Brenton Brown is a name many of you may know already. He’s not exactly some obscure Christian indie guy.
On the other hand, in a market (worship music) that’s dominated by heavyweights like Chris Tomlin, the unholy Trinity of Phillips, Craig, and Dean, and the David Crowder Band, anybody else seems obscure and indie in comparison.
Brenton Brown is a worship guy who’s been around with Vineyard for a while. He’s done a solo album. He’s appeared on worship compilations. He’s had his songs covered by Lincoln Brewster and Chis Tomlin, among others. He’s travelled around leading worship concerts. He’s just generally doing the stuff worship guys do.
I got my hands on his latest album, Because of Your Love, released in July of this year, and while it doesn’t open up any new territory in the worship genre, it’s a good, solid offering in the category.
I mentioned it already, but many of you may know of Brenton. And for those of you who don’t, you probably know what he’s done without realizing it. Since he’s been around doing worship albums with Vineyard since my Junior year in High School (1998), he’s had some time to hone his skills and get his songs out there. Though you may not recognize his name, you’ve probably sung his songs at church or heard versions of them on the radio, songs like “Everlasting God,” “Lord Reign in Me,” “Hallelujah (Your Love is Amazing),” “All Who Are Thirsty,” “Holy,” and “Humble King.” Yeah, his songs have gotten around.
Though Brenton was born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa, the first thing you’ll notice about the album Because of Your Love is that it sounds like there’s a little country and bluegrass mixed in there. This, according to Brenton’s bio, is because he “wanted to make an American album.” He goes on saying, “I grew up listening to bluegrass and country music – Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, Emmy Lou Harris, Charlie Pride, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Randy Travis… it’s music that moves me deeply… I love this stuff.”
Brenton Brown was raised in South Africa but moved to Oxford, England, in his twenties to study politics, philosophy, and theology. While there, he became the worship pastor for the Oxford Vineyard church and began making music with Vineyard Music UK. Three years ago, he moved to Los Angeles, where he resides with his wife and kids, so his goal of making an “American album” makes sense. “I wanted to make music that reflects where we’ve been and where we are,” he says.
The rest of the band that appears on the album is made up of guys and girls you’ll probably recognize: Aaron Sterling (from Al Jarreu, Brooke Fraser, Liz Phair, and Miley Cyrus), Dwayne Larring (from Sonic Flood and Kelly Clarkson), Sarah MacIntosh (from the Chasing Furies), and Daniel Ornellas (bassist of Tree63).
Though the album doesn’t, in my opinion, break any new ground for worship music, it’s a solid album with a sound that’s a little unique but not too out there to scare off most Christian listeners. It’s a comfortable intersection between “normal” worship music, alt-rock indie music, and bluegrass / country. I’d like to see more creativity and experimentation in the sound, but this album is a step in the right direction.
To read a more in-depth (and timely) review of the album, check out what The Christian Manifesto said here.
About some of the songs on the album, Brenton says that “Come Let Us Return (Gloria),” “makes me very, very happy!” I agree. There aren’t very many happy, bouncy songs in the worship genre, but this is one of the best. It seems like most people make intense, soaring, dynamic, or moody worship songs that make you want to cry, fall down, or jump in excitement, but “Come Let Us Return” just makes me wanna smile and dance.
“Send Your Rain” was written “in about 15 minutes,” according to Brenton. He wrote it during the Malibu Fires of 2007, which brings out some depth I didn’t even know was there. It’s a simple cry for God to intercede.
Coincidentally, the two above-mentioned songs are two of my favorites which I wanted to put up for download. Hope you like ’em:
Note: All MP3s will be removed after one week