Matthew Wards 4th solo album actually turns up the Rock factor compared to previous work. I discovered why on Ward’s website where he says this about the album. “Normally, I write around keyboards. This was the first, and only, CD I have recorded that was written and arranged mostly on and for the electric guitar. I simply did what I wanted and let it rock.” He left that guitar work to James Dillingham who is a relatively little known guitarist but he handled the duties very well. I wouldn’t say this album is Rock & Roll gold but it’s definitely worth a listen. The one thing about Matthew Ward that has always kind of surprised me is that normally I wouldn’t really like his style of music but I always enjoy his albums and several of his songs are in my regular rotation. Of interest on this album is that he closes it out with a guitar heavy Rock version of Martin Luther’s “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God”. I’ve heard several rock versions of this song and this one ranks right up there in terms of quality, especially the guitar work.
Tracklist 1 – Warrior – 4:13 2 – Heaven Is Calling – 4:09 3 – Since I Found You – 4:18 4 – Faithful And True – 4:10 5 – Psalm 33:3 – 4:18 6 – You – 3:51 7 – Indecision – 4:26 8 – God Of All – 3:35 9 – Mixed Emotions – 3:26 10 – Fortress – 5:02
Credit Arranged By [Arrangements] – Gary Leach, Matthew Ward Art Direction [Assistant] – David Reid Art Direction, Design – Bradley Grose Backing Vocals [All Background Vocals] – Matthew Ward Bass – Bob Gentry Drums – Dean Castronovo Engineer – Greg Hunt Engineer [Second Engineer] – Gary Leach Guitar – James Dillingham Jew’s Harp – Greg Hunt Keyboards – Gary Leach Lyrics By [All Lyrics By] – Matthew Ward (tracks: 1 to 9) Mastered By – Doug Sax Music By [All Music Written By] – Gary Leach (tracks: 1 to 6, 8, 9), Matthew Ward (tracks: 1 to 6, 8, 9) Other [Make Up/Hair] – Susan Grose Photography By – Alan Dockery Producer [Produced By] – Matthew Ward Programmed By [Synth Programming] – Gary Leach
Companies, etc. Phonographic Copyright (p) – Matthew Ward Productions Copyright (c) – Matthew Ward Productions Distributed By – Benson Music Group Distributed By – R.G. Mitchell Family Books, Inc. Recorded At – Rosewood Studio Mastered At – The Mastering Lab Published By – Megan’s College Fund Music
I have heard from different sources that Matthew Ward’s “Toward Eternity” is either the last Jesus Music album or the first CCM album. Released right around the turn of the decade that many define as the historical marker for the two genres. Produced and written by many that were the founder and stalwarts of the Jesus Music era (Randy Stonehill, Phil Keaggy, Keith Green, Michael Omartian), but decidedly more polished, rock and pop driven than anything released previously.
I simply call it a classic that is clearly the center of a musical paradigm shirt in CCM. Production was stellar, performances spotless and Ward’s vocals soar. This is not a solo project from 1/3 of 2nd Chapter of Acts, it is a brilliant rock album conceived and released by an utterly unique and engaging artist in his own right. These are not left-overs from his group, but rather songs that far exceed much of what his siblings were releasing at the time.
Musicians on the album included those mentioned above along with Abraham Laboriel, David Kemper, Ray Parker Jr. and many more studio pros. The album is nearly flawless and many aficionados will list it in their all time Top 10. It was also released at a time when many Christian Music buffs were cutting their teeth on the genre and this album proved to be a revelation to many. I would not be surprised to find many of the “older” readers complaining on its placement in the countdown, and I will not disagree; I understand their reasoning.
Oddly enough, even fans of hard rock love the album despite its general lack of anything leaning in that direction. Much has to do with the great songs and Keaggy’s outrageous guitar work. It is always odd that Keaggy will often lend some of his best work on projects for other artists. But ultimately it comes down to the fact that Ward possesses one of the greatest voices on the planet. Period!
The album kicks off with the funky rock number “It’s Alright” lead by Keaggy’s great guitar work. This is a fearless rock groove with a monster bass line driving the low-end. The song is built around a particular end times expectation complete with money system, beast and mark. That notwithstanding, the song is just so good. The great vocal bridge leads to Keaggy’s driving rhythm guitar work.
