Anderson’s previous release was titled Live From My Church; The Narrow Road, his followup, and fifth offering with Integrity music, is neither live nor from his church. A studio project, and more from a personal point of view than congregational, this is devotional listening from an artist who maintains a worship outlook even in a release not necessarily intended for the Sunday worship. The Narrow Road opens up heavy with a familiar Desperation Band anthemic/guitar drive, but from the fourth track the reigns are handed to a more personable piano and subsequently, it gets better. In this vein a surprise standout comes halfway through in a piano/vocal Southern-gospel-ish turn of the century hymn of faith. And the slow building “When the King Comes” carries a simple but powerful Advent theme that may offer a fresh take for congregations this coming December.
The poetry of TNR seems to pour forth from the straightforward heart of a pastor. And the lyrical art is extracted directly from the art of ministry: “My God will supply all my needs” (“According to His Word”), “The narrow road is the one I’ll travel on” (“The Narrow Road”), “All who are weary come to the fountain” (“Behold Your God”), “Bless the Lord oh my soul” (“Bless the Lord”). The downside to this is that the images are largely commonplace in the Christian vernacular, rendering them less powerful; the benefit, however, is the fact that they are biblical truths. Listening, engaging, participating with Anderson’s music, you are encountering the Word of God in musical form. And there is truth and transformation in their use and prayer.
More: With the heart and passion of a pastor, Anderson pours the gospel into his music. Singing his songs is singing the Scriptures. This is the kind of music that heals souls.
Less: The first three guitar-driven songs feel a bit forced and generally less passionate/authentic than the rest of the largely piano-driven release.