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.