Limited breaks between songs leads the starter right into a great Keith green piano driven song, “Soft Spot.” The Beatlesque (Penny Lane) sound of the chorus complete with a great string arrangement softens what could have been a much heavier song, and it actually works in the artists favor given the content of the song.
The acoustic “Noah” immediately sounds like a Phil Keaggy song. And it is. Written by Keaggy, Ward recorded it and someone once mentioned that Keaggy didn’t want to record it after hearing Ward’s masterful vocals. I don’t know if it’s one of those popular urban legends as Keaggy eventually would record his own version.
A personal favorite is the rocker, “Till the Walls Come Down.” Like the lead track, the song is one of the heavier musically and features Keaggy’s awesome guitar work, especially the solo. Written by Ward, Keaggy and Green (wow, just think about that for a moment), the song is most noted for the Michael Omartian lead “killer bees.” One must listen to truly understand the bees reference.
Returning to the most pop oriented piano sound with Green’s “Better Than This,” Ward let’s the vocals go on a few bright moments when he hits some unreal notes. The song has a great hook, but the same can be said for the entire album. I can go years in between listens and still never miss a note when singing along.
What would be initially the start of side two, “Your Love Came Over Me” is great Doobie Brothers (China Grove) type riff that never quits throughout. I know it may be hard for readers today to understand just how rare it was for a “safe” artist to deliver such a rock oriented album. The industry at the time would allow for the occasional pop rock riff, but rarely an album that rocked from start to finish.
The song was written by Keith Green and a gentlemen named Todd Fishkind. Fishkind may be one of the most important songwriters and musicians from the era that no one really knows about. He was very close to Green and they wrote quite a bit together, including the classic “Your Love Broke Through.” Fishkind would also wrote a book about Keith. He was also considered quite the musician.
“Hold On” follows and sounds like something off pop radio at the time. If not for Ward’s distinctive vocals I would swear it could have been a single off of Chicago 13. In fact, it would have been the best song off of Chicago 13.
The borderline “world music” influenced “Angels Unaware” is the only truly dated song from the project. The lyrics about guardian angels at times are silly (something about the “honkin’ flu”) but no more silly than what Amy Grant would record nearly a decade later.
The hiccup of “Angels Unaware” is immediately forgotten with the stunning and emotionally driving ballad, “Summer Snow.” The simple song of faith and God’s timing is exclusively driven by piano and strings. Tom Keene’s great string arrangement supports Green’s beautiful playing. Matthew shows the range both vocally and emotionally here. It ranks amongst the true classic from the era.
The “much too short” album closes with an Anne Herring tune, “The Vineyard.” It is all but an instrumental, as the only vocals are “ooh’s” playing the part of strings on top of Tom Keene’s beautiful piano work. It is a contemplative ending to an utterly brilliant and timeless classic album.
Whether it ended one or era or started another is not of consequence and the debate shall continue. What is of consequence is how truly revelatory and ground breaking the album was and how, over 30 years later, it is still a brilliant masterpiece by a wonderful artist.
Track Listing: 1 – It’s All Right – 2:34 2 – Soft Spot – 3:42 3 – Noah’s Song – 3:56 4 – Till The Walls Fall Down – 2:29 5 – Gotta Do Better Than This – 3:23 6 – Your Love Came Over Me – 4:07 7 – Hold On – 3:10 8 – Angels Unaware – 2:26 9 – Summer Snow – 3:36 10 – The Vineyard – 2:18
Credits: Scotty Edwards – Bass Todd Fishkind – Songwriter Jay Graydon – Guitars Keith Green – Songwriter, Piano Melody Green – Songwriter Annie Herring – Songwriter Buck Herring – Producer, Engineer, Songwriter Phil Keaggy – Songwriter, Guitars Tom Keene – String Arranger, Piano David Kemper – Drums Abraham Laboriel – Bass Michael Omartian – Horn Arranger, Songwriter, Synthesizer, Piano, Fender Rhodes, Percussion Ray Parker, Jr. – Guitars Matthew Ward – Songwriter, Vocal Arranger, Vocals
Companies, etc. Phonographic Copyright (p) – Sparrow Records, Inc. Recorded At – Buckskin Studio Recorded At – Sunwest Recording Studios
Produced by Terry Talbot, this 1984 outing from Dennis is a different sort of foray into Country music. It includes two songs written by Steve Camp, and one co-written by Dennis and Terry Talbot. There is also a pseudo-country version of Bach’s Jesu Joy Of Man’s Desiring. Dennis has been referred to as a “guitar virtuoso” and this is a demonstration of why. In general, this album has a lot more prominent guitar work than earlier releases like Rebel To The Wrong. Backing vocalists on this album include Dennis Agajanian, Julie Miller, Matthew Ward, and Terry Talbot. Over a career spanning around 30 years, Dennis released over a dozen albums and spent some significant time contributing to Billy Graham crusades. This record has all the polish you would expect from a Terry Talbot project, and a smooth sounding Nashville country sound.
