Don Poythress, ‘Wash Away’ Review


20090702105420_0_wash_awayFrom the start, Wash Away doesn’t look or sound like a typical worship album. This one rings with country music in a fresh and surprising way. Fresh, because most worship albums are filled with swirling electric guitars, synth, and rock drums. Surprising, because the country style isn’t led with an old-time gospel feel. It’s pushed by the tones of contemporary country/rock.

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Poythress wrote most of the songs on this collection, collaborating with others. As a professional songwriter, he’s written for Tim McGraw, Willie Nelson, and Sheryl Crow – to name a few. His experience and abilities show. The songs are very well-written, staying away from the cliché Christian phrases that have become “go-to” lyrics for many writers. HIs lyrics are both classic and refreshing.

*Note – even though a steel guitar and southern accent drive most of the songs, they can easily be sung as standard rock/folk style worship songs. They are produced with a country feel, but it isn’t necessary for these songs to be successful.

EXPECTATION – this song, full of energy and “expectation,” would be perfect as a call to worship. The melody has a slightly “sing-song” feel in places, but it is very singable for congregations.

CALL UPON YOUR NAME – The melody and message of this song is accessible for most congregations, declaring that in times of trouble we will find refuge in God. Mid-tempo and engaging. I like this song – the feel and the message.

BRAND NEW DAY – Poythress teamed up with Baloche & Cartee to write this one. The lyrics are simple and timeless, that Jesus has given us the chance to start over.

FILL ME UP – A beautiful melody couches this prayer straight from the heart, asking that Jesus fill us. Poetic. Sincere. A song of need.

WASH AWAY – The title track is edgy (for a country song) and driven. The song means exactly what the title says – that God wash away everything but Himself in our lives. The chorus carries the hook “Wash Away” in a catchy way. I like the rhythm of the words in the chorus – it draws me in to the song. This could easily be done in a more rock style.

BEFORE THE THRONE OF GOD ABOVE – A country version to the well-known modern hymn by Charitie Bancroft and Vickie Cooke. Still beautiful, but with a country accent and fiddle.

I WILL BLESS THE LORD AT ALL TIMES – This song is wrapped in folk influences, with lyrics pulled from scripture. Even though this is a simple acoustic tune, with minimal drums and extra instruments, this is one of the strongest songs on the album.

THE FAITHFUL LOVE OF JESUS – Starting with the mandolin work of Ricky Skaggs, “The Faithful Love of Jesus” recounts the benefits of God’s love wrapped in Jesus. The lyrics are horizontal – directed to encourage other believers to know this love.

LORD OF ALL – This uptempo song of praise sings to the Lord of the details of creation and the Lord of the details of our lives. Very singable. Very relatable.

A THOUSAND GENERATIONS – Country rock all the way, this song can be translated into a more rock style composition. The lyrics tell how God has been God throughout all time and over every race, tribe, and nation to a thousand generations.

DOXOLOGY – Poythress’ country version of the doxology, staying true to the lyrics and melody of the original song. I like how this song is acoustic driven, and I plan on adding it to my collection for worship leading. This is one of my favorite tracks on the album.

JOSEPH: Written to Joseph when Mary was pregnant, asking him the questions we’ve all wanted answers to. Even though I wouldn’t see this song as one to be used as corporate worship, this is a great song to be used as a performance or special music during Lent, as it gives listeners a new perspective on Mary’s virgin birth. Well-written song. Timeless message.

is the Associate Director of Worship & Media at St. Simons Community Church, where he mentors, oversees and helps lead Family and Student worship environments. He is also the content curator and editor here at The Worship Community and at

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