Review: EP by Chad Jarnagin

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Chad Jarnagin released his first EP on June 7, 2011. After spending over a decade as a part of bands, groups and other collective projects, Jarnagin has put together some moving tracks on this debut EP.

This debut project comes right out of the gates with the seasoned sound of an experienced worship leader and songwriter. Chad says:

“I was hoping to create lots of space while allowing people to not get lost on the 26 minute journey,” Jarnagin explains.” “This has to be one of the most lengthy EP projects I’ve ever heard of and I like it. This project was a long time coming and my true hope is that these songs bring a touch of fresh wind to the worship music landscape.”

While listening through each song I was captivated by the creativity and momentum that each offering.

A Mighty Fortress brings a full on modern rock vibe with it and it doesn’t disappoint. A wall of guitars really creates a sonic space that makes a great foundation for the lyrics to soar over. By the end of the song I my heart was pounding. I’d definitely recommend this song for corporate worship, especially if your gathering leans more towards a youthful, modern rock sound.

Leann slows the tempo down a bit but continues on with the heavy guitar driven sound. It’s a heartfelt lament of the life of Chad’s late sister whom died in October, 2010. Co-written with Josh Farro (Paramore, NovelAmerican), Jarnagin brings beautiful melodies with honest lyrics that mirror a gut-wretching writing process that recounts a life that ended too soon.What I love about this EP is the creative use of guitars and effects. Definitely edgy, but not so far out there that you’re distracted while listening. Guitar players will definitely enjoy this EP. This song may not work in corporate worship, but could probably be utilized for a special/response song.

Heavens Declare utilizes some creative piano (and keys work) and what sounds like a dulcimer in the intro. Another great song that can be incorporated into a group worship setting. The production on every song is great. The lyrics in this song really resonated with me. I love songs that paint a great picture of the traits and characteristics of God. Chad cleverly interprets the scripture into singable lyrics.

I Am Here (My Heart) opens up with a nice sweeping guitar sound (heavy with effects) sitting on top of some nice organ/synth pads. What I love about this EP is the creative use of instruments. Each song has a unique (yet familiar) feel to it because of the creative instrumental intros. This song has a real gritty and raw feel to it, yet is produced very cleanly. The vocals on this one are very heartfelt as they convey much emotion. The song itself has a dark, lounge feel to it. Not sure that this one would translate well into a corporate, singalong setting, but could definitely be used as a relevant response piece. Of this song, Chad says:

“The space on this song allow for some reflective contemplation before landing in an unforeseen response of worship,” says Jarnagin. Borrowing the lyrics and melodies of “My Heart” from Franklin rock band Paramore, the song finishes with a worshipful release, while screaming guitars undoubtedly will leave listeners wanting to rest and then ask for more.”

Overall, I loved this EP. I love the guitar work. I love the keys. The drums and bass work felt solid and real to me. It isn’t your everyday worship EP/album. But that’s what I love about it. In finishing up the listen-through, I got the same soaring feeling at the the end of the last piece as it builds through the instrumental solo section that I got at the beginning (in the end of the first song).

This music just takes you on a journey. I’m on the edge of my seat listening through each song. Fans of modern, heavy guitar (yet beautifully melodic) music will eat this one up.

For more information on Chad and his music: ChadJarnagin.com | Facebook | iTunes



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 HighestPraise.com.

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