Prime Cuts: Everlasting Arms, Speak, Praise the Name of Jesus
Overall Score: 5/5
The Internet has made the world smaller. Now, with just a click of a browser we can access music from all corners of the earth. Gone are the days you need to pay a hefty levy and wait forever in order to order an imported CD. This has exposed us to artists all over the globe. Lou Fellingham, may be a new name to many of us, but in her native UK, she's already a worship music veteran. "This Changes Everything," released by Integrity Music UK, is actually her sixth solo album, but her first live record.
Recorded at the Old Market Theatre in Brighton, UK, the album features 12 new songs plus a cover of Matt Maher's "Lord I Need You." The twelve new tracks have each been written in collaboration with other writers, from Jake Isaac, Chris Eaton and Michael Farren, to Noel Robinson, Tom Read, Gard Sadler, Mark Tedder and Emma Pears as well as her husband, Nathan Fellingham.
Fellingham started out as the lead singer of Christian rock band Phatfish. For almost two decades, they recorded eight albums, toured extensively throughout the UK, Canada and America. Later, Lou Fellingham became an integral part of the worship team at the Stoneleigh Bible weeks. Now, we get a foretaste of her leading worship via this new record, which is produced by Sam Cox (Fascinate) and mixed by Sam Gibson (Kari Jobe/ Jesus Culture).
As soon as the first song starts rolling, you know Fellingham is schooled in the likes of Graham Kendricks, Stuart Townsend, and Keith & Kristyn Getty. Never one to settle for mere conversational platitudes devoid of any integration with poetry, with "Everlasting Arms," Fellingham takes the works of Annie J. Flint and sets it to tune of a gorgeous ballad. The lyrics by themselves are worthy of careful rumination: "He giveth more grace as our burdens grow greater/He sendeth more strength as our labors increase/To added afflictions He addeth His mercy/To multiplied trials He multiplies peace."
With a tintinnabulating piano orchestrating in the background, she delivers the ballad "Speak." Utilizing a judicious dose of both heart and Holy Spirit-uction, this track is nothing short of stunning. Never one to keep abreast with predictability is "Strong to Deliver." The serpentine use of changing chord progression gives this anthemic an Eastern-like flavour that is indeed a stand-out. Then with "Praise the Name of Jesus," Fellingham keeps things simple but spot-on. "Praise" is a no frills invocation of Christ's presence in worship that ought to make its way into the repertoire of worship leaders.
In a genre that is moving more and more to heavy balladry, the flowing "The Final Say" is a welcome addition. "The Final Say" glowingly and rightly anchors the authority in the Cross and resurrection of Jesus. Continuing on the same lyrical trajectory is "The Gospel Changes Everything," a track that calls to mind Meredith Andrews' "The Gospel Changes Everything." Though this record only gets to be released in the UK, now with the accessibility of the Internet, we too get to enjoy this stellar piece of live worship. God is indeed working powerful all across the globe, and Lou Fellingham is a fine testimony of this.