When I began doing some research on this band, the very first thing I read was in the About” section of their Facebook. It simply reads “It is good to give thanks to the Lord to sing praises to your name O Lord; to declare your steadfast love in the morning and your faithfulness by night to the music of the flute and the harp to the melody of the lyre [Psalm 92.1-3].”This gave me the most insight into this band their album and the state of mind with which it was written.
Great Awakening is a four-piece band of close-knit friends: Tanner Johnson Ben Woods Zach Janicello and Cole Johnson. Hailing from North Carolina the guys come together with a clear purpose: worship. Having debuted with their first album Cities in 2009 the members have since grown musically spiritually and in their bonds with each other.
Starting out as the worship team for their church’s 40-member youth group they experienced a growth that soon found them regularly worshipping with 200+ teenagers at any given service. It was then that the band decided to try writing their own songs. Having signed with ComeandLive! Records a unique ministry in its own Great Awakening has added a refreshing dynamic to the world of young worship bands. With a clear sincerity and desire to worship God Songs in Secret is an album that will stand the test of time and Great Awakening is a band that will only get better. “Explore” is perfectly named and a great opening song for this album. With an introduction of light guitar riffs and vocals there is a peace that practically radiates through your speakers. With a great arrangement this song offers a Rock edge with the line “Can I explore the depths of Your kindness/ Can I be found wasting my days on Your floor?” and a great anthem declaring “Nothing can hold me back anymore“My Gold” is one of my favorite songs on the album. While listening through the tracks I kept wanting to go back to this song. It touches my heart in such a way that reminds me just how personal worship should be. There is nothing overdone and there is a quiet acoustic feel to the song.”Maranatha” may have skipped the bells but it incorporates the whistles wonderfully and quite literally. This track has so many beautifulelements to it and really helps set the tone for the album. Multiple voices overlap each other and sing a distinct melody over light guitars and drums. It’s got a simplistic intricacy to itthat I find makes the song even more special. I have a feeling “Let Me Hear (Ravish Your Heart)” goes over very well in live performances. I am unsure if it was intentional but I love that a steady beat of the kick-drum is kept while he sings:”How much faster does my heart beat as You draw near? Come and hear“Another notable song is “The Invitation ” which is carried by strong vocals and a clean guitar sound. It has a brilliant sway to it and a gentle progression that makes me want to sing along.”Come; Follow” settles the tempo of the album. Incorporating piano gentle guitar picking and the drums it is beautifully sung with one of the loveliest endings of the entire album. It transitions gracefully to “Many Waters ” the closing song of the album.Lyrically “Many Waters” is outstanding from the very first verse:”Many waters cannot quench this mighty Love that You have for me/A thousand floods can not drown out Your blazing heart that ignites for me.“However it is the music that makes me feel as though the album could not have ended better. I always enjoy an ending track that can work back into the first one and I find it can do just that.Great Awakening has an honest sound. They seem to channel the same kind of stripped-down atmosphere as that of Aaron Gillespie or Brian Johnson and I am sure it is only amplified in a live performance. I am excited to have heard this album early in the band’s existence. I believe the sky is the limit for these guys for all of the right reasons. They are talented musicians dedicated to their craft and above all have an obvious passion for hearts of worship and a desire to share that.This is one of those bands that could easily become a favorite because they so willingly share with others. There are a lot of artists that I feel connected to but not involved with when I hear their music. Great Awakening breaks through that barrier and creates music that not only speaks to your heart but invites it to seek after the same source as the musicians who wrote it. Instead of making you feel like you are watching this band from afar or hearing their music from a distance this album is personal reminding you that we’re all part of something greater and we’re all part of it together.Be blessed.