Artist: Bekah Wagner
Title: The Blameless EP
Release Date: 6/12/12
Reviewer: Jonathan Andre
- The Blameless
- Love Will Win
- God is With Us
- Let the New Begin
- To the River
- Kill Religion
A worship leader at New Life Church in Colorado Springs, independent artist Bekah Wagner has also lent her voice on Desperation Band’s Light Up the World, singing one of my favourite songs on the album, ‘Highest Place’. With her voice reminding me of other folk/acoustic/worship artists like Brooke Fraser and Kristene DiMarco, Bekah’s poignant lyrical message through The Blameless EP points to how as believers, we ought to leave our old ways behind us as we continue to step into our relationship with Christ, understanding and realising that the motivation behind our choices really matters, that if our hearts aren’t in the right place, we could be making decisions out of religious duty rather than relationship with Christ. Having an acoustical-folk element mixed with a worshipful atmosphere, Bekah’s poetic imagery of the journey has led this album to be one of the most underrated albums of 2012, along with One Sonic Society’s Forever Reign and Kristene DiMarco’s Safe Place. Comforting and hopeful, stirring and challenging; this album is certain to leave listeners motivated as the Lord shows us areas in our lives that we need to address.
To name a song ‘Kill Religion’ is going to raise some eyebrows, but as I listen to this heartfelt melody, I am captivated by Bekah’s honesty and boldness to speak right to our hearts from first melodic note. Filled with cellos and violins, we are met with constructive learning as we come face to face with our own lives, evaluating how we worship and whether we need to ‘…kill religion, just love…’ in our own lives, so that we can stop ‘…[singing] when we don’t mean a word…’ Reminding us of the routine of our lives and how sometimes we can be so dulled to the point of just doing rituals without any meaning, ‘Kill Religion’ addresses the trap everyone can fall into: that routine is our lives, even though God is calling us out and up into something more for us to move towards, every day with Him showing up in our lives to proclaim and shower His goodness on His creation. Well done Bekah for this confronting, yet moving and emotional track, hopefully bringing forward issues in people’s lives that need to be settled before Christ!
‘Let the New Begin’ speaks volumes of hope through plenty of electric guitars, filled with Bekah’s soothing vocals similar to Audrey Assad. Reminding us how ‘…I should take Your grace over fear, but still I journey on with shame as my heavy load, I feel You calling, yet I do not hear…’, we are given an invitation to lay our baggage at the cross, to ‘…come let the new begin…You are the hope, You are the source bringing us life…’; the way that Christ intended for us to live, without the constant nagging of fear on our hearts, crippling our sides and causing us to live life with regret, apprehension and uncertainty. Filled with a string undertone of violins, we are reminding through the phrase ‘…Christ in me, the hope of glory…’ that God that is in us is greater than anything in our lives that has tried to hold us down, in the past and into the future. As we live our lives walking in Christ’s footsteps, we’ll be able to stand in bold confidence against all our fears. Well done Bekah for such an uplifting and memorable melody!
Throughout the rest of the album, many themes are brought to listeners, all the while staying through to the musical techniques of strings, piano-focused undertones, as well as well-written lyrical moments of realisation as we engage and respond to the issues fleshed out in these songs. ‘Love Will Win’ is an affirmation that God’s love is near those who are broken, that we ought to ‘…hold on tight, nothing can separate…’; and as I am reminded of how ‘…neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord…’ (Romans 8:39); we are given unending love, beyond all our needs, to supply us with the comfort and rest we long for as we are shown unending love by our heavenly Father. ‘The Blameless’ starts off with a reverbing electric guitar and an acoustic guitar picking sound as listeners understand that we ought to ‘…let love arise in our hearts, let truth be found on our mouths, let the broken come, be made whole…’ as we start to witness to those around us, sharing our lives with our friends and whoever else we meet. As we start to shine for Christ, those around us will naturally be drawn to Him!
‘To the River’ encourages every believer to give our whole lives to Christ as we surrender our whole selves to Him. Sung from God’s point of view, we are reassured of God’s loving embrace as we are reminded that God ‘…took you to the river and I buried You…’ cleansing us from the old as we place on the new garments of righteousness and joy as we start to be made new before Him. ‘God is With Us’ is finally about how we ought to give thanks and gratitude to Christ for everything He has done, that ‘…His love is saving…’ Though not a traditional rousing worship melody like those from Chris Tomlin but rather filled with acoustics and soft vocals; ‘God is With Us’ is still a praise song, as Bekah reveals her thankful heart to Christ. Well done Bekah for these uniquely orchestrated tracks of surrender!
Overall: Full of hopeful melodies and poignant anthems, Bekah’s writing ability is bound to catch the eye of other artists as she draws parallels in skill to others like Audrey Assad and Nichole Nordeman. Her contributions to Desperation Band as well as her debut EP is certain to place her onto a platform that is destined to rise as many other listeners stop to listen to the honest vulnerability as she relays to us the unfathomableness of Christ’s mercy and affection for His children. If you’re looking for some subdued yet equally profound songs akin to Audrey Assad or Brooke Fraser, then Blameless EP is your answer!
RIYL: Audrey Assad, Kristene DiMarco, Brooke Fraser, Nichole Nordeman
Buy the Album: iTunes/Amazon mp3