Tracklist 1 – If You Say – 2:37 2 – Via Dolorosa – 4:36 3 – Where Are The Heroes – 4:20 4 – The Tongue Is A Fire – 4:32 5 – Jesu Joy Of Man’s Desiring – 2:54 6 – She’s A Servant (Single And Living Alone) – 2:55 7 – Goodbye Old Man – 3:32 8 – Colleen’s Pirouette – 2:48 9 – I Will Never Leave You – 3:36 10 – All That I Am – 2:52
Credits Acoustic Guitar, Vocals, Backing Vocals – Dennis Agajanian Backing Vocals – Julie Miller, Matthew Ward Bass – Abraham Laboriel, Scott Parish (tracks: A5) Drums – Bill Maxwell Electric Guitar – Michael Thompson Keyboards – Dennis Bouchard* Mastered By – Ken Pennell, Steve Hall Mixed By – Ron Capone Producer, Backing Vocals, Mixed By, Acoustic Guitar – Terry Talbot Recorded By [@ Poiema] – Bill Cobb Recorded By [@ Westwind] – Ron Capone
Companies, etc. Copyright (c) – The Sparrow Corporation Phonographic Copyright (p) – The Sparrow Corporation Record Company – Sparrow Records, Inc. Copyright (c) – Birdwing Music Copyright (c) – Cherry Lane Music Publishing Company Inc. Copyright (c) – Paragon Music Corp. Recorded At – Poiema Studios Recorded At – Westwind Studio Mastered At – Future Disc
This was Ward’s second solo album. All songs were written by Ward and keyboard player, Jim Tenneboe. The album definitely has a more rock feel than his work with 2nd Chapter of Acts or his previous solo album. Supporting that Rock sound and partly responsible for it is guitarist Dann Huff (White Heart). The album only had one single however which was “Love” which made it to #14. The album is pretty good with strong keyboards and guitar but was a little thrifty on the content with only 8 tracks. Personally at times I don’t think Ward’s voice matches the songs but I’m nitpicking because it’s a really good album.
Tracklist 1 – Red And Yellow, Black And White – 3:38 2 – Trust In You – 4:18 3 – By Your Side – 4:26 4 – Armed And Dangerous – 4:12 5 – Glory To God – 3:44 6 – Moment By Moment – 3:53 7 – Put On The Armour – 4:01 8 – Love – 4:58
Credits Arranged By – Jim Tenneboe, Matthew Ward Art Direction, Design – Bradley Grose Artwork By [Cover Concept] – Bradley Grose, Buddy Owens Backing Vocals – Eric Tagg, Matthew Ward Bass – Lee Jones Drums – Mike Baird Engineer – Greg Hunt Engineer [2nd] – Daffydd Morgan Guitar – Dann Huff Horns – Chuck Smith, Keith Jourdan, Kim Hutchcroft, René Saenz Keyboards, Programmed By [Keyboard Programming] – Jim Tenneboe Mastered By – Bernie Grundman Photography By – Constance Ashley Photography By [Back Cover Photo] – Marty Justice Producer – Matthew Ward Saxophone [Sax Solos] – Kim Hutchcroft
Companies, etc. Phonographic Copyright (p) – Live Oak Records Copyright (c) – Live Oak Records Manufactured By – Word, Inc. Distributed By – Word, Inc. Pressed By – ElectroSound Los Angeles – ∆ 27319 Recorded At – Rosewood Studio Recorded At – Easter Song Studios Mastered At – Bernie Grundman Mastering Copyright (c) – Megin’s College Fund Music Copyright (c) – Midi Mouse Music Published By – Megin’s College Fund Music Published By – Midi Mouse Music
By this point 2nd Chapter Of Acts was all done with studio work so Ward could concentrate on his solo career. Annie Herring from 2nd Chapter however does join Ward on the album. The album continues his more upbeat style and really several tracks on this album could easily be classified as Pop. The album had 3 singles. Far Behind made it to #10, Perfect Union to #3, and You Alone to #21. All in all a pretty successful album though it seems to get lost sometimes as his previous album, Armed & Dangerous, made quite a splash but this one didn’t seem as good of an album.
