Prime Cuts: All Hail, Forever We Sing (Magnify), Death Was Arrested
Overall Grade: 4/5
Andy Garcia has a voice that commands attention. Immediately when he starts singing, he leaps right out of the speakers and grabs us at the heart. A generation or so ago, it is mostly the ladies who are the vocal powerhouses in music. Nowadays, the scene is littered with men who can not only belt the Mount Everest notes, but they are also not afraid to be demonstrative of their passion for Jesus in worship. Garcia joins this prestigious rank where Hillsong Worship's Joel Houston, the City Harmonic's Elias Drummer, Matt Redman and Chris Tomlin tarry. "Forever We Sing" finds Garcia partnering with DREAM Records (Cindy Cruse Ratcliff, New Hope Oahu) to release these 10 newly recorded songs. Conterminously bringing us into God's presence in worship as well as demonstrating a brokenness and an abandonment of the self, this is how worship needs to sound like.
Garcia has led worship all over the US and has mentored many others to do the same. His vision for this world is just as big as his heart to see people touched, and his passion will never let him quit. Garcia has worked in various ministry areas. From worship leading, outreach, church planting to young adult pastoring, his heart is to show Jesus to the people he meets and see God's presence minister to people. Garcia is also the founder of Unified Worship, a non-profit website/ministry that assists churches in finding musicians and singers.
"Forever We Sing," Garcia's debut record for DREAM Records, is a mixture of covers as well as originals. Let's start with the originals: "All Hail" is the most recognizable song in the canon. Utilizing the lyrics of the hymn "All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name," Garcia has creatively interweaved new synth-driven pop with the traditional hues of the church to a satisfying result. The title cut "Forever We Sing (Magnify)," written by Garcia and his son, has a stately hymnic structure that it could easily become an anthem of dynamic praise across the worship of countless churches.
Then Garcia shows his tender side with the powerhouse ballad "He Won't Leave You There." However, the melodic stamina of the tune is of no match to Garcia's vocal tour de force. Again "Heaven Fall Down" is let down by its thinly veiled melodic structure. Much better is the acoustic guitar-led "Thank You," where Garcia takes a recess from the bombast. The album closes with the Beach Boys-esque "You and Me" which is essentially a love song to his wife.
As for the covers: Northpoint Worship's "Death Was Arrested" gets a faithful read without much ingenuity involved. Precisely because of Garcia's booming voice, his rendition of "Furious" and "Be Exalted" sounds more convincing than the originals. At the end of the day, Garcia is a worship dynamite: he has a way of blasting away unbelief through his passionate worship. If you want your life challenged and transformed, I dare you to give this album a spin.