Album Review :
Kerrie Roberts - Time For The Show

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Artist: Kerrie Roberts
Title: Time For The Show
Label: Reunion Records
Release Date: 4/2/13
Reviewer: Jonathan Andre

Tracklisting:

  1. Time for the Show
  2. Sing
  3. What Are You Afraid Of?
  4. Finally Home
  5. Middle of it All
  6. Masterpiece
  7. Not Real Yet
  8. In Your Sight
  9. Wake Up
  10. Like Jesus Loves

One of my favourite new artists of 2010 along with Chris August and Audrey Assad, Florida born Kerrie Roberts has garnered great fame, popularity and praise with her heartfelt debut self-titled album released in August 2010, as well as her mainstream hit ‘Rescue Me’, on her 2011 EP Once Upon a Time (also promoted as the official song of ABC family fantasy drama Once Upon a Time through many ad placements up until its first season’s debut in October 2011). With the vocal power and enthusiasm equivalent to Natalie Grant or Nichole Nordeman, Kerrie’s songwriting ability to give us melodies full of heart, honesty and power enough to strike us at the centre of ourselves as we hear songs that cause us to praise, give thanks, even look inside ourselves and examine the deepest parts of us that we can so often avoid. Kerrie’s popularity since ‘Rescue Me’ has been welcomed by fans of her music and fans of the well received ABC TV show alike has since risen exponentially, and with the release of her second full-length album Time for the Show slated to release on the day after Easter Monday (April 2nd), I’m very certain that listeners of her music and fans of Once Upon a Time alike will take notice, as we delve into both ballads and upbeat songs that show us some of Kerrie’s thoughts and passions that have been brooding since her last release in 2011. While the release of Time for the Show has not been without its hiccups along the way, with the album originally being slated to release in July 2012 until unforseen circumstances led to the album being delayed indefinitely (and then the release date changed to April 2013 at the beginning of the year); the finished product of 10 songs is certainly worth the wait. Time for the Show is certain to become one of my favourite albums of the year, with Kerrie’s ability to provide hope and happy endings to a wide variety of listeners from all backgrounds is certainly evident in her honest and heartfelt songs, from first single ‘Finally Home’ to upbeat and dance melody ‘Time for the Show’ and identity and life-affirming ‘Masterpiece’. While only standing at a touch over 35 minutes, Kerrie has produced some of her best work, with this album guaranteed to be a joy to listen to, regardless of your musical taste or preference!

‘Finally Home’ released in May 2012 as a first single to an album supposedly to be released in the middle of last year, and while the album was pushed back til April of 2013; ‘Finally Home’ has been responding positively amongst fans and listeners from around the world, me included throughout 2012. With Kerrie disclosing that the song was written in response to her feeling homesick during her touring travels, we are reminded of our eternal home, and how in the words of Kerrie, we can …finally be in a place where we will no longer need to wander and we will no longer be missing out on anything…’ Starting off the song with a piano riff, ‘Finally Home’ leads into an epic-sounding melody complete with striking drum beats and looping percussion to create a sense of longing and belonging as we listen to a song that calls us up and out to find our home, in a place where temporary and eternal can seem blurred in the midst of the now and the not yet. Finding our place in a world that tells us that instant gratification can be just as important, possibly even more so, than feeling a sense of belonging is crucial; with this melody letting us understand that as Christians, our home is with Jesus, and that it is ok to feel homesick now and again. Painting a joyous picture of how when ‘…I’m finally home, and I finally know what it really means to praise his name, what it feels like to know amazing grace…’; Kerrie’s powerful vocals are a great highlight in this riveting anthem about our personal definitions of home (physical, spiritual or otherwise) and the satisfaction we attain once we are at home, safe and secure with our family, friends and Christ with us. With this song giving us great anticipation til when we see Jesus face to face in heaven, Kerrie’s first single sets the stage to show us 9 more tracks full of trust and identity in Christ. Well done Kerrie for one of my favourite songs on Time for the Show!

