Album Review :
Katie Gustafson - Introducing Katie Gustafson
Artist: Katie Gustafson
Title: Introducing Katie Gustafson
Label: Kingsway Music
Release Date: 7/10/12
Reviewer: Jonathan Andre
- Isaiah 55
- Amazing God
- Beautiful Jesus (Love Over Me)
- Wonderful to Me
- Hallelujah to the Lamb
- Be Still My Soul
- Back to You
Trained as a professional therapist, Katie has been writing songs since her high school days. Following in her father’s footsteps into the musical world (Gerrit Gustafson ‘…was part of the original creative team that launched Integrity Music…’); Katie has been able to draw upon her therapist experience in working with teenagers; to create 7 hope-filled melodies each pointing to Christ as the ultimate healer to our problems and hurt. Using her skilful listening abilities to impart to listeners encouraging words to allow them to reach their full potential, artistic or otherwise, as they journey deeper in the Lord’s presence; Katie has shown listeners around the world how much God yearns for us to let go of our trials and distractions that hinder us from maintaining and deepening our relationship with Him. With two melodies recently covered by Leigh Nash on her hymns project Hymns and Sacred Songs (Be Still My Soul, Isaiah 55); Katie’s EP ‘…came out of a season of growing desperation for intimacy with God…’; and what resulted is a heartfelt emotional journey full of hope and joy as we continue to press into the Lord’s calling, using these 7 songs and catalysts for the Lord to speak into our souls!
‘Isaiah 55’, originally penned by Katie and first on Leigh Nash’s Hymns and Sacred Songs; showcases a heartfelt display of hopeful solace as Katie yearns for us to ‘…come to the waters, leave your barren land, forget the past and look ahead…’, giving listeners the strength and courage as Isaiah 55 is set to music. Katie also draws upon her ability to play various instruments, which is highlighted in the music video for the song; and as we listen to the gorgeous harmonies and uplifting stanzas, we are placed in an environment of peace amongst the musical layers of guitars and light percussion. As we are given this introduction to Katie’s music, full of vocal comparisons to Nichole Nordeman and Leigh Nash herself, we are given a firm statement that as we live out each day, we ought to ‘… bless the Lord, and we will be led forth, there’s nothing You can’t do, there’s nothing You can’t do oh Lord…’, understanding that God is able to exceed all that we ever ask of Him. Well done Katie for this refreshing take on Isaiah 55!
‘Amazing God’ places a country undertone upon the song as Katie sings in her ‘Point-of-Grace’ style as she proclaims how amazing God is. Reminding us that ‘…by Your name, sin is wiped away, hope has found its home, orphans know their way, You’re amazing…and You’re God…’; we are given an invitation to join Katie as we praise Christ for His sacrifice, together with the harmonious vocals, the electric guitars and the strong percussion beat. One of the songs that has the most poetic imagery, ‘Amazing God’ has plenty of beautifully crafted lyrics for the listener to soak upon, as individually and collectively, we join together and declare that ‘…even though the seasons change and time is fleeting, Your presence will forever remain…’ ‘Back To You’ also gives a hauntingly refreshing melody of devotion and love to the God of the universe amidst the electronic reverbing undertone. As Katie declares that ‘…the hardest part is being far from You, You know me perfectly and no one else will do…’ we are given a sense of transformation as Katie pours out her intentions as she worships Christ and proclaims that she will always go back to Him. As we understand that God is our provider, healer, and hope for our lives, we cannot help but be continually drawn back to the Father as we are forever being renewed along our journeys towards the eternal prize. ‘Wonderful to Me’ continues this theme further with a collection of synths and strong drum kicks. Giving us hope that God doesn’t abandon us, that ‘…In the stillness of the night, You are there…’; we are able to step in confidence that Jesus is right beside us, and that as we soak in the knowledge that God is right with us even during the moments where we think we are in despair, it is only then that we are able to proclaim that ‘…You are wonderful to me…’ Taking parts of Psalm 139 and placing them to music, ‘Wonderful to Me’ brings out the alternative musical leaning in Katie, taking elements from Owl City and placing them with David Crowder, all with the underlying notion of praise and worship. Well done Katie for reminding us that God is amazing, and that He is our provider and creator!
‘Beautiful Jesus (Love Over Me)’ lets Katie place on a ‘Nichole Nordeman’ hat once again as she gives us motivation and reason to respond to the Father, as her convictions lead her to proclaim that ‘…it’s Your love over me, that drives away fear…’ Filled with a keyboard riff and a soft cello, Katie’s serene vocals shine as she states her praises to the Father, knowing that by Christ’s love, we are sustained to fullness, beyond our comprehension. ‘Hallelujah to the Lamb’ features strong electronics and powerful vocals as Katie asserts God’s heart and what He is pleased with ‘…Your heart is for the broken, Your might is for the weak…Your grace is for the needy…the humble King for heaven, inspires us to sing Halleujah…’ A song focused on vertical praise, Katie has given us a melody to offer up to Christ, as we are filled with adoration and hope as we stand in the midst of Jesus! Finally, ‘Be Still, My Soul’, the second song on Leigh Nash’s Hymns and Sacred Songs, offers up a hymn-like approach as Katie states that she longs to be still, and understand that God is her Father, protector, Saviour and friend; urging listeners to do the same as we stand in the presence of God as we fully comprehend His sacrificial love for us. Well done Katie for such a vast musical collection of songs that encourages and inspires as we continue to journey along our lives with Christ by our side!
Overall: Katie Gustafson is a greatly welcomed new addition to Kingsway Music, joining the ranks with worship artists Ben Cantelon, Tim Hughes and Nikki Fletcher. Reminding me of Nichole Nordeman, Katie’s ingenious musical sound has placed this album as one of the surprise EP’s of late (together with Nikki Fletcher’s All Glory, The Digital Age’s Rehearsals EP and Unspoken’s Get To Me). If you’re a fan of honest worshipful music, then look no further than Introducing Katie Gustafson EP to place within your summer playlist!
RIYL: Leigh Nash, Natalie Grant, Christy Nockels, Nichole Nordeman
Buy the Album: iTunes/Amazon mp3