Tracklist 1 – Then I Realized – 4:32 2 – Racing For The Goal – 4:21 3 – You Alone – 3:42 4 – Show Them – 3:53 5 – Heart – 3:25 6 – So Many Are Lookin’ – 3:10 7 – Time Will Tell – 4:25 8 – Far Behind – 3:30 9 – Perfect Union – 4:38 10 – Fade To White – 4:26
Credits Arranged By [Musical Arrangements] – John Andrew Schreiner Art Direction, Design – Bradley Grose Backing Vocals – Annie Herring, Interdenominational Youth Choir Of Nachodoches, Kelly Willard (tracks: 5), Nelly Greisen Bass – Leon Gaer Classical Guitar – Frank Kimlico Drums – Mike Baird Engineer [Engineered By] – Greg Hunt Guitar – Michael Thompson Keyboards – John Andrew Schreiner Lyrics By – Matthew Ward Mastered By – Doug Saax Music By – Jim Tenneboe (tracks: 5, 6), John Andrew Schreiner (tracks: 1 to 10), Matthew Ward (tracks: 1 to 4, 6 to 10) Other [Make Up] – Ken Gonzales Photography By – Aaron Rapoport Photography By [Assistant] – Tracy Lamonica Producer [Produced By] – John Andrew Schreiner Programmed By [Synthesizer] – Gary Leach, John Andrew Schreiner
Companies, etc. Phonographic Copyright (p) – Live Oak Records Copyright (c) – Live Oak Records Manufactured By – Word, Inc. Distributed By – Word, Inc. Recorded At – Rosewood Studio Mixed At – Rosewood Studio Mastered At – The Mastering Lab Published By – Megin’s College Fund Music Published By – JAS Music Published By – MIDI Mouse Music
This was the last album from 2nd Chapter of Acts that featured original material. The supporting tour for this album was also their last live performance. That performance was on August 12th of 1988. There were quite a few comments at the time of release that it was a final album only recorded to finish out a contract, i.e. mailed it in. I don’t think so, the album has a bit more upbeat than their previous albums and felt fairly progressive for them. I almost wonder if this more upbeat sound would have been a great direction for them which could have provided a but more life for the band. Matthew Wards solo career was well under way at this point and maybe he found it all just too overwhelming to be in both bands. Anyway give this one a listen if you like your easy listening with some keyboards.
1 – Humble Yourself – 3:57
2 – It’s No Masquerade – 3:30
3 – Sing Over Me – 4:05
4 – You Are All In All – 4:59
5 – A Tender Heart – 2:21
6 – I Reach Out – 3:43
7 – Fallin’ In On You – 4:25
8 – Maybe Some Other Day – 3:45
9 – Take It To All The World – 3:03
10 – Far Away Places – 3:44
Art Direction – Bradley Grose
Bass – Lee Jones (tracks: 1), Leon Gaer
Creative Director [Set Direction] – Buddy Owens
Design Concept [Cover Concept], Design – Bradley Grose, Buddy Owens
Drums – Jack Kelly (tracks: 5, 6), Michael Celenza (tracks: 1), Mike Baird
Engineer – Buck Herring, Greg Hunt
Guitar – Dann Huff (tracks: 4), Marty Walsh, Michael Thompson (tracks: 5, 6)
Keyboards, Arranged By [Instruments] – John Andrew Schreiner (tracks: 5, 6), Smitty Price
Percussion – Charles Barnett (tracks: 1, 3)
Photography By – Mark Engbrecht
Producer – Buck Herring
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Live Oak Records
Copyright (c) – Live Oak Records
Manufactured By – Word, Inc.
