A real gem and a must for any MercyMe or Worship music fan are just two ways to describe The Worship Sessions.
It took a while for this CD to reach the UK, previously it had only been available at tours or in the USA - but this autumn witnessed it's UK release and here at Eden.co.uk we just couldn't wait to get our hands on it.
MercyMe have always been a band that produced special songs and albums. The MercyMe Live DVD is still my favourite worship video footage more than 8 years after I first saw the DVD.
The Worship Sessions is a CD that fans had been anticipating and requesting for a number of years, having heard MercyMe sing a number of popular worship songs at their live events. It's an album that doesn't disappoint.
Many of the songs on the CD are popular in Sunday morning worship across the UK and quite a number are written by UK artists. They show an intimate side to MercyMe with lots of really beautiful, thoughtful arrangements. This is by far my favourite worship album of this year not just because of the songs, or the fact that MercyMe are one of my favourite worship groups, but because the selection of tracks makes this one the most enriching and complete worship experiences that has been released in 2012.
Starting with 'Hungry', the opening to The Worship Sessions is stripped back and atmospheric, Bart Millard's voice and the simple piano accompaniment ushers you into a place of worship. Next the band covers the well known 'Hosanna'. Intially the song has more accompaniment but is then stripped bare for the chorus. This song really suits Millard's vocal tone and I can't image ever getting tired of hearing it.
'My Glorious' takes things a little more up tempo and has a slight blue grass feel, which for me is a guilty pleasure - so this version of the well known Delirious? track was a surprise after the opening of the album, but works really well from this new perspective.
Over the last few years 'Mighty to Save' has become one of the most sung choruses in churches all around the globe, this MercyMe version is one you'll easily be able to join in with. It leads perfectly into 'Come Thou Font' and 'You're Beautiful', by this point in the album I really felt like I was part of one of the most anointed worship events ever encountered. I knew the words and yet at moments I felt like I was hearing the songs for the very first time.
Again the tempo changes and we're treated to 'Hearts Sing Louder'. This lightens the mood of the album moving the listener into a echo of praise. This time of praise continues through the next two tracks before almost coming full circle with the simple yet deeply moving 'In Christ Alone' - and drawing to a close with the much older final hymn 'There is a Fountain'.
There are many really wonderful worship CDs available. But few manage to achieve what I believe 'The Worship Sessions' offers - an opportunity to join with the psalmist. 'To enter his gates with thanksgiving...and his courts with praise...to rejoice and be glad' a complete worship encounter. If you have the time, listen to this in its entirety. From start to finish this is CD is an experience born out of a real heart for worship.
November 25th, 2012 - Posted & Written by Jo Pountney