Prime Cuts: I Can Feel You Healing Me, Far Enough, Worship You Again
The title of the Taylors' latest StowTown release "Hope and Healing" isn't accidental. Rather, these 13 newly recorded songs are truly palliative; they have helped the Taylors over a period of suffering and transition. Sadly, during the recording of this new record, the Taylors' grandfather passed away. As a result, these songs became more than just music entries for a project, but they became friends; friends to comfort, strength, and ultimately to bring hope in Christ Jesus. Moreover, this new record also came at a time when the Taylors transition from a quartet into a trio when Leslie and Aaron answered a call to minister at a church in Myrtle Beach, SC..
As the album titular "Hope and Healing" suggests, many of these songs have a convalescing effect especially to those of us who have been hurt by disappointments and sufferings. One of the reasons why these songs are effective is because they know how to channel our pain to God himself. Written by Pamela Furr & Tanya Goodman Sykes, the ballad "Call Out My Name" sweeps us right into God's presence emptying our aches before Him.
Worthy of mention is "I Can Feel You Healing Me." This is not only one of the Taylors' most heartfelt ballads, but it nails judiciously down the theology of healing. While some have erred on the side that God only heals in a miraculous instant, this song allows God to be God. The song prays for the humility to allow God to heal whether it is in an instant or over a process of time. Also anchoring in the beautiful balladry tradition is the piano-led "I Hope He Smiles On Me," which features some sublime and soul-soothing sibling harmonies.
Sandy Blythe's hymn-like "Worship You Again" is easily a career-defining song. It takes the theme of healing a step farther. Precisely because we can trust that God is concurrently good and sovereign, "Worship You Again" gets us to worship even when "burdens of this life are heavy on my mind." "Far Enough" zooms in on God's love and faithfulness as exemplified by the death and the resurrection of Christ. Newly written by producer Wayne Haun & Jeff Bumgardner, "Far Enough" has the word "classic" stamped all over it.
Precisely because the ballads aforementioned are so stellar, the uptempoes (though still good) pale a little in comparison. Lead single "He Won't Fail You" has a intransigent-sounding banjo bluegrassy feel; while "Between Here and Heaven" has a nice driving fluidity to it. But the gist of this record is in the ballads especially the songs that address the issue of God's goodness in our suffering. Unlike the friends of Job who were useless to him in his misery, these songs are going to be our stormy weathered friends; friends who can draw us into worship in our most troubled times.