On his third studio album, Shawn McDonald returns to his 'roots'. In the past two years, Shawn has released an album, recorded a live album, got married, headlined two tours for RIPEN, became a father this past spring, and wrote/recorded his new album Roots. That pace would force anyone to 'slow down' (one of the songs on Roots) and get reconnected with life, family, God, and that's just what Shawn is doing. Roots contains songs that point us back to ure, find clarity in our lives, and return to what's most important"the roots of our faith. The bluesy soul of Shawn along with upbeat, energetic songs returns on Roots satisfying long-time fans and garnering many new ones.
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ROOTS| Posted September 29, 2008
You’ll feel misled, trust me. I understand that, lyrically speaking, Roots is a reference to the spiritual theme dominant on Shawn McDonald’s latest—an exploration of the soul’s grounding in God. Still, you purchase a CD for the music, and Roots is hardly an apt description.
Instead, McDonald branches out with an expansive musical vision and brilliance unlike anything he’s previously released. “Clarity” bursts forth with a Jason Mraz-like enthusiasm, albeit slightly overproduced. Still, the track expands McDonald’s repertoire slightly into electric territory. “Captivated” follows with an orchestral opening as McDonald waxes on the surrounding world that inspires and moves him before settling into familiar acoustic ground.
“You are what I long to find to melt this cold heart of mine/ ‘Cause when you are around, I’m found,” McDonald admits on the seasonally sparse “Winter.” It’s a poetic musical turn that McDonald has proven himself so good at, time and again. “Waltz in 3” moves in a whimsical, fairy-tale sort of musical motion and showcases McDonald at the height of his sonic stretches.
Of course, such exploration leads to mistakes as well. The largely forgettable “Slow Down” makes one wonder what exactly McDonald is going for. However, Roots reaches new heights for an already impressive singer/songwriter. - Matt Conner
This review has been reprinted on NRT with permission from CCMMagazine.com. Click here to visit CCMMagazine.com today!
Shawn McDonald [Roots]| Posted September 24, 2008
In the newest Shawn McDonald album Roots, you contemplate on where is he going with this thought of roots. It is determined and understood that he is actually referring to the roots of a tree, growing deeper and deeper into the ground so that the tree can stand freely and strong. That can also be used as a metaphor in our lives as Christians.
In the song titled “Clarity” it refers to our earthly lives: beaten, torn apart, and shattered. Longing for clarity, truth, peace, freedom, guidance, love, and to be whole, but there is no way that this can be done without a Savior.
The only one that can fill that role is our Lord, Jesus Christ, for without Him nothing is possible. For my Savior captivates me, washes me clean, is the Light that guides me through the darkness, and will never turn His back on you. These concepts are realized in the tracks titled, “Captivated”, “Wash Me Clean”, “Shadowlands”, “Light”, and “Winter”.
“Shadowlands” concept is a lyrical form of Psalms 23. This is a powerful Psalm and I encourage all to take a glance at it.
In the track “Roots” you hear that a root is there for one purpose, to be support for the object that rests upon it. For without strong roots, it has no strength to hold itself up… that is the same thing about our lives. Without the word and knowledge of the Lord we are weak. For the word is a living word of a living God and will never change. It is truth.
For roots to grow they have to be planted and the Bible teaches us that we will reap what we sow.
Time is essence, time is short, time is everything; but there is a purpose for everything. It just takes time. This is expressed in the song “Time”.
“Hallelujah” is a song that gives us insight that by our actions is how we obtain our blessing and everything else good that comes our way it is all in the hands of God.
This album does have some powerful concepts and a powerful metaphor of what roots are. There is no way we can stand on our own. Jesus is our roots. We need Him.
So embrace yourself in the word of the Lord and let your roots grow deeper in the ground. We also need to be the water and pour our love, respect, and knowledge onto others so they can grow. We are to put each other into a higher level of respect and hold each other accountable for our actions.
This album is truly unique and carries a good message, but it could be missed if not listened to carefully. We need Jesus, who is our foundation for everything and we are nothing without Him.
Rating: 8.1 out of 10 (81%, B-)
Review written by: Barry Collins
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Best so far!!| Posted May 23, 2008
Seriously, Roots, is Shawn McDonald's best so far! It's the acoustic / folk / pop / alt we've come to love from him - just upped 100 notches or so. The singer/songwriter has truly found his nitch, apparently, and has fashioned an album that creatively combines simple with artistic. Lyrically the songs are more deeply grounded scripturally than his previous efforts, often pondering or meditating the wisdom of Psalms or Proverbs. "Captivated", "Light" and Hallelujah" are, for me, the most stand-out and memorable tracks, as well as "Winter". On this album, it's as if someone took the Shawn McDonald we've known up until now, thrown in a little Shane & Shane, Damien Rice and Jon Foreman (solo - sans Switchfoot), shaken it altogether... and the final result is an album that defines Shawn and his muisc perfectly! Seriously, the best yet!
Shawn At His Best!| Posted May 21, 2008
I believe this may be Shawn's best CD to date. I got it shortly after its release and it was all I listened to for probably two weeks straight. It is such great album. Shawn typically has new, creative ideas and sounds to each album. 'Roots' brings many styles and ideas from his previous albums, rolling it into one new creation. It such a diverse CD. I would recommend this CD to anyone, you will like at least a few songs if not all. I really love this CD and look forward to the next one.
New Roots| Posted May 15, 2008
With this album Mcdonald when away from his roots (first albums) and started to grow and show new roots in music with at times almost a carribean beat or flow. I am totally in love with this album not as much yet but with time I'm postive I will be.
Roots| Posted March 29, 2008
Shawn McDonald is by far my favorite artist. Clarity, Captivated, and Greed are probably the most popular songs on this album. Overall I was pleased with this album. He has a good blend of upbeat and calm songs. I am split on which version of "Shadowlands" I like better. The only song I was really disappointed with on this album was "Slow Down" because of the dry music and lyrics. I have struggled with the meaning of this song, but aside from that I would recommend buying this album.
New and improved sound Shwn McDonald| Posted March 26, 2008
Shawn Mcdonald just realesed Roots a few weeks ago and I am one of those guy who whene there is an artist that I like releases a new cd I have to get it that day. But not this time it accutually took me a couple of days to decied if I wanted to buy this cd. Shawn McDonalds first couple of cd's were masterpices and I love every one but whene Ripne came and I bought it I was sorely dissapointed with his "new" sound I has actually mad. And so whene Roots came out I wasnt sure if I wanted to get his new album knowing that his sound had changed. So decieded to go ahead and buy the cd and if i didn't like it I would just give it to my friend who likes every thing. I started to listen to the first two songs and instantly fell in love with them. Shawn really took his sound to a new level with Roots. Really combindeing his firts cd's and Ripen together and then adding some synth into it to make (In my oppinion) one of his best cd's. The whole cd is like a roller caster in the way that the songs start fast then mid-cd slow down then speed up and by the end of the cd slows down again. The whole cd focuses on needing God and the need of being firmly implanted in Him and also of God's absoulut beauty and love. If like Shawn Mcdonald and where dissapointed by Ripen this is a good album to fall back in love with. Is it better than Simply nothing? no, but It comes close. 4.5 out of 5
Lovely| Posted March 24, 2008
That's the only word I can find to describe Shawn's music. It's straight from the heart and beautiful. The music, the lyrics don't hide anything and speak a clear message. It usually takes me a while to get to really like his CDs, but it's so worth it! I can use a different Shawn song to be the theme song to many different periods of my life. I feel like I know him through his music. He's an amazing artist who isn't afraid to sound different. I'm so thankful for his talent!