Artist: Jason Gray
Album: All the Lovely Losers
Label: Centricity Records
Release Date: March 6, 2007
Review by: Eric Pettersson
Being a World Vision artist, one has a pretty good idea of what Jason Gray is all about. He has worked with them especially in the area of AIDS orphans as he has traveled to Africa to directly show the love of Christ to the poor. Gray makes a point to speak of his human imperfections and the power God has to work through our weaknesses. “There is constant pressure in our entertainment oriented culture to be amazing and impressive, to wow audiences. I wrestle against that because it’s a heart killer and completely irrelevant to God’s calling in my life. I’d rather be real than impressive,” explained Gray. Luckily for the listeners, his Centricity debut is actually both entertaining and thought-provoking.
All the Lovely Losers opens with “Blessed Be,” which borrows words from Jesus’ sermon on the mount, speaking of how the weak and poor are, by God’s standards, blessed. On songs like “Sing Through Me,” and “This Far,” Jason shows an openness for God’s work in his life. Stylistically, this could be tossed into the general Christian radio pop-rock mess, but there is something refreshingly different behind Jason Gray. He doesn’t set out to be a safe Christian alternative to popular chart toppers, like so many other Christian radio artists try to do (most of which failing at that). Tracks like “Weak” and “The Cut” show a vulnerable and honest side to Jason Gray that is unfortunately not found on Christian radio all that often. If CCM were to follow this artist, I would be much less opposed to CCM. “I’m Not Going Down” is an upbeat radio-friendly reminder to continue living for God in hard times because “It’s not by might; it’s not by power, but by my Spirit.” One of my favorite songs on this album is, ironically, the song that speaks the least of God. “Grace” is a catchy pop tune with very smart use of horns where Jason sings of how amazing it is to know that he’ll never be good enough for this girl, but she loves him anyway. Still, there is an obvious spiritual undertone to the song, as this whole concept is quite the parallel to God’s love. “Everything I Own” closes All the Lovely Losers on a positive and earnest note, telling of a willingness to give up everything for God.
While this genre is not my number one choice, I can definitely appreciate what Jason Gray is doing. His lyrics speak from the heart, and his musicianship is not lacking. While a new deal with Centricity Records may get Jason more publicity, this is one artist you will not have to worry about being affected by the glamor of the music industry. Gray is set to serving God, and while one way he is doing that is through his music, the music itself is not his focus, and that is obvious throughout these 12 songs that make up All the Lovely Losers.