Saturday, September 18, 2010

I Have a Song - Shannon Wexelberg

Encouragement wrapped in hope

I Have a Song
Artist: Shannon Wexelberg (http://www.shannonwexelberg.com/)
Label: Discovery House Music (www.dhp.org/music)
Length: 11 tracks/58:38 minutes

On “Jehovah Shalom” Shannon Wexelberg sings, “In the darkness Your presence wraps around me / Like a blanket of rest that covers me.” It’s a comforting thought, one of many on I Have a Song. The Biblical worldview, winsome melodies and inspirational pop provide powerful consolation.

It springs from a season of suffering. When Wexelberg began writing in the spring of 2009 (aside from a few hymns she writes all the songs), her husband had just started to recover from a terrible motorcycle accident in which he broke 23 bones and endured three major surgeries. As she applied the finishing touches in early 2010, a devastating earthquake struck Haiti on January 12th. As she pondered these events, she could not escape a bigger reality; God is faithful and full of love. Even in tragedy there is hope. There is music. There is song.

The title track epitomizes this release. The music is basic and highly accessible, tending toward adult contemporary and inspirational. The words have depth and restrained production makes them stand out. Wexelberg is blessed with a voice capable of a gentle caress or belting-out an anthem. The song ends with a stanza from “His Eye is on the Sparrow.”

The CD includes a few hymn interludes and a complete version of “’Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus.” As pleasant as these are, she shines brightest on her own material. The songwriting is excellent. “Becoming” is a stripped-down, keyboard affair that conveys a longing to be like Christ in every way. You can feel the tenderness and intimacy.

Songs with faster tempos have a fuller sound and a hint of edginess. “Boundless” rocks! It’s the kind of song that makes you want to stand and pump your fist in the air. It’s a victorious declaration of the lack of limits to God’s love.

Wexelberg varies the styles and hits the mark each time. Typical of the publisher, this strikes a cautious but wholesome balance between ministry and relevance. Discovery House Publishers is known for products that feed the soul, and this is no exception. It’s a triumph for publisher and artist.
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