REVIEW: Sandra McCracken – God’s Highway

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There is music for every occasion in life, but seldom does one find an entire album of material that reflects such a wide span of emotions. Even rarer is the discovery of an artist who has built a career on writing songs that deliver honesty, depth and a steady current of hope. Sandra McCracken is one of those artists and her tenth solo release, God’s Highway, continues that legacy.

Maintaining an Americana style similar to critically acclaimed Psalms (2015), Sandra relies on acoustic guitar, piano, electric guitar, upright bass and drums as the backdrop to this collection of songs. In an over processed, drum machine-laden, and synth-heavy music culture, this lineup is instantly refreshing and makes the lyrics and melodies all the more accessible.

The opening lines of the first track, “Steadfast” set the stage for raw sincerity and unrelenting faith: “I will build my house, whether storm or drought, on the rock that does not move. I will set my hope in your love, O Lord, and your faithfulness will prove you are steadfast.” McCracken continues to speak comfort to the storm-tossed soul in title track “God’s Highway”: “Fear not, keep on, watch and pray; walk in the light of God’s highway.

One of my favorite songs on the album, “Trinity Song” is the best musical interpretation of the doctrine that I’ve heard. Featuring Leslie Jordan and David Leonard of All Sons and Daughters, the trio weaves together a beautiful, but simple round proclaiming the mystery and unity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Three-in-one. One voice slowly builds into three, the harmonies layer and crescendo and ultimately end in perfect unison. Truly breathtaking.

While McCracken offers songs inspired from the book of Psalms, she also delves into the New Testament. “He Walks With Me (1 Peter),” “Doxology (Jude 23-24),” and even a new (and very singable) rendition of The Lord’s Prayer serve as a perfect extension of her other offerings based on the Scriptures.

Another one of the striking things about this album is the number of songs that would function well in corporate worship: easy for a congregation to learn and sing, easy for a worship team to play, and saturated with rich Gospel truth. Eight of the eleven songs would be great resources for churches and could work in different parts of the service (call to worship, congregational hymns, responsive singing, etc.).

I would highly recommend listening to this album with care. Take some time with lyrics in hand; let the truth in this music wash over you; with hopeful anticipation, join in the closing chorus: “Until the trumpet sounds, until our home comes down, Children of Zion raise up the sound until our home comes down.

 

Adam Wright is the Chief Musician at Cahaba Park PCA in Birmingham, AL, & writes/records as The Corner Room.