Jennifer @ Quiverfullfamily.com
There are times when the opening refrains of an album promise great things to come. The first time I popped in Canadian worship artist Joel Augs debut solo album On the Blue an irrepressible grin took possession of my face. The howling love song composed to Jesus So Deep in Love captured my heart, and promised a great album a promise that has largely been fulfilled.Far from being a newcomer to Christian music, Aug has been performing and recording since 1999 with other bands. His debut album reflects his calling as worship leading, offering up what he calls vertically inspired songs straight from his heart to Gods. With the majority of the offerings on the album flowing from his own pen, the blending of straight-up praise and worship songs is carefully enhanced by the frequently sparse acoustic accompaniment of each work.Aug terms his style art-rock Ill admit that Im not familiar with the label, but Im impressed with what he does. Strong folk influences are felt throughout with his simple guitar picking and rhythmic cadences. However, punchy, upbeat tunes with electric guitar, bass, keyboards, and percussion are also present making up the backdrop for the rock-inflected songs.Its hard to pick favorites from the disc; nearly each song is excellent, though some suffer from awkward or seemingly irrelevant lyrical phrases at times. While listening to the disc my husband even mentioned periods where the lyrics werent as strong as they could have been. Hopefully as Aug matures in his song writing these slight glitches will be resolved. The overall strength of the album clearly overwhelms these off moments.Augs tenor voice tends to soar into the upper heights of his range, soaring and undulating. His isnt a husky, hearty vocal performance more of a plaintive, pleading style. Clearly, Im a new fan. I could only have wished for a longer disc.