Karen Peck and New River “Lift His Name” Album Review

karen peck and new river

Prime Cuts: Made Right, All About Yes, Messiah Overcame

Overall Grade: 4.5/5

"Lift His Name," as the titular suggests, is filled with songs executed from a worshipful disposition. Though it is not be a corporate worship album per se, the record is filled with songs that come from a posture of submission and adoration to the majesty of Jesus.  There's such a sweet aroma around these tunes that makes this album especially heartfelt and endearing.  Moreover, the supremacy of Christ is never assumed.  Rather, like a kaleidoscope, each of these nine songs contributes a different shade of color to Christ's greatness, making the overall product a masterpiece.  Produced by the ubiquitous Wayne Haun, this album contains six brand new entries co-written by Karen Peck herself. And it also contains a conspicuous cover ---  Bethel Music's rootsy single from last year, "Ain't No Grave."

Three of the ballads on this record are in a class of their own and they deserve to be widely heard.  The first is the epic sounding "Messiah Overcame."  With a similar dramatic unfolding as Kari Jobe's "Forever," "Messiah Overcame" re-tells the Easter story with breathtaking intensity.  Peck's immaculate use of pauses, nuances and melissma make this track truly sublime.  Zechariah 4:6 comes alive with the reflective "Made Right." Gently nudging us to trust in the Spirit's power in times of turmoil, this song is faith-building stuff at its best.  Best among this treasured trio of ballads is "All About Yes." Flourished by a gorgeous melody, this ballad of unconditional surrender to God's greatness is so heartfelt that you can't help but want to use this as a daily prayer.

Though the rest of the songs don't come close to these magnificent three, lead single "The God I Serve" is not bad.  It's a made for radio number with a strong hook and a singable melody.  "The Book" has a nice retro sounding intro; while "The Love of Jesus" has a waltz-like country feel to it that is quite fetching.  "When I Lift Up the Name" is a track that needs careful listenings.  Making sapient observations of how worship impacts our lives and our circumstances, this song is a treasured trove that needs careful mining.  When Bethel Music first released "Ain't No Grove," it invites a Southern Gospel makeover right from the get-go.  Karen Peck and New River does this quirky rootsy tune justice by incarnating it with personality and individuality. 

Almost three years since their last album, Karen Peck and New River have returned with one of their most worshipful endeavors.  With songs solely focused on our Lord and the unfolding of the Gospel, this album is littered with lots of reflective moments.  This is especially true of the prime cuts singled out above; they truly need to be heard and lived out.



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