This is a review for Shine Your Light, the debut album from The Father’s House (or TFH for short) in Rochester, NY. I believe any church worship album should reflect the heart and ministry of the church behind it. That being said, The Father’s House is an amazing church. I’ve been there 3 times over the past few years and each time I’ve gone back, the growth in both numbers (~4,000 people, almost double from ~2,300 when I was there in late 2007) and quality (everything is so well done) is evident. They’ve recently launched a satellite campus in downtown Rochester and built a beautiful new sanctuary on their main campus which is where Shine Your Light was recorded.
I love this album. I love it because it gives you a real sense of what church is like at TFH (joyful, fun, upbeat, energetic, diverse, BIG!). What you hear is what you get, and that’s anointed praise & worship and a tremendous sense of God’s presence in the house. There are no “skippers” on the tracklist–the choice of covers & original songs are terrific and interwoven into the fabric of worship there. TFH is one of those churches that SHOULD make a worship album. You can tell people were painfully waiting for their first album…when it hit iTunes after Easter weekend, Shine Your Light went to something like #17 or #15 on the charts! Pretty impressive for a church that’s not signed by a label and had no mass-promotion machine behind it.
The main worship leaders are Becca Johnson (her husband Denis Johnson Jr. is the keyboard player & worship pastor at TFH) and Nate Cronk, who penned 4 of the 6 originals on the album. There’s a great blend between different timbres of lead vocals as well as male and female leads. I find myself wanting to hear more of each worship leader, which is great because you never get tired of any of them.
What I love about Shine Your Light is that it has a lot of “entry points” that make it accessible. Everyone these days is writing and recording, so it can be overwhelming to listen to an album of originals. Here’s a few tracks to start with if you’re not sure where to start:
Nothing Is Impossible – Nate Cronk kicks off the album with a great cover of this Planetshakers tune (this one is on repeat all the time in our house).
Jesus You Are, a TFH original by Nate Cronk. My church recorded a version of this song but TFH’s version pwns ours. Becca Johnson’s voice and the power behind the song is just incredible on this track! Powerful, powerful song.
Yours Forever, another TFH original by one of their worship leaders, Dillon Lovall. This was a big song during their Easter weekend when I tuned in online.
Everlasting God – Just when you thought the world didn’t need another version of Brenton Brown’s tune, TFH breathes real life into this song. Denis and company go Motown on it (great piano, basslines, saxophone…and NO guitar riff!), and you have to love the exhortation Denis gives to the church on the prior track. If you don’t like Everlasting God or are sick to death of it, TFH’s version may actually make you like it! It’s the best version out there and thankfully leaves out any creepy voiceovers with keyboard synth swells at the end (sorry, Lincoln Brewster…just stating what nearly everyone I’ve met thinks about that ending, even if it was your kid).
Well, with the time it took you to read this review, you could have purchased and downloaded Shine Your Light <– Do it now! I give it a billion stars out of a billion.