Distributed By – Word, Inc.
Made By – Discovery Systems – 1760100A
Recorded At – Easter Song Studios
Recorded At – Rosewood Studio
This live album was recorded in Mylon’s hometown of Atlanta, and it was a rock’n’roll homecoming. The crowd sounds great, and the band is working them. This is a great example of a live record. Interesting inclusion is the second track “It’s Alright” which appeared on Matthew Ward’s landmark album “Toward Eternity.” Mylon’s version is a different take and it works well for him.
1 – Introduction Jesus Is A Waymaker – 3:29
2 – It’s Alright – 5:14
3 – Free Rap & Freedom – 6:31
4 – Relationships Rap & Child Of The Father – 4:44
5 – Workin’ On A Building / Jesus Is The Rock – 13:42
6 – Jesus Loves Me – 1:58
7 – The Invitation – 7:20
8 – Coming Back Again – 1:43
Bass, Vocals – Kenny Bentley
Design – Mike McCarty
Drums, Percussion – Ben Hewitt
Engineer [Live] – Joe Neil, Larry Goode
Keyboards, Synthesizer, Vocals – Stan Coates
Lead Guitar, Vocals, Photography By [Inner Sleeve] – Dean Harrington
Mastered By – Larry Nix
Producer, Engineer [Live], Mixed By – Joe Hardy
Producer, Vocals, Guitar – Mylon LeFevre
Rhythm Guitar, Vocals – Scott Allen
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Word, Inc.
Copyright (c) – Word, Inc.
Produced For – Broken Heart Productions
Published By – Angel Band Music
Published By – Dayspring Music
Published By – Latter Rain Music
Published By – Rainy Now Music
Published By – Cherry Lane Music Publishing Company Inc.
Mastered At – Ardent Mastering
This was a sampler from Myrrh that featured known and unknown artists. Here is a bit about these artists and their respective tracks;
Tata Vega – “In Your Light” – Tata Vega is a secular artist who had great success in the 70’s with stage musicals. As far as I can tell she never released a Christian album. The track appears to be unreleased.
Bob Carlisle – “Heaven Is Waiting” & “Teach Me How” – Bob Carlisle is best known for being in the band Allies in the 80’s and had several solo projects in the 90’s. Both tracks appears to be unreleased.
Bryan Duncan – “Come As You Are” – Bryan is well known for being in Sweet Comfort Band and then a very successful solo career. The track appears to be unreleased.
Matthew Ward – “Light Of The World” – Matthew is well known for being in
2nd Chapter Of Acts and then a very successful solo career. The track appears to be unreleased.
Howard McCrary – “In Your Presence” – Howard released a solo album in 1985 but is better known for being a member of The California Raisins. This track Appears to be unreleased.
Kim Boyce/John Elefante – “Helpless” – Kim Boyce had several Pop Christian albums in the 80’s. John Elefante is well known as a member of Kansas and as a very successful producer in the Christian music scene. The track appears to be unreleased.
Rick Riso – “Heaven Must Have Sent You” – Rick has released 3 Christian albums and this track appeared on “Shouting At The Walls” as a CD Bonus Track.
Benny Hester – “Then You Call My Name” – Benny is a well known solo Christian artist. This track Appears to be unreleased.
Tommy Funderburk – “Lift Up My Voice” – Tommy is best known for being one of the members of The Front. He did also have a solo album in 2005. This track Appears to be unreleased.
1 – Tata Vega – In Your Light – 3:50
2 – Bob Carlisle – Heaven Is Waiting – 4:29
3 – Bryan Duncan – Come As You Are – 4:32
4 – Matthew Ward – Light Of The World – 4:30
5 – Howard McCrary – In Your Presence – 4:23
6 – Kim Boyce, John Elefante – Helpless – 3:28
7 – Rick Riso – Heaven Must Have Sent You – 3:48
8 – Bob Carlisle – Teach Me How – 4:29
9 – Benny Hester – Then You Call My Name – 3:19
10 – Tommy Funderburk – Lift Up My Voice – 4:14
This concert was recorded at Church On The Way, Van Nuys, CA. This is certainly not a Rock & Roll concert and though all we have is audio I think we can rest assured there wasn’t a light show or pyrotechnics. But seriously this is a decidedly easy listening and praise oriented album. The one exception was the one Matthew Ward song which even I found to be a little on the Rock and Roll side for a church concert in 1983. Nowadays it wouldn’t be an issue but in 1983 I’m betting there were some odd looks at the opening guitar riffs. Good version of the song however. Anyway, if you’re a fan of either of the headliners your gonna love this album, the songs are very well done and there is good testimony on a lot of the tracks.
