- All Things Possible
- It is Well
- One Day
- I Gave Up
- When Love Walked In
- More To You Than This
- Be Still
- What Do You Give a King?
- Haven’t Met You Yet
- I Will Love You Still
Mark Schultz has been within the Christian music industry for quite some time, producing stellar hits like ‘Letters From War’, ‘He’s My Son’, ‘Everything to Me’ and ‘I Have Been There’. Having released his brand new pop/CCM album titled All Things Possible just last Tuesday (September 4th 2012), Mark has produced an album that can sometimes fly under the radar in terms of popularity, with other albums, primarily TobyMac’s Eye On It, Lecrae’s Gravity, even Beckah Shae’s Rest and Group 1 Crew’s anticipated release of Fearless gaining much more buzz; as listeners immerse themselves in music that’s set to inspire and lift up, giving comfort through our daily walk with Christ. All Things Possible; promoted by his first radio single of the same name that released to radio in August by an artist with a vocal range lying between Michael W. Smith and Matthew West; is an album full of hope and motivation with a mixture of radio pop (‘All Things Possible’) to ballads like ‘Love Walked In’. Mark is one of Christian music’s most respected male vocalists along with Steven Curtis Chapman, Michael W. Smith, TobyMac and Peter Furler; and produced by Pete Kipley (Luminate, The Museum) and Seth Mosley (Peter Furler, Newsboys); Mark’s first release on Fair Trade Services is one of my favourite Mark Schultz albums along with Song Cinema and Come Alive; and one of the most underrated albums of September 2012!
‘All Things Possible’ is the first song (and first radio single) on the album; and right from the anthemic guitar build-up to Mark singing out ‘…I will call on Your name, for there’s always a way when You lead me…’, we understand that the Lord is always near when we cry for help, and that in all circumstances, He is able to use whatever moment we’re in to build up our character as we are shaped through our continual trust in our Father, becoming more transformed as we follow His will. With a mesmerizing bridge ‘…my God is strong and mighty, my God is faithful, my hope is in the Lord, for He is able…’ is some of the most powerful lyrics on this album. Reflecting upon how we can do everything in Christ; Mark’s motivation behind this song was as mountain-bike ride across the U.S. that he did in 2007, to raise money for orphans and widows, a ministry that’s personally close to Mark. Adopted himself, Mark draws upon some powerful words as he reminds listeners that ‘…true religion is about caring for orphans and widows. Not if you are bored or if you have extra time on the weekends, but as a command…’ Confronting and challenging at the same time, this melody calls us to be doers rather than just people who just sing. It’s a call to action, knowing full well that Christ is beside us. The song is one of Mark’s best, full of hopefulness as we press on, ‘…even if it feels like my heart is breaking…knowing I belong to the One who makes all things possible…’- because with God, nothing is out of reach for the God who always makes the impossible possible. Well done Mark for this great song!
With all the songs between 3-4 minutes (five songs between 3:00-3:30, and the other five between 3:30 and 4:00), Mark has been able to utilise a conglomeration of genres in each of his 10 tracks as he delves into a number of issues that are relevant towards listeners, including a song for his unborn child (‘Haven’t Met You Yet’), a melody filled with a hope that God will fulfil His promises, giving us hope that ‘…one day we will touch the healer’s hand, one day we will be whole again…’ (‘One Day’); as well as a country song reminding us not to hold onto (or in a blunter sense, hoard onto) the things that the Lord is longing for us to lay down at His feet (‘I Gave Up’). From the first lines of ‘One Day’ depicts a complicated birth of a child, with her parents ‘…holding onto the promise of a cure that’s sure to come one day…’; and as we get a glimpse to a reality that God longs for us to believe in and hope for, we understand our role in the grand masterpiece of God’s history- with reassurance that our lives will be made perfect in His presence, and therefore we can relax in this guitar and string driven melody that all the suffering we endure will end. ‘Haven’t Met You Yet’ is a love song written for his unborn child, full of honest and heartfelt hopefulness as he sings about his life and how ‘…you’ve already stole my heart…the funny thing is I haven’t even met you yet…’ A song about life and how having a child is one of the greatest things we can accomplish as we take a glimpse into the Father’s heart for us through how we interact with our children; this piano-inspired anthem is for everyone who is anticipating children, giving a well-written perspective on the joy one feels when they are about to be parents for the first time. ‘I Gave Up’, though absurdly titled, is about how we ought to ‘…pay more attention to the relationships, the things that matter, and less to the things that are gong to crumble in time…’, something that Mark reminds us all too well as we start to look at our own lives to see what we value more than what we should. A revealing melody filled with guitar hooks and how ‘…everything I got ain’t what I’m worth, that’s not the reason I’m living…’; these three songs are some of the most enjoyable from an album filled with hope, surrender and joy of things to come!
The rest of the album touches upon many themes, from being still in God’s presence and understanding that ‘…even now there’s a hand that’s reaching out through the dark to a heart that’s filled with doubt, I am here when the storm is raging, let your soul be still and know I’m God…’ (‘Be Still’), praising God through all circumstances of life (‘It is Well’)- akin to similar themes like Matt Redman’s ‘Blessed Be Your Name’; to singing from the persona of God in the last track, assuring His creation of His unending and unconditional love for every one of us even though we may stray from the narrow path of life (‘I Will Love You Still’). The piano-and-string-only instrumentation of this last track makes the lyrics even more memorable, leading to this 3:00 length song as one of my highlights. But it is the highlight of the album is ‘More to You than This’, speaking to the soul in a similar way to Jonny Diaz’s ‘More Beautiful You’, reminding young women what God sees inside of them, that ‘…there is more to you than the lies you believe, they were never truth, if ever you start to doubt, hear me say ‘there’s more to you than this’…’ This piano driven trademark Mark Schultz melody is one to cherish by those struggling with their identity, both physically and in Christ- as we understand what God sees in us, we will begin to believe what God longs for us to unleash, thereby allowing Him to shape us through other people and through us reading and soaking in the Word of God. Well done Mark for such a compelling track!
Overall: Mark Schultz has created an album that is one of his most musically diverse and lyrically poignant out of all his albums, reminding creation of the love of the Creator. With a mixture of rock, pop, worship and ballads, this album is certainly for the CCM/Adult Contemporary musical genre lovers, listeners who long for some great music to soak their souls into as we remind ourselves of how ‘…Love walked in through the door, face to face with brokenness, said it’s still worth fighting for…’ (‘Love Walked In’). Fans of Michael W. Smith or Steven Curtis Chapman will certainly enjoy this piano-driven record, and though not necessarily highly publicised when stacked against other releases in September (from Lecrae, Matthew West and Group 1 Crew), Mark’s 7th album showcases his continuously sound song-writing ability. With a hopefully fruitful career on Fair Trade Services, this album is one to savour and one of my favourites of September 2012!
RIYL: Michael W. Smith, Matthew West, Steven Curtis Chapman, Chris TomlinMark Schultz - All Things Possible,