Artist: Grant Norsworthy
Title: Resident Alien
Release Date: 1/1/12
Reviewer: Jonathan Andre
- Jesus Loves Me
- My Declaration
- Bring Me To My Knees
- The Healing
- Here For Life
- He Loves Me
- On and On (Prelude)
- On and On
- Be Thou My Vision
- Voice Recorder Blues
Formally a bassist for the Paul Colman Trio (1998-2004) and Sonicflood (2005-2008); Grant Norsworthy has always had a heart for music ministry, possessing ‘…a rare ability to reshape sometimes-overwhelming concepts into deep-yet-simple thoughts that propel listeners to realization and action…’ (as explained on grantnorsworthy.com). Looking at some of his ‘Word-and-Song’ videos on his Youtube channel; Grant has the uncanny ability to reassure and comfort, but also pierce through the messiness of our lives and cut right to the core of ourselves, showing us things that we’d otherwise brush over. Reminding me of the talent of either Peter Furler or Paul Colman and how they are great communicators; Grant is certainly placed in that category, with many artists and speakers advocating his songwriting and speaking skills, like Bebo Norman, Matthew West and Paul Colman himself. Releasing his debut album, Resident Alien on January 1st 2012, with the beloved children’s hymn ‘Jesus Loves Me’, traditional hymn ‘Be Thou My Vision’ and fan favourite ‘My Declaration’; Grant’s infectious melodies and ingenious writing style has led me to assert that he’ll soon earn his well-deserved place within the American CCM industry soon!
‘Jesus Loves Me’ is Grant’s rendition of the children’s hymn, as well as the first single off the album. Reminding me of my own childhood and how at Sunday School I used to sing ‘…Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so, little ones to Him belong, they are weak but He is strong…’; Grant adds in some of his own lyrics across the acoustic guitars, piano and light percussion as he proclaims his longing for God, and how ‘…I need more than the words on a page, the words are good but the Author I crave…’ Reminding us that our relationship with God is not only on a Sunday but a lifestyle that we live each day, we are confronted with the understanding that Jesus loves us. We understand it in our heads, but as I continue to listen to this riveting track, there are many of us that may not fully believe it in our hearts, because of whatever reason. Grant’s redux of this classic children’s song is just as fun and enjoyable as it is reassuring that God still loves us despite our circumstances. ‘Be Thou My Vision’ is another classic hymn redone by Grant (also re-recorded by Rend Collective Experiment too!); as he shows us that God is our vision, our compass, and the way we follow. With acoustic guitars and a strong drum beat, Grant shows us some parts of ourselves we may avoid in an original verse ‘…be my compassion my love for the poor, break my distraction so I can’t ignore, the least of Your children the ones You adore, for by them Jesus I worship You Lord…’ as we are met with reality and how our faith can be placed into action, with love and compassion for those around us that need it the most. With the tactful ability to create dichotomous moments at once (where you marvel in worship, but also look at your own life to find that you aren’t really doing much to enhance Jesus name and renown yourself), I am able to applaud Grant at tackling issues the CCM industry may otherwise avoid. Well done Grant with the reintroduction of these timeless classics!
‘Bring Me To My Knees’ sounds like PC3 united, with trademark guitars, drums, and a synth keyboard undertone, with Grant relaying the message of evangelism, ripping us out of our comfort zones of Christian bubbles as he declares at how ‘…I refuse to be a servant to my neighbour when the cross on which You died for me is a cross that I must shoulder…’ Many of us decide by choice to live within our circles of Christian friends and never venture out, at the prompting of God, to show kindness to those who may be different than we are. Grant’s revelation of asking God to ‘…bring me to my knees…’ is something we ought to proclaim every day as we shake off our vanity and pride and place humility on, asking God to show us what He wants us to accomplish to further His kingdom. ‘Rwanda’ is a sneak peak into how the country changed Grant and his focus as he continues to champion for the lost and poor, and how they can speak into our lives and change us more than we believe we can change them. Through light percussion and a keyboard, Grant sings out to Rwanda to ‘…teach what I can’t know, simple wisdom of the meek will call me to pray unceasing…’, understanding that though Rwanda is poor physically, the hope and joy that they have may even amount to more than what we have in the western hemisphere. We can learn so much from them, and through this eye-opening track, I am able to be more appreciative and respectful, knowing that even Rwanda can teach me something new about boundless living for Christ.
Both ‘On and On’ and ‘He Loves Me’ are both revolutionary, and both polar opposites musically. ‘On and On’ is a humble acoustic melody about how the time we all have is short and that we ought to spend each moment of it with our focus of living a humble lifestyle of worship, understanding that ‘…on and on the tide rolls in and soon she’ll be gone…’ and that if we’re not careful, we can live out our days in our mundane lifestyle, without seeking for more. ‘He Loves Me’ is a guitar driven rocking 2:46 song speaking about the revelation that we acquire when we realise that God loves us and how we ought to respond- ‘…He loves me, how can I not love Him too?…’ Once we understand God’s infinite love, we can’t help it but to respond in obedience and reverence as we show our love towards Him by allowing Christ to mould and shape us into men and women more like Him.
From longing to have a deeper relationship with Christ and ridding ourselves of distractions that seem to threaten our spiritual growth (‘CU’) to acknowledging during a difficult situation that healing is a necessary response for both parties as they travel towards the same goal of being transformed by Christ (‘The Healing’); Grant shows us many themes that many listeners can relate to, but none more than my favourite track, ‘My Declaration’. With a light percussion hook, Grant proclaims that ‘…this is my declaration of what’s been done for me, a healing restoration to set this captive free…’ giving us a telescope into his heart, motivation behind the songs he’s written, thereby showing us a transformation only God can orchestrate. Understanding that in our weakness, we are made humble and perceptive to what Christ did for us; Grant sings his testimony in one of the most poignant lyrical moments on the record. Well done Grant for such a vulnerable worship expression!
Overall: Grant Norsworthy has created an album full of reflective moments, tied together with moments where the listener is required to search deep in the crevices of the heart that may not have been explored for a while. With standout songs like ‘My Declaration’, ‘Bring Me To My Knees’ and ‘Be Thou My Vision’; this album is a must if you enjoy the old Newsboys (with Peter Furler), the Paul Colman Trio, or many other acoustic/pop artists like Bebo Norman or Brandon Heath. With heartfelt lyrical moments that have edified my faith, this is an album that may not be fully publicised, but the album purchase is certainly worth the money and time: anyone who listens will certainly be blessed! Well done Grant for an enjoyable album!
RIYL: Brandon Heath, Peter Furler, Paul Colman Trio, Bebo Norman
Buy the Album: iTunes/Amazon mp3