Prime Cuts: Here with Me, Pocketful of Faith, The Way
Tim Hughes' brand new solo worship album "Pocketful of Faith" is a transition record. It's for those of us who are transitioning though from one phase of life into another. Presenting to us a bag full of travelling accessories, these are songs that compass us with hope, faith, encouragements, and worship all indispensable for our journeys. And if Hughes sounds as if he has a deep personal investment in this record, it's because this album is also a transition record for him too. Many of these songs were birth out of Hughes' decision to relocate from London to Birmingham where he has begun a new ministry serving as the Priest-in-charge of St. Luke's Parish and where he has had also planted a new church in the heart of the city's entertainment district.
Hughes is one of England's leading veteran as far as worship music is concerned. Since his university days, Hughes has already been crafting songs for the service of the church. His portfolio includes the Dove Award winning modern worship anthem "Here I Am To Worship" as well as "Happy Day," "Beautiful One" and "At Your Name." "Pocketful of Faith" is the English worship leader's fifth solo album released via Integrity Music. Following the template set out by his preceding albums, this album finds Hughes co-writing with a red-carpet of Who's Who in worship music including Martin Smith, Matt Redman, Reuben Morgan, Phil Wickham, Jonas Myrin and Tim's Worship Central teammates Nick Herbert, Luke Hellebronth and Ben Cantelon.
For those of us suffering from cold-feet at the commencement of our life's journeys, "Here With Me" not only warms our feet but also our hearts. With an ingenious stroke of adding Phil Wickham not only as a co-writer but also as vocal partner, "Here With Me" is a crescendo building anthem of worship that calls to mind Hughes' "Here I Am to Worship." Most refreshing is the title cut "Pocketful of Faith." Featuring some tender piano lines to start off with before giving in to some Coldplay-esque soft pedalling pop beats, "Pocketful of Faith" is about surrendering the little we have for God to use. "Hope and Glory" follows in the footsteps of Matt Redman's "It is Well with My Soul" which utilizes a sturdy hymnic frame to encapsulate a heartfelt cry to God to move powerfully in our lives again.
But not everything works. Despite having Hillsong's worship pastor Reuben Morgan to share his pen, "Symphony" resides mostly in anonymous territory. Its melody is far too nebulous lacking a strong hook for congregations to latch on to; the same can be said of "Sky High" and "The Cross Stands." A tad better is the reflective "Arms;" a song that shows Hughes' mettle as a worship ballad scribe. "The Way," which was a cynosure track on Worship Central's latest album, is given a slightly more polished feel. Nevertheless, "The Way" is still one of the boldest declaration of how God can break through the barriers standing in our journeys. For those of us who are sojourners in the path of faith, Hughes' "Pocketful of Faith" is an essential compass.