Release Date: June 19th 2012
Reviewed by Joshua Andre
Heather Clark- Overcome (Amazon mp3/iTunes)
In 1999, Jesus Culture’s first conference was launched in Redding California; under the tutelage of lead pastor Banning Leibscher. Since 2007, Jesus Culture have been producing numerous albums and DVD’s, and also raising future worship leaders up with the same heart as the mission of the movement- “Jesus Culture Music exists to ignite revival in the nations of the earth. Our heart is to compel the Body of Christ to radically abandon itself to a lifestyle of worship, motivated by a passion to see God receive the glory that is due His name….” Over the past few years, Jesus Culture Music has introduced many artists to their roster from their home church, each with an infectious desire to see Jesus’ kingdom rise here on Earth. Artists such as Kim Walker-Smith, Chris Quilala, Kristene DiMarco, Williams Matthews and Jake Hamilton have all been part, or are still part of the Jesus Culture ministry; and now Jesus Culture Music has introduced Heather Clark’s debut live album Overcome. In this offering, Heather’s passion for Jesus, and versatile music in the form of upbeat energetic dance tunes and worshipful ballads; are evident. Heather’s album is something to savour, and I can say she has a bright future indeed!
At a first glace through this 11 track album; one can see six tracks beyond five minutes, and three of them over eight minutes. This may be enough to be overwhelming or daunting, and perhaps turn one off the album, as I can personally say that some worship tracks that I have listened to have run for longer than needed. However each track on Overcome is so immersing that you can’t help but be lost in the moment of the worship, and then the track length doesn’t even matter. With such a poise and flair, and a sense of total abandonment to Jesus when she sings; Heather’s first album is packed full of gems and hidden treasures. The first track “Come In” is a celebratory guitar prominent tune that is full of surrender to Jesus. A worship song that is just full of praise to Jesus for who He is; the chorus where Heather declares ‘…come in, come in, king of glory…’ is particularly powerful, with a heartfelt and energetic bridge that is somewhat spontaneous ‘…we come, we come, we come to greet the king…’ quite magical as well. Heather’s fervent vocals and the live setting of this album also make the opening track an enjoyable one to listen to.
The next two tracks “Overcome” and “Undivided Focus” both clock in on nearly nine minutes; but these songs seem to flow and you can hardly notice the length! Opening with a guitar riff, Heather’s relatable lyrics and big heart for Jesus is truly shown in these vulnerable and emotional lyrics as she declares that only Jesus can overcome our situations ‘…I’m coming to be touched by the coal, I’m coming that You’d reach out Your hand and make me whole, I walked by this Fire so many times, but now I’m coming in…’. Normally in these 5-10 minute track songs, sometimes I do get bored a bit if the song seems to drag. Not so with the title track, as Heather injects a spark throughout, as she sings the chorus ‘…Overcome, I want to be overcome, Let the fire burn in me for the pure in heart will see You Lord…’ and the bridge ‘…baptize us in the Holy Spirit, baptize us in Fire!…’. I can’t help but be swept up in this worship moment along with Heather and the audience! Well done on a special title track! The 3rd track is moving too, with a piano centric ballad focus. Probably my most favourite track on the album; each word Heather sings is purposeful, as is each guitar strum and note, as Heather sings a song of adoration and surrender to God; a song of love to God ‘…take my life I lay it down, all my gifts, all my crowns, take my life and lay it down, I am Yours, I am in love with undivided focus, I am in love with You…’. With a crescendo slowly rising in the bridge, as the song turns into an all out praise anthem destined to be sung in churches soon; this song is a much needed reminder and prayer that Jesus knows every inch of us and we can know Him the same way too! Such a sobering yet freeing thought!
The gentle and peaceful track “Kisses Of His Mouth” describes the eternal qualities of Jesus, and is one of the most personal and intimate songs on the album. With the piano in the forefront of this poignant and moving ballad, Heather pours out her soul as she bares her emotions and sings directly to Jesus; asking ‘…the King [to] bring me into His chamber, take me away with You, let’s hurry…’. Singing this song like one lover to another, Heather has brilliantly captured the relationship between Jesus and the church in a song, which is no easy task, reminding me of how Jesus longs to be with his bride- the church! Well done Heather, this track is sublime!
