You know what’s even better than a really good worship album? A really good worship album with a live audience. Travis Ryan’s new EP You Hold It All has five great songs, but I appreciate them even more because they’re performed with a congregation, without the benefit of studio tricks.
Because it’s recorded live, you can tell that the songs are keyed well for congregational singing. The arrangements are congregation-friendly as well. In fact, Travis recorded this album at LifePoint Church, where he serves as Worship Pastor. These are songs written for and sung by the local church.
The opening track (“We Believe”) is essentially a musical creed, declaring a list of truths believed by those who follow Christ. And there’s a great line that starts off the third verse: “Let our faith be more than anthems, greater than the songs we sing.” It’s a nice reminder – during a song – that worship is more than music.
The second track, “Until My Voice Is Gone,” paints a picture of worshipping to a point of physical and spiritual exhaustion: “I raise my hands until my strength has faded.”
“Forever Holy,” the third song on the EP, really showcases the mix, which is extremely clean, especially for a live recording. In fact, if it weren’t for the sounds of the congregation singing along, you’d be hard pressed to tell that this wasn’t done in a studio.
The EP wraps up with an emotional conclusion in “You Hold It All.”
One thing I didn’t notice right away is how long some of the songs are. With four out of the five tracks clocking in at longer than fine minutes, I was surprised that none of them felt dragged out or overly lengthy. It’s a testament to good songwriting when that happens.