‘In Your Sight’, ‘Like Jesus Loves’ and ‘Middle of it All’ all accompany ‘Finally Home’ to represent the reflective melodies on an album that has taken more of an upbeat atmosphere as Kerrie uses Time for the Show as a celebratory moment to remind listeners of our identity in Christ and thus rejoice in our new-found freedom in Him. While Kerrie has given us great upbeat songs before, from ‘Outcast’ to ‘Without Love’ and ‘No Matter What’, Time for the Show boasts quite a number of dance-pop melodies, much of which place Kerrie into giving us something new, invigorating, fresh and energetic as we see another side of the Kerrie Roberts coin. Yet while Kerrie manages to provide plenty of unique songs full of liveliness, autotune, electronic beats, and danceable melodies destined to become classic songs within the Kerrie Roberts discography; it is the ballads and slower melodies that Kerrie thrives at, vocally and musically too. As songs like ‘Beautiful to Me’, ‘Keep Breathing’ and ‘Saviour To Me (Sing Glory)’ were highlights on her first album (with the ability to reach the hearts of many listeners around the world with relatability, encouragement, poignancy and encouragement); it is the musical offerings of ‘Finally Home’, together with some of my favourites ‘Middle of It All’ and ‘In Your Sight’, that remind me of how great a singer Kerrie really is. Starting off the song with a repetitious piano riff, ‘Middle of it All’ is one of the most personal and confronting songs on the album, with Kerrie longing, even asking for the ‘harder’ things in life. The heartfelt words of ‘…I want to remember those forgotten by the world, I want to be the words for those unheard, and I’ll follow You into the hardest places, when I’m afraid, I’ll trust You…’ are, in my mind, difficult to even declare, let alone trying to accomplish. To stand up for the least of these and champion those who may need it is certainly going to be uncomfortable and challenging, and as this song places the daunting at the front and centre of our pondering as we listen to this anthemic song; ‘Middle Of It All’ challenges us about whether we long to be in the middle of everything or not- the chaos, the uncertainty, the hardship, even the failures and mistakes- all the while knowing that Christ is with us. As the pulsating drum beats and powerful vocals ring in our minds as the highlights of the song, the crucial and motivating message of stepping out into the unknown is ever so poignant…and a great reward as we trust Christ with it all. Well done Kerrie for giving us a great song that alongside ‘Finally Home’, anchors the ballad section of Time for the Show.

Similarly, the 2 remainder reflective tracks seemingly draw out Kerrie’s wonderful vocals and powerful emotions as we hear life-affirming messages with a keyboard undertone. Both ‘In Your Sight’ and ‘Like Jesus Loves’ show us the value that Christ places on us, and while ‘In Your Sight’ borrows a few opening piano riffs from ‘Keep Breathing’; the song soars into emotion and encouragement as Kerrie declares that we are always in God’s sight, even in the moments where we may think we can be forgotten. Something so simply known and remembered when we were young can quickly be forgotten or even unbelieved when we become older and life starts to happen, yet through this gentle, poetic and encouraging power ballad, complete with her passionate spirit that reflects the mood of delving deeper into Christ; we are given one of the most comforting lines on the album- ‘…I will rest, knowing You are holding me, I believe You will never say goodbye, I close my eyes, unafraid of what I cannot see, because I am always In Your sight…’ ‘Like Jesus Loves’ similarly conveys a message of comfort through this final track on Time For the Show. With a light keyboard that crescendos musically into a light percussion and soaring electric guitars; Kerrie displays every thought of God and His love for us through this uplifting song that shows us His extravagant love and affection for His creation. In order to declare the words of ‘In Your Sight’, we ought to understand and soak in the lyrics and meaning of this album ender, and with the poignant words reminding us that ‘…no road was too lonely, no cost too great, no distance too far for the reach of his grace…nobody loves like Jesus loves…’; we are able to listen to one of my favourite songs to end an album since ‘Favourite Song’ on TobyMac’s Eye on It in 2012. Full of heart, charisma, emotion and restoration, ‘Like Jesus Loves’ shows us just what Easter, Christmas, and our lives on Earth are about and worth. Well done Kerrie for such an enthusiastic ending to an album that showcases some of your best ballad work.

