Prime Cuts: His Banner Over Me, Keep the Light On, In the Whisper
Overall Grade: 3/5
On first blush, Christy Nockels' brand new album may be met with utter disappointment. After more than two years since her seminal "Let It Be Jesus," one would expect her to drop her next worship project. Rather, we get detoured with last year's Christmas offering. Then just as the momentum is building with Nockels' recently released worship single, a brilliant cover of Housefires' "Build My Life," we get a kids' album. Despite Nockels' heart-warming intentions to share the songs she sings to her children, kid's records have a mulish stigma. Other than new mothers mesmerized by pitter patter of children, the vast majority of people see a kids' album as an exercise of maudlin indulgence. If this is what you are thinking right now about this record, you are both right and wrong.
Like a zillion lullaby albums out there, these 15 songs all are slow and dreamy ballads. Nockels like many of her peers could not resist the cute kiddie songs such as "Pitter Patter Goes the Rain" and Lady and the Tramp's "La La Lu." And she even indulges in a Broadway-esque take of "The Sound of Music," although one has to stretch one's imagination a bit to see how this Julie Andrews' classic can be categorized as a lullaby. But as cliché as some of these songs are, the majority of the rest of the record is actually very good.
One of the album's most glowing moments is Nockels' take of old Vineyard classic "His Banner Over Me." Done slowly but nuanced with brimming understated emotions, Nockels' take of this old worship number is pulverizing. One would wish churches would revitalized this classic number. Unlike some lullaby numbers where mothers just want to hush their babies to sleep, Nockels' has a different goal. She's not just a sleep inducer. Rather, she wants to impact God's truth to young children. "Head to Toe" is a brilliant song about how we can appropriate Eph 6:13-2 into our daily lives. While "Keep the Light On" is one of the most Godly-comforts a mother can ever pronounce on her children. Given some tweaking, "In the Whisper" could even work as a worship song with its God-saturated lyrics.
Nevertheless, the record does fall into some of the soporific trappings of a lullaby album where piano ballads dominate. As a result, some same-ness prevails over some sectors of the record. After two excursions of side projects, one would hope Christy Nockels would get on the rails again by gracing us with a full-fledged worship album next. Please no more detours.