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 aimed at the Christian marketplace. This week we have Right Here from Charles Billingsley with an overall review score of 7.3 out of 10.
Charles Billingsley has a diverse range of accolades already which include heading up NewSong and 24 recordings as a solo artist. Charles now stands poised for a new season on the wings of his groundbreaking latest studio recording, Right Here.
Not only is the project one of StowTown Records’ debut pop/Inspirational releases, as the label—helmed by industry veterans Ernie Haase and Wayne Haun—recently expanded their roster into the contemporary Christian market, but Charles selected a team of top producers to steer the recording: GRAMMY® Award-winner Seth Mosley (TobyMac, Newsboys) and Mike “X” O’Connor (for KING & COUNTRY, Matthew West); and Dove Award-winner Keith Everette Smith (Karyn Williams).
You should never judge a book by it’s cover. You should also never judge an album from it’s cover – especially when you only have a digital download! Neither should you give something a cursory listen and never investigate further. My process for reviewing music is such that I will listen to an album a few times whilst I am engaged in other things, and then prior to review I will listen in a little more detail. On my first listen I didn’t particularly like this album, a lot of the songs seemed be over-synthed and similar.
I am glad that I have had a chance to come back to it and have another listen because I know that I was mistaken. Yes there are some similar beats and sounds, but this is a collection of songs that do have definition that was missed on my first listening.
This album is a contemporary worship selection with tracks written by a team of writers and Charles himself. Ultimately it is Charles that has to bring life to these words and here he does this brilliantly. The first track is somewhat biographical talking about his knowledge of God being something that never connected with his soul, until eventually he takes it for himself – it stops being knowledge and becomes a relationship. Many of us have similar experiences in our past of that moment when our spiritual life takes off and it is no longer an abstract thought, but a reality.
The second and third tracks have a more vibrant worship feel that takes you from the valley to the mountain tops as we praise God in all our moments. This album really starts to head into it’s main mission with the fourth track “God Is Good”. This is an easy thing to sing in the easy times, but this reminds us that God is good even when things seem to be against us – God is always good. This is a pattern for this album that there are uplifting tracks. They continue immediately as we head into “Right Here”.
This is another reminder of all the things that we face, the tough stuff that it’s hard to talk to. No matter what you are going through your healer, comforter is “Right Here”. At the same time you can leave all your problems “Right Here” where they can be dealt with. This is a clever and touching song – not necessarily one you would find your church singing Congregationally, but definitely one that could be used in the church. There is a strange feeling that many of these things have touched Charles’ life and this is a song born out of experience.
One of the highlights of this album, for me at least, is the new take on Delirious’ hit “Majesty”, which has always been a favourite of mine. So the refresh of this track is a pleasant surprise. Another track that resonated with me was the great song “There’s Nothing My God Cannot Do”. Sadly this isn’t the Sunday School classic that I grew up with, (how I long for some serious worship leaders to record some of these classic songs!) but it is a good song in it’s own right that expresses a similar idea. God is greater than any other thing that you can think of. There’s nothing that God cannot do, but equally He chooses to use us.
The album rounds out in great style with a brilliant track that is pure worship from Charles accompanied by Meredith Andrews. This is quite a powerful, desperate calling out to God for us to see Him working again. I love this track and it is a definite favourite and if you are someone who cherry-picks tracks then you should definitely put this one on your list. Finally we have a track about keeping our eyes on the horizon, waiting for the return of Jesus.
There are a few different styles on this album but I still think it could have done with a little more variety in the overall mix. This was demonstrated to me seconds ago when the album finished and the next track was some powerful Reggae from Christafari, the distinction immediately made me sit up and listen!
Charles Billingsley has been releasing Christian music for quite a number of years, but in the UK I would say he is a relatively unknown singer and worship leader. I think he is definitely under-rated. This is a strong release and his duet with Meredith Andrews really is a ‘must-listen’ track that should garner some attention for this talented worship-leader.
For track listing, ranking breakdown and more check out onemaninthemiddle.com