Review: Walk by Will Retherford

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Walk is the the latest project from Will Retherford.

And it’s one of my favorite worship albums of 2012.

Will’s bio reads:

Inspired to pursue music after an encounter with God during a worship service, Will Retherford has passionately honed and shared his gift since he was a teenager. Today, he not only writes his own music, but also leads worship at Oral Roberts University and Victory Church. More than music, Will is also passionate about missions and works overseas. He is on staff with the Oral Roberts Missions department, and travels overseas frequently throughout the year which lead him to give his proceeds from his first album “Awake” to an HIV Aids orphanage in Hyderabad.

Bringing his unique take on a sound that could be found on the sonic trail blazed by artists and writers like Gungor, Will makes a nice contribution to the soundscape of worship music with this project. The “sound” of the album pulses with a youthful and artistic energy, and most songs can be adapted for just about every environment for worship gatherings.

Opening with the quirky and organic sounding Arise, Will establishes the tone of the whole project with an energetic song of hope and grace, a challenge to the Church, a call to worship of sorts. The song sounds less like the modern worship songs of the late 90s and 2000s that have grown a bit stale, and more like an eclectic college senior’s composition recital…and that’s a good thing.

Seasons opens with a nice guitar pattern, and a very “home” feeling melody. Sweeping vocals accentuate the interludes and carry the listener in between verses. Nice real, authentic instrumentation drives this record. Personally, I’m a fan of bluegrass and instrumental music that uses a bunch of REAL instruments, so when a project like this comes along, I’m in listening heaven. This song builds and really soars on the bridge “Your love is greater, Your love is stronger, Your love is everything to me. Your love is deeper, Your love is wider, Your love is everything to me.”

He Is Here is a song of challenge that calls us to see through the eyes of God. This is a great “Gospel” song. It conveys the truth, “He is here to save” in a singable, thought provoking manner. This is a song I am immediately adding to my repertoire for high school and college students. I can see and hear my groups singing these with loud, unabashed young people zeal!

One thing I like about this album, when listening through, is that the music doesn’t sound “typical” – it sounds unique and fresh for worship music. At Your Cross continues with this vibe. The groove is simple, yet catchy.

Rescue Us begins with a nice keys intro (which always hooks me). This song is definitely a darker psalm-like offering. I always find it inspiring and effective when writers not only write joyful songs of praise or intimate songs of reverent worship, but also when they write songs that convey deep, sorrow and need. This is life. This is reality. It might be one of my favorite songs on the album.

Out of The Mire and Mud continues the groove of Rescue Us with a beautiful string instrumental.

Walk brings motivational lyrics like “Walk into the light, see yourself come alive. You were made to be here, don’t disappear, open up your heart.” This song brings a slightly retro feel to it. The chord moves are reminiscent of a Beatles tune (which is a good thing!). It has a great message of identity in Christ.

So, not only does Will use real, authentic instruments to paint a beautiful, quirky sonic landscape, he also uses some nice electric guitars and synths. In Narrow we hear a little more of these sounds. A really, simple and catchy groove drives this song. I think the one thing that is jumping out at me while listening through is the singable nature of most of these songs. Most youth, college, and even adult groups will be able to adapt these songs for use in their services.

Holy has a very singer/songwriter feel to it. Almost like you can imagine yourself sitting in your local coffee house with your favorite beverage while the local act warms the atmosphere with their melodies and harmonies. The lyrics are encouraging and filled with Scriptural truths crafted and expressed well.

Let It Come reminds me the most on this album of a Gungor song. A female lead with hints of Leigh Nash (Sixpense None The Richer) whispers out a beautiful verse and then is joined by the male lead. The song is driven by piano and acoustic guitars. The song conveys truth about the Bridegroom coming to get his Bride.

The project closes withRun YourWay, is a song of heart-felt declaration about following hard after God. “I will run Your way, I will run Your way.”

Overall, this album is definitely going to be in my player for a while. I lead high school students, college students, and also adult gatherings and there are several songs that will work in all of those environments. This is an exciting project and we’re glad to review it here at The Worship Community.

Russ: Twitter | Facebook

Will Retherford

TWC Member Maggie Cook also shares her thoughts on the project:

I just finished listening to Walk, a new release by Will Retherford – and was happily surprised.  I am not a huge fan of recordings that ‘take me on a journey’ – but, Walk is cohesive, interesting and very varied.  I have already envisioned it as a recording I will listen to, out on my VT deck, on a crisp autumn morning.  It invites me to sit back, take time to reflect on some simple, basic truths and just pause.

One song chorus jumps right out at me.  I can’t wait to get the chords to Seasons. My congregation is going to love that one!  I can see Rescue Us and At Your Cross as special music numbers.

For me, though, this is more of a personal worship collection.  While it has some real moments of movement and build, I find it to be more of an introspective listen with lyrics that I will need (and WANT!) to absorb and explore.

Maggie: Twitter | Facebook

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Artist: Will Retherford
Album: Walk
Release Date: September 4th

Album Song Titles:

  1. Arise
  2. Seasons
  3. He Is Here
  4. At Your Cross
  5. Rescue Us
  6. Out of the Mire and Mud
  7. Walk
  8. Narrow
  9. Holy
  10. Let It Come
  11. Run Your Way

Facebook: facebook.com/willretherford | Twitter: twitter.com/willretherford

 



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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