Casting Crowns

Album Title: Lifesong
Release Date: August 30, 2005
Genre: Rock/Pop
Casting Crowns don't make good music; they create great music! The band is led by Mark Hall the youth pastor from McDonough, Georgia, who has come up with another runaway hit album in Lifesong, released on August 30th. On a CD that is filled with great selection of rock / pop worship anthems it will be interesting to see which song takes the longest run at the top of the charts.

Producer Mark Miller of Sawyer Brown fame has once again combined with Casting Crowns to come up with a project that doesn't merely rely on hooks and gimmicks but is simply good art that is enjoyable to listen to and easy to sing along with.

I wouldn't be surprised if some day we find the beautifully voiced Megan Garrett debuts a solo album. The female vocalist for the song "Stain Glass Masquerade" shines on the solo portion of the song. Garrett and Melodee Devevo combine for a beautiful duet during the song "In Me".

At a recent concert in Toronto, Devevo and Garrett proved they can hold their own with the spotlight on them. This however should not be surprising as not only are they gifted but the whole premise of Casting Crowns is that the group is a ministry focused team. They are not content to be talented singers and musicians.

Mark Hall writes in your face lyrics, but with compassion, not confrontationally. The beautiful "Does Anybody Hear Her" asks the Christian community to examine our motives and prejudices. Are we quick to judge? Do the lost slip under the radar because like the Pharisees of Jesus' day we are too quick to dismiss those that are hurting when they don't conform to our artificial standards? The song's missive is we can only make a difference when we allow ourselves to be instruments of God's love so the hurting can indeed see there is a difference between God's people and a world without Him.

"Set Me Free" rises like a battle cry from the voice of Mark Hall. The use of strings complimenting Devevo's violin and bassist Chris Huffman create dark shadows as the singer leads us into war against all evil.

I was driving in my car the first time I heard "Love Them Like Jesus". Anyone who has been part of a failed marriage or has known a close friend or family member who has been touched by such tragedy will be moved to tears by this compassionate tune. I was reminded of a godly woman whose life and the lives of her three young children were shattered two years ago through no fault of her own. The love of her life is drifting away / They're losing the fight for another day / The life that she's known is falling apart / A fatherless home, a child's broken heart/ The song is not only written for the one whose marriage has fallen apart but for those of us who seek to provide answers. In my friend's case she was surrounded by a loving family. If you listen to only one song on this album listen to this one.

As I was listening to "While You Were Sleeping" and several other songs from this CD Hall's vocals took me back to another day and time and the sound of Neil Diamond in the 1970's.

Guitarists Juan Devevo, Hector Cervantes and drummer Andy Williams round out Casting Crowns.

If you have never picked up a Casting Crowns CD or attended one of their concerts then I would urge you to do so. As I said at the beginning of this review this is a band that simply creates great music that has a message for all of us whether you are a follower of Jesus Christ or are hurting and confused. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina and before that the Tsunami tragedy we need hope and Casting Crowns is a messenger of that hope.

Writer: Joe Montague

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