|LABEL: Word Records|
SPECIAL EFFECT(S): Ortega is so good that this disc has drawn out label mate Amy Grant for a rare duet on "Come, Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy."
PRODUCER(S): John Andrew Schreiner
It's not that the modern worship movement is more flash than substance but few artists have seem as poetically inspired as Fernando Ortega. Harnessing a fully modern, yet contemplative approach, this deserving award winner continues to perfect his inspiring craft on his tenth release, Storm. Embodying the approach carried by John Michael Talbot in the '80s, Ortega, translates the humble majesty of classic hymns into personal, modern context. Sloughing off both postmodern urgency and mainline piety, Ortega's disarming voice and melodies nearly channel the young Shepherd psalmist's heart.
Returning with a tried and true acoustic piano/guitar singer-songwriter approach, Ortega offers the friendly intro "Traveler" and the radio-ready "Light of Heaven." Recalling earlier works, Ortega thoughtfully dresses the hymn "Come Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy" and the captivating instrumental "Christina's Dream" in bluegrass/Celtic overtones. Consistently balanced, Ortega sweeps listeners into soaring praise on "Our Great God" while engendering a worshipful near-paralysis with the gentle hymn "Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silent." Equally mindful of the seemingly mundane, Ortega also conjures subtle outdoor landscapes and sweet family life on "This Time Next Year." Both the flash and substance of this whole work border the sublime.
Given the tagline of this disc ("sometimes you have to know the storm to really know the light"), Ortega has triumphed again in giving listeners a rich and quiet space to really understand both.