Time For the Show emphasises more on celebration, and Kerrie does a great job with her upbeat material, developing and showing a great range, from electronic, to dance, to contemporary pop. ‘Sing’ is a dance-worship song complete with electronics and autotune and as Kerrie declares that she’ll ‘…sing out loud, no I won’t be quiet, I sing and shout, I cannot be silent, You put the music in my heart, it’s screaming out, I feel like jumping, feel like dancing for You now…’, we are invited to worship and dance along. While many may not share the welcomed sentiment when it comes to electronic music and autotune, this is a great thing that Kerrie is trying to do. While not necessarily something that would’ve been explored in her debut project, ‘Sing’ is a great fun track that’s certain to please fans of the electronic music genre. ‘Masterpiece’ shows us what we are to God in a Psalm 139 inspired song, and with great backing vocals and ‘aahhh’ and ‘oohhh’ from Kerrie, and an explosive chorus that shows us that ‘…You’re a masterpiece, even if you don’t believe, You’re forgiven, so wonderful, lovable, everything you need to be…’; we are given an edifying song along the lines of Britt Nicole’s ‘Gold’. Let me be the first one to say that I really hope ‘Masterpiece’ gains some airplay on mainstream radio- it’ll certainly fit right at home in and amongst Britt Nicole’s chart-topper.

In a similar way to ‘Masterpiece’, ‘What are You Afraid Of’ offers up solace, questions, and sometimes even reminds us of our worth as Kerrie places everything in perspective in one of her most in-your-face comforting yet confronting songs of her whole music career. While only standing at 3:09, the message is clear to stand fear in the face and ask truthfully- what are we truly afraid of? With this song being one of 6 that welcomes electronic pop dance music and couples it with motivational lyrics and powerful identity building lyrics, Kerrie offers up a remedy that ‘…grace has got you covered, God is in control, go on and let it go, what are you afraid of?…’, and something that will certainly impact the listener long after the album has been completed. With the title track ‘Time for the Show’ comparing the days in our lives to a different theatre or Broadway show, and how as we wake up each morning, it is a chance to share the love of Christ and create the best day it can be; and ‘Wake Up’ giving us somewhat a ‘wake-up call’ in a hand clapping and electric guitar riff musical arrangement melody that calls us to ‘…wake up, shake off the dark, watching as You shine a light through a story, in every moment, I find who You are, and all of the mercies You have waiting for me…’; we are called out of the mundane into the extraordinary in these two songs; with Kerrie firmly inviting us to leave every baggage at Jesus’ feet and join her in the show of our lives. With the title of the album creating a sense of urgency as we step out in faith to leave our staring roles in our own story and to join God’s show and be a player in the story that He’s shaping our lives to be about; Kerrie’s second album expands her musical boundaries and will certainly challenge and motivate anyone who listens. Well done Kerrie for such a powerful album, especially the upbeat melodies (‘What are You Afraid Of’ and ‘Masterpiece’ in particular)!

Overall: Originally slated to be released during July 2012 (I think it was on the same day that Rhett Walker Band released their debut album Come to the River); Kerrie’s second album Time for the Show is certainly worth the 9 month delay as we hear some of the most enjoyable yet equally profound and moving songs ever written and recorded throughout her career. With ‘Finally Home’ already becoming a Kerrie Roberts classic song along with ‘Rescue Me’, ‘No Matter What’ and ‘Beautiful For Me’; Kerrie’s second album is a must purchase if you enjoy electronic dance-pop music with a worshipful and inspiring edge. From the confronting ‘What are You Afraid Of?’ to the uplifting and emotional ‘In Your Sight’, Kerrie delves into the themes of love, hope, identity and perseverance in one of the most under-promoted releases in April 2013. With Time for the Show equalling Hawk Nelson’s Made as my favourite album of 2013 so far; whoever listens to this album is sure to be blessed, whether you have been a Kerrie Roberts fan since her debut project (like me!) or if you’re just starting to listen to her music (possibly due to her crossover radio hit ‘Rescue Me’). With Time For the Show a possible frontrunner (along with Audio Adrenaline’s Kings and Queens and Hawk Nelson’s Made) to be a nomination for Best Pop/Contemporary album at the 2014 Dove Awards; fans of artists like Natalie Grant, Group 1 Crew or Britt Nicole will be right at home with Time for the Show! Well done Kerrie for this great uplifting and encouraging album!

RIYL: Britt Nicole, Natalie Grant, Group 1 Crew, TobyMac

Buy the Album: iTunes/Amazon mp3

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