25250Eoghan Heaslip – “WONDERFUL STORY”
Survivor Records

I’ve got to be honest and say that I just don’t understand why Eoghan (pronounced “Owen”) isn’t more renown here in the USA.  He writes Scripture-soaked, hook-driven, melodic, original corporate worship, leads worship at large events abroad (like Soul Survivor conferences), and consistently releases albums that are solid from beginning to end, however he remains mostly ‘underground’ here in the states. Personally, he stands behind only Matt Redman as my major songwriting influence, and I’ve been blessed by nearly everything he’s released to date.

Moving from Integrity Music, to Survivor Records – a division of Kingsway Music – probably lessened the production budget a bit, as this release sounds more raw, and open than previous ones, but in many ways this works well, giving the songs air – room to breath – sonically. As far as songwriting goes, Wonderful Story doesn’t have any singles as immediately catching as “All that Matters” and “A Shield About Me” from Mercy, nor does it have the consistent weightiness of the beautifully deep Grace in the Wilderness, but it has a crisp, clear sound of it’s own and doesn’t stand to be easily compared to any of Eoghan’s earlier releases. In particular, the simple, but very front-and-center, use of piano riffs – which are set apart by the use of delay and other effects – and the lack of loops, sets this cd apart from his other work.

There are several songs here that have been in regular rotation in my personal worship iTunes mix, many of which I would even consider using corporately. “Blessing, Honour” is a simple, powerful re-setting of Revelation 7:12, that climaxes with a call to worship. “God Only Wise” is a driving, theological-content packed rocker, asking God to “teach us to trust You with our lives”. And most like the most corporately useful of the whole collection, “All to You”, is an almost immediately singable song of surrender that I can imagine being sung in congregations world-wide.

If you are a fan of Eoghan’s work, Wonderful Story will be a wonderful addition to your library, but if you are unfamiliar, at least download “All to You” and teach it to your congregation, as it could move many to surrender their hearts to the great God who inspires such powerful songs by His grace.

Suggested particularly for fans of Matt Redman, Tim Hughes, or Paul Baloche.