“Praising God is like pushing aside the clouds.”
Artist: Aaron Shust (www.aaronshust.com)
Label: Centricity Music
Length: 12 songs/45 minutes
“Morning Rises,” the title track of Aaron Shust’s latest, dawns with a series of cascading and echoing sounds. This segues into “God of Brilliant Lights,” a powerful anthem that provides a beautiful word-picture of God’s love: “He’s shining over us/Like the morning rises” (2 Peter 1:19).
The cover depicts beams of light slicing through layers of clouds that obscure a lush, green landscape. “Praising God is like pushing aside the clouds, allowing the Light of the Sun to pierce its way into my darkness,” Shust writes in the closing line of the liner notes.
Morning Rises is filled with praise that extols God’s majesty. If you have ever seen something like the Grand Teton mountain-range in Wyoming, you get a sense of that attribute, but Scripture tells us that God is more majestic, “Glorious are you, more majestic than the mountains of prey” (Psalm 76:4 ESV). Repeated declarations of God’s character and truth serve to elevate our minds to the reality that “Our God reigns!” This is reinforced by a band that provides epic sounds worthy of God’s grandeur.
It’s what makes “Deliver Me,” like a quiet respite from the tracks that thunder. It starts with just Shultz and his guitar and remains subdued throughout. It’s an earnest and vulnerable prayer, “Deliver me/Even when I am afraid (Psalm 56:3)/When the world around me shakes/I know You will never change” (James 1:17). The mood is trusting and hopeful.
This also includes the popular, “Cornerstone,” which combines lyrics from an ancient hymn with new words and music. It’s an excellent, straightforward rendition.
“Satisfy” has a starkness to it that captures the sentiment drawn from Psalm 63:1, “In a dry and thirsty land/You are the water.” The barren landscape of sound and the note of desperation reinforce the thought that only God will satisfy.
Shust sings all things well including the closing, new folk influenced, “Firm Foundation.”
Morning Rises is fresh evidence that there is more to Shust then “My Savior My God,” which earned him three Dove awards in 2007 for “Song of the Year,” “Songwriter of the Year,” and “New Artist of the Year.” I like everything here as much and more than that celebrated song.
Produced by Ed Cash (Chris Tomlin, Steven Curtis Chapman, Bebo Norman), this is Shust’s fifth album and the second consecutive one produced by Cash.