As the album progresses, many themes and facts of Jesus are discovered. “Dwell” is a simple acoustic laid back type of track with Heather just basking and dwelling in the presence of God, being amazed by the fact that he has ‘…called us Your own…’. This is a type of song that could be used in the church for soaking. Segueing from this soft worship moment is the upbeat “Shadow Of Your Wings”. With many guitars penetrating the track; this is a jump-for-joy type of energetic song, with Heather singing out ‘…in the shadow of Your wings, I will rejoice, and my soul follows close behind You, and Your right arms upholds me…’. In this life God has given us many things to be thankful about, and to rejoice over, and this song at the midpoint of the album does all the right things to get us off our feet and proclaim that Jesus is Saviour! With a big drum beat and a solid easy-to-move to tempo; Heather has constructed an anthem that should be sung in churches soon!
“I’m Still Thirsty” carries on from its jovial predecessors and is quite bold with the addition of synth and other electronic effects. With the vertical worship focus still firmly entrenched in the deep and rich lyrics; Heather proclaims ‘…Oh come on let’s worship, let’s tell the Lord that we are in need; cause I’m still thirsty, and I’m still seeking, there’s gotta be more…’. Another church type anthem song; I can imagine this to be a fun dance track, and the bridge of ‘…there’s gotta be more…’ in reference to life should even get non believers thinking about deeper issues, and hopefully about Jesus. Well done Heather!
“I Know I’m Loved”, starts of slow, but that’s the purpose of such a ballad track; with more emphasis on the heartfelt lyrics. Declaring that Jesus is a place of freedom and safety ‘…I know I’m loved, I know I’m wanted…’; Heather’s inspiring and exquisite vocals perfectly match the guitar and piano crescendo build-up. The middle tracks are truly a highlight for me! This trend continues gladly with “Show Us Your Glory”. With potential for radio airplay; the topic of asking God for his presence so that we can go to our ‘mission fields’ and ‘preach’ the gospel; is a meaty and vulnerable one indeed; but Heather tackles this with aplomb and composure. The bridge ‘…who will go for Me, the nations are in need…I will rise for You, let Your glory shine through…’ is also a bit daunting for those afraid to step out in faith; however God may not be calling you specifically to the nations. This song is about empowerment in whatever field God has place you in, He may even want you to witness to Your neighbour! What a well sung and produced track Heather!
The last two songs delve into the heart of being a Christian, a nice attribute and a welcome closing effort from Heather! “Lamb of God” is an acoustic track under 3 minutes simply telling us about how Jesus washes us clean by Him dying on the cross and rising from the dead. This short but sweet offering almost seems like the prelude, or the taster for the final opus on this album, – the hymn “How Great Thou Art”. With just a piano and Heather’s captivating voice for the first two verses, then a full band added to create a rousing and moving finish; this is worship to God at the pinnacle, at its most vulnerable and messy; yet this type of uninhibited worship is what changes and impacts lives. Well done Heather for one of the best ‘last songs’ I have heard in a while!
As a live debut album, Heather Clark has delivered a worship album that matches the intensity of many of the worship leaders on the Passion conferences, and the Jesus Culture worship team. With the bar raised so high with this resoundingly good effort first up; I’ll be eager to see her sophomore album! Well done Heather on a refreshing take on worship leading! You have created a treasure that will long live in the hearts of many who listen!
- Come In
- Undivided Focus
- Kisses of His Mouth
- Shadow of Your Wings
- I’m Still Thirsty
- I Know I’m Loved
- Show Us Your Glory
- Lamb of God
- How Great Thou Art
Favourite Tracks: Overcome, Undivided Focus, Shadow of Your Wings, I’m Still Thirsty, Show Us Your Glory, How Great Thou Art