Ever since the dawn of CCM, worship leaders abound have tried to find their niche in the ever-growing genre, and one of the
more recent folks to take the plunge is Travis Taylor. A worship leader from Los Angeles, he has released his
debut album, You Have Loved, in hopes to, in his own words, "connect with a world full of people who love great music."
Does his record live up to this standard?
The majority of the album is worship songs, and for the debut album that it is, they are not too shabby. Highlights such
as "No One Who Compares," "Some Will Rise," "God of the Redeemed," and "Fruit of Lips" make out to be great original tracks,
some with lines taken right from Scripture. Also among the worship tunes are "Love Divine" and "He Lives," which are really
the older hymns "Cleanse Me" and "I Know My Redeemer Lives" with new choruses written by Taylor himself. If Taylor's work was
well known throughout the church worship community, I could very well see these songs being played at my own church. There are
also no cover songs here (save for the two modified hymns previously established), which delightfully set apart
You Have Loved from otherwise similar worship albums. (If one purchases the iTunes version of the album, two bonus
tracks are included for good measure, which are really so good that I am wondering why they were not included somewhere in
the original track listing!) The album ends with the epic seven-minute title track, which works quite well to put the album to
a great finish.
As stated before, the greater part of this album is indeed made up of worship tunes. However, the two that are not
("Meet You," "Picture in my Mind" and "I Found Love" from the iTunes version) are thrown in with the mix. Taylor has explained,
"I didn't want to write ten worship songs just so I could fit the mold of what would work on the shelf of the local Christian
bookstore. I wanted this album to reflect me as an artist. And as an artist, I write all kinds of stuff. It makes perfect