Kim Walker-Smith “On My Side (Live)” Album Review

Kim Walker-Smith

Prime Cuts: Glimpse, I Know, Undone

Overall Grade: 3/5

One is not sure why a worship artist would want to release a live album a few months after her studio counterpart. There's nothing wrong with a live record per se; but the merit of such a project is significantly questionable if the "live" album is only pseudo-live. Though "On My Side (Live)" may be marketed as a live record, but is it really?  The recording is impeccably spot-on.  There are virtually no impromptu ad libs, no accident instrumental slip-ups, no out-of tune notes, no audience participation (save for the cordial clapping that dovetails each song), and no interruptions.  One wonders if this really is a live album or a studio album endowed with some programmed hoopla from the crowd?   

If this is a pseudo-live record, what's the point of this project? All the 8 songs here can already be found in the original recording.  And to add more fury to the fire, there's not much of a difference between the two sets of recordings; at least not enough to warrant a fan to part her or his money for.  Truth be told, if you have owned the original "By My Side," there's not much you are missing at round two. 

Nevertheless, with that said, the songs themselves are good. Almost a year after they have been released, time has indeed marinated these songs well.  Blessed with irascible pipes that calls to mind a fervid Adele, Walker-Smith goes for the kiln with "Glimpse."   A bold plea to want more of God in our lives; this is the type of songs we need to fill our churches with. "I Know" is a turbo-charged anthem of affirmation of God's faithfulness.  The deliberate echo to the hymn "The Solid Rock" adds heft to this mighty piece of worship music.  

"Undone" is the epic nerve of this record.  With loads of vulnerable moments in display, this gets to the heart of what surrender to Christ means.  The title cut "On My Side" doesn't shy away in modest platitudes.  But in bold strides, both vocally and lyrically, this is one of the best testimonies of Christ's abiding presence caught on tape. Similarly, "Throne Room" makes no comprises as far as Jesus' awe and majesty are concerned.

Though the whole concept of a "live" record may be a faux, this doesn't diminish the fact that it's a great collection of God-exalting worship songs.  Nevertheless, if you don't own these songs, it may worthwhile getting the original studio version of "On My Side."  Not only are the live version not that different from their studio counterparts, the original pressing has more songs.  This live edition may be more for Jesus Culture or Kim Walker-Smith's completist.



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