Mark Schultz 'All Things Possible' Album Review
Prime Cuts: I Gave Up, I Will Love You Still, More to You than This
In 2003 Schultz released an album entitled "Stories and Songs." In hindsight, it is more than a mere titular; it has become a career defining moniker for Schultz. Ever since his debut self-titled record in 2000, Schultz's has been a sublime story teller via his songs. God has definitely gifted Schultz with the blessed gift of unfurling the emotional layers of his story songs: Who would not shed tears when Shultz sings about parents praying for a sick child ("He's My Son")? And whose heart would not be wrenched when he sings about the sacrifices of many at World War II ("Letters from War")? There are just no flat characters in the story songs he sang-each person in his narrative becomes such a personal friend that we find ourselves enthralled by his music. And three years have passed since Schultz last graced us with a non-instrumental studio album.
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Having left Word/Curb Records, "All Things Possible" is Schultz's debut with Fair Trade Services (also the recording home of Philips, Craig and Dean, MercyMe and Sara Groves). Inspired by the birth of his first born child and coming off from biking 3,500 miles to aid orphans and widows, these 10 tracks are reeked with personal testimonies of God's grace and workings in his own personal life. But stacked against his earlier efforts (such as his stellar debut "Mark Schultz" ad his sophomore gem "Song Cinema") there are some pleasant moments but don't expect any "wah" moments here. Sure, there are the usual flare of story ballads and uptempo pop pieces but there's nothing as career defining as "Back in His Arms Again" or "I Am" or "Walking Her Home."
Maybe it's because Schultz has often been associated himself with Christian Adult Contemporary, his producers Seth Mosley (Newsboys) and Pete Kipley (MercyMe) are trying to give this record a more busy polished rock feel. As a result, the uptempoes outnumber by far his sensitive story ballads; but that's not the major concern many of them are pretty non-descript without bearing much individuality. That's not to say all is ropey. Among the better ones is 'I Gave Up." With a doo-wop 60s rock n' roll feel, "I Gave Up" is a finger snapping decry about our idolatrous attitude of hoarding material stuff rather than to be saturated with God and the things that matter. Inspired by his wife's pregnancy, the country-tinged rocker "Haven't We Met" was written by Schultz in expectation of his child. While "One Day" was inspired by Schultz's encounter with a tear-filled kid in his wheelchair throwing up his hands in despair and frustrations. "One Day" speaks of the day when all suffering will end when "one day we will touch the healer's hand/One day we will be whole again."
Fans who have been mesmerized by Schultz story ballads need not fear. Though there are fewer this time round but they are still here. Co-written with his wife "I Will Love You Still," with Schultz's emotionally convicting tenor, is just a gorgeous piano love song that truly warms the heart. "What Do You Give the King" is done at a tad faster; though it adds no new shafts of insights to the incarnation of Christ, it could easily be a Christmas solo item across churches during the festive time. "More To You Than This" is more old school Schultz where he warmly encourages a struggling girl that our worth is found in Christ alone.
Though the title cut "All Things Possible" came after Schultz witnessed how God provided financially for a small and struggling church, the song itself suffers too much from overwrought clichés. And the busy assault of guitars and some strident drumming only drowns the song more and more into tedium. The same can be said of "Be Still." Frankly, with such a discography of gems, one comes to "All Things Possible" with higher expectations. And as an album it flares well; but when you know it is Schultz you expect more.
READ HERE Touching Songs and Comedy in One - Mark Schultz & Anita Renfroe On Tour
READ HERE Mark Schultz Uncovers Possibilities with, All Things Possible, on September 4
WATCH HERE Mark Schultz - Love Has Come
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