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CD_EP_341_specKim Walker-Smith & Skyler Smith
Jesus Culture Music
onlyloveremains.com

Kim Walker-Smith’s earthy vocals are usually found gliding over the live setting of a Jesus Culture conference release, lifting the passionate sung prayers with an earnest and immediate intensity. It’s so familiar that, for better or worse, it has become stylized and emulated ubiquitously in the worship genre. Enter Skyler Smith. Home is the nuptial collaborative of Walker-Smith and Smith. Studio produced and not going for the Jesus Culture grandiosity, Home hitches its approach to intimacy. And the result is a brand new version of a worship leader that has already been used to impact people around the globe. Home is nothing less than refreshing, and lovely. Of course, like a marriage, Home is a joint affair. And though KWS rightly leads on the vocal front on most tracks, Skyler’s presence adds a deeper quality with his sandpaper vocals and well-placed harmonies. Stylistically you will hear traces of Jesus Culutre in the beautiful orchestration, but really the approach is more of an electro-organic, rootsy collage, infused with subtle traces of the anthemic JC style.

On the poetry front, much like the JC releases, Home keeps things visceral. When you pray these prayers you aren’t getting a 10-point sermon, but you are getting heart-truths. We could call these spiritual songs. Thematically, as one might suppose, Home focuses on the love between Christ and his bride—his unrelenting pursuit, and the only place where the faithful can find the peace of finally reaching “Home”: the peace of Christ. Of course the double entendre of the lyrics are not lost on listeners: “I have found my home in you” is directed at God, but will certainly be gracing the altars of many wedding ceremonies in the ensuing years (along with “Me One and Only,” a song a bit more straightforward about the love between man and wife). The deeper beauty on this entire release is that this Home is available here while on earth. This is no “I’ll Fly Away” record; God’s presence is concrete and available (“Beauty of Your Presence”). His gaze is constantly on us, and we see him face-to-face even as we wait for the fruition (“Face to Face”). And he pursues us where we are in this moment (“Unstoppable Love”).

With this creative and authentic endeavor the Smiths have created something special. Worship leaders will find a couple of new songs for corporate worship, and worshipers will be led to an outpouring of adoration as well as receiving the life-changing love that is directed back towards us from the creator of everything. Powerful and immediate, Home is true to its goal: give worshipers a place to wrap themselves fully in the arms of the Father. Oh, and a couple of wedding songs are an added bonus.

Jeremy Armstrong
4 stars

 

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