1 – Rejoice – 3:05
2 – I Fall In Love / Change – 4:20
3 – Lightning Flash – 2:52
4 – Bread Of Life – 2:14
5 – Come Holy Spirit – 2:45
6 – Easter Song – 3:15
7 – Here I Go – 2:30
8 – ‘Til The Walls Fall Down – 2:53
9 – Nobody Can Take My Life – 3:24
10 – Mainstream – 4:33
11 – See This House – 3:04
12 – Believing For The Best In You – 3:27
13 – Dr. Jesus – 3:28
14 – Praise His Name And See It Happen – 3:07
15 – Which Way The Wind Blows – 4:22
16 – Killing Thousands – 4:12
17 – Mansion Builder – 3:23
18 – Haven’t You Heard – 3:37
Backing Vocals – 2nd Chapter Of Acts (tracks: B4 to C4)
Bass – Herb Melton
Cover [Cover Coordination] – B. Charlyne Hinesley
Design – Stan Evenson Design
Drums – Jack Kelly
Engineer – Buck Herring
Guitar – Peter York
Photography By – Mark Hanauer
Piano – Michael Omartian (tracks: B4 to C4)
Piano, Vocals – Annie Herring (tracks: A1 to B3, D1 to D4)
Producer – Buck Herring
Synthesizer – Greg Springer
Vocals – Matthew Ward (tracks: A1 to B3, D1, D3, D4), Nelly Greisen (tracks: A1 to B3, D1, D3, D4)
Vocals, Written-By – Michael And Stormie Omartian (tracks: B4 to C4)
Written-By – Anne Herring (tracks: A1 to A3, A5 to B1, B3, D2 to D4)
Record Company – Sparrow Records, Inc.
Distributed By – Word Records
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Sparrow Records, Inc.
Published By – Birdwing Music
Published By – Cherry Lane Music Pub. Co.
Published By – Ears To Hear Music
Published By – Holicanthus Music
Published By – Latter Rain Music
Published By – MCA Music
Published By – See This House Music
Published By – Word Music
Recorded At – The Church On The Way
Edited At – Weddington Studios
Remixed At – Weddington Studios
Recorded live at Church On The Way, Van Nuys, CA.
Ph’lip Side generally doesn’t get a lot of mention by fans but it honestly deserves to.
The set up of the album is novel in that one side is acoustic guitar and the other electric. The album jacket represents this by having an acoustic guitar on one side and an electric on the other. A novel approach and idea for an album which I like.
Keaggy’s guitar work is flawless as usual and this album gives us examples of his varying styles. The original album was released in 1980 and then re-released in 1982 with a substitute song as well as the order being changed. The 1982 release has stickers on the jacket to represent the changes. Piece of trivia – Greg X. Volz and Matthew Ward both do some backing vocals on this album.
Playlist Includes “Send Out Your Light” courtesy of Elisha Belcher
1 – Just A Moment Away – 4:00
2 – Sunday School – 4:32
3 – A Royal Commandment – 5:46
4 – Pulling Down – 5:28
5 – A Child (In Everyone’s Heart) – 3:55
6 – Little Ones – 4:27
7 – Spend My Life With You – 4:13
8 – I Belong To You – 4:10
9 – In Your Keep – 3:28
Backing Vocals – Dan Collins, Greg X. Volz, Jamie Owens-Collins, Matthew Ward (2)
Bass [Electric Synthisized] – Leon Gaer
Coordinator [Production] – B. Charlyne Hinesley
Drums – Paul Leim
Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar – Phil Keaggy
Engineer – Jack Joseph Puig
Percussion – Alex Acuña
Piano, Piano [Rhodes], Synthesizer – Richard Souther
Producer – Dan Collins, Phil Keaggy