Prime Cuts: Sound of Your Kingdom, God Who Moves the Mountains, Lay It At the Cross
It's difficult to phantom that Jaci Velasquez has not released a worship album before. Having three platinum and three gold albums, 16 singles # 1 singles, 7 Dove Awards, and 5 Grammy nominations under her belt, it's finally time for Velasquez to record an album where all the songs are directed towards God. The genesis of the album is nothing short of heartwarming: awakened in the middle of the night by her 7 year-old Soren who was having "bad dreams," Velasquez consoled him and decided to play a song she recently received from Integrity Music, "God Who Moves The Mountains," written by David Leonard (All Sons & Daughters), Dustin Smith and Richie Fike. The experience gave birth in Velasquez a desire to record an album's worth of worship songs.
Though she has spent most of her storied career with WORD Entertainment and later a one-album stint with Inpop Records, for "Trust" Velazquez has decided to partner with the mother imprint of worship music, Integrity Music (Darlene Zschech, Paul Baloche). Produced by All Sons and Daughters' Leonard and Chris Bevins (Salvador, Phillips Craig & Dean), "Trust" features 10 newly cut studio recordings. However, fans who have waited over 5 years for a new Velasquez' album (her last English album was 2012's "Diamonds") will be disappointed to discover that 4 of the songs here are covers. But, most consoling is that these 4 entries are not the over-recycled favorites that you hear churches singing over and over again.
The buzz track is the radio single "God Who Moves the Mountain." Formerly cut by Dustin Smith, the power of the song resides in the fact that it is a song that not only speaks to the heart but also to the eyes. When Velasquez sings, "The rocks are falling, the broken calling/To the God who moves the mountains/The earth is shaking, the weary waking," you can't help but feel the debris falling all across us as God moves the mountains out of our paths. Few songs today are as visual and as graphic as this powerful mountain shovel. Another gem is "Sound of the Kingdom." If you think that the 80s neutron dance swirls are no longer in vogue, listen to the hooky "Sound of the Kingdom." With every iota of cheesiness eschewed, the fat loopy dance beats of this song make the celebration of God's kingdom coming upon us such a joyous partying affair.
"Lay It At the Cross" recalls Velazquez in her commercial prime easily rivaling some of her earlier hits such as "Imagine Me Without You" and "On My Knees." Anchoring on a mind-engraving melody, "Lay It At the Cross" finds Velasquez inviting us to lay all our questions, hurts, disappointments, and even our anger at the Cross. The record takes a ruminative turn with the beat-driven ballad "Rest." Written by Velasquez, her hubby Nic Gonzales, and Integrity Music's Greg Sykes, "Rest" is a much needed recess for the soul as it invites us to solidify our trust in Jesus by relinquishing our all to Him. Matt Redman's "Great is Thy Faithfulness," a song that owes too much lyrically to the hymn of the same titular, is worthy of reprisal again. However, Velasquez adds nothing new to All Sons and Daughters' "Great Are You Lord."
The pride of Michael Farren, Mike Grayson & Seth Mosley's "It's Never As Dark As It Seems" is in the sentiments and the theology of the song. However, it is a tad too introspective to work as a congregation geared worship number. The same can be said of "Trust in You." Nevertheless, this is an excellent worship album and it does not show any slippage on the part of Velasquez in keeping up with her lofty standard of great songs. Let's hope this will be the first of many worship albums in Velasquez's discography.