Prime Cuts: My Prayer For You, Lift My Eyes, As It is Heaven
Overall Grade: 4.5/5
Alisa Turner has a voice that pulverizes. With a striking clarity of a Jenn Johnson, a worshipping lilt of Darlene Zschech, and an undergirding Holy-Spirit-power of Kim Walker-Smith, Tuner makes you stop and worship along when she sings. One of the reasons why Turner is such an attention grabber is because she has the uncanny ability of expressing both joy and suffering in her nuances. Turner is no stranger to suffering. Since her childhood, the singer-songwriter has battled the debilitating effects of Lyme Disease. This was followed by the unexpected death of her worship pastor dad, hospitalizations brought on by the ravages of her disease, and losing her infant son only minutes after he was born. Pain has a way of tilting the soil of our hearts to make worship flourish with more fecundity.
Following in her worship-leader-dad's footsteps, Turner has developed a passion for worship music. Along the way, she has worked, toured and written with a variety of artists including Robbie Seay, songwriter Cary Barlowe (Carrie Underwood) and Tenth Avenue North. Alisa is signed with Integrity Music, and in addition to her self-titled solo debut, she appears on the All About Worship album, My Pursuit. Alisa Turner's self-titled debut EP, released by Integrity Music, is produced by Grammy-nominated, Dove Award-winning Michael Farren and it features 6 of Turner's co-writes.
EP opener "Lift My Eyes" belongs in the class of Chris Tomlin's "Whom Shall I Fear (God of Angel Armies)" and Darlene Zschech's "In Jesus' Name," it's a bold proclamation of God's sovereignty that leaves you breathless in His awesome presence. "As It is Heaven" (also recorded by co-writer Corey Voss) takes a hike into heaven and brings back to earth all of the King's goodness. "My Prayer for You" is an instant grabber of the heart. With a soaring piano-centered melody, Turner prays for the disheartened, not so much that they might feel better but that God may be greater. Such Godly prayer truly captures the heart of the Apostle Paul in Eph. 1: 18-20.
"Psalm 13," a song of lament, is not often the type of song that inspires worship songwriters. But Turner, producer Michael Farren and multiple#1 singles songwriter Tony Wood, gorgeously set this unusual psalm to music accompanied only by the piano. "Not Even Now" is a tad on the generic side as Turner sings about the undefeatable power of God. Taking a more autobiographical turn is "More Than Gonna Make It," Turner recounts with lots of passion how the Lord had brought her through her prodigious trials.
Nevertheless, one has a tooth to pick with regards to this EP. Considering Integrity Music's long standing ethos of championing the cause of church worship music, one would imagine that this is also this EP's goal. If this were the case, some of the songs here need to have a more collective focus. "My Prayer for You," "More than Gonna Make It" and "Lift My Eyes" were written from the perspective of the individual with the individual in mind. If they were to be sung in churches, they would feed into the perennial criticism that modern worship is far too individualistic and not collective enough for the congregation. As a constructive challenge, Turner needs to move beyond herself to capture the heart of the church. In this regard, her label mate Darlene Zschech is most helpful.