We’ve teamed up with our friends over at One Man In The Middle to bring you regular, unbiased and honest reviews of music albums and EPs aimed at the Christian marketplace. This week we have Morning Star by Jonny Patton with an overall review score of 7.6 out of 10.
This is Morning Star, the debut EP from worship leader Jonny Patton. Jonny’s heart is to help people encounter God, not only through worship, but also in the everyday. Jonny is Worship Director at St John’s Colchester and he was previously Worship Director at All Saints Woodford Wells in NE London for 7 years.
This EP has been produced by Henry Marsden, who has worked with Worship Central, Martin Smith and Jake Isaac. On initial the release, the Morning Star EP went straight to number 7 in the iTunes Christian and Gospel charts in the UK.
This is the second release from worship leader Jonny Patton, which arrives five years after the first. Working with accomplished producer Henry Marsden he has put together this 5 track EP which was released in June 2015.
“Morning Star”, the title track and first track on this EP leaves you in no doubt that this is a modern worship EP in the vein of something from Hillsong or one of the other big label worship bands. So “Morning Star” starts with a few notes on the piano introducing the melody before the background music starts edging in. The backing really moves this track along at pace but Jonny’s measured lyrics and vocal tone provide a good feeling to the track so it doesn’t feel like he’s playing catch-up to the music. Jonny’s voice is not a big booming sound, but it is well-assured and confident. Some people have suggested that the music “threatens to overwhelm” the vocal, but I think the pair are balanced perfectly. “Morning Star” is definitely my personal favourite track on this EP as Jonny lifts vertical worship declaring God’s goodness. It’s simple, clear, possibly, but a good worship song that anyone can easily sing along with, certainly by the second listen.
“Saviour of My Soul” continues the similar mix of instrumentation and vocals. This track has a focus on Jesus work on the cross, so this is a track that really exalts Jesus and what his love, life and death accomplished for us. Through this track we have moments that are a little more reflection with some backing keyboard sound and just Jonny’s voice with a bit of reverb, which shows the delicacy and the thought that went into the production. As this contemplation continues the backing builds back up moving from reflection to celebration.
In “Light Streams” there is much more focus on the vocal performance and this songs has a very different feel to it, as the call is to take the message out to the world and show the light in the darkness.
“Come, Holy Ghost” is not what you might expect. So many songs that welcome the Holy Spirit into our worship tend to be just that, a simple invitation asking the Spirit to inspire and interact, to fill us anew. This song is different and tries to include more of what the Holy Spirit’s purpose is in the lives of the believer. There are some theological terms in this that Jonny seems to have struggled to really insert into this and it doesn’t quite flow, at least not to my ears – but I love the fact that he hasn’t just followed the crowd.
The last track of the EP is “All The Saints” which is another out-and-out worship track. What I think I have liked most about this album is that Jonny seems to have tried to avoid the cliche’s of many modern worship song-writers and this is to be commended. For me the stand out tracks that work fantastically well are “Saviour of My Soul” and my favourite of this recording “Morning Star”.
Having read an article from Jonny about the creation of this EP it seems he was a little star-struck and humbled by the way the creative team listened to his ideas and explained theirs. I think having such a talented team around him has given him the confidence to make this as good and creative as it is. There are certainly some new ideas here that are worth building on. And although, for me, it didn’t quite work the “Come, Holly Ghost” track brings a depth of understanding that I think is missing from many modern worship songs that concentrate focus on the invitation to the Spirit rather than understanding of the Spirit and who He is, whilst keeping it Biblically trinitarian!
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