstart your heart, while retaining enough gracefulness to serve as a balm. This live worship CD takes listeners on a spiritual journey that will leave them feeling profoundly alive and deeply grateful. I encourage you to hear and feel for yourself what Jesus is doing through this gifted woman!
Song to Download Now:
"Spirit Break Out" (Get it on iTunes here
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|A MUST-HAVE | Posted March 11, 2013
When it comes to contemporary Christian music, I get ramped-up most over such singer songwriters as Sara Groves
and Tal & Acacia
— artists who share their personal stories and testimonies via snappy and concise pop/rock ditties. However, I've been blown away recently by a couple of incredible Praise and Worship records. Produced by the collective from East Coast Christian Center
in Merritt Island, Florida, 2012's This Is Love
was far and away the year's best. And in 2013, the benchmark is being set by Jesus Culture
frontchick Kim Walker-Smith's
latest (semi) solo offering, Still Believe.
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 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 absolutely brilliant string 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.
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." Wow, now that's
some good preachin' right there!
Still Believe ends as strong as it begins, with the record's crowning jewel, "Healing Oil." And how else but in the Spirit can two simple lines, a mere twenty-one 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")
In sum, this is a must-have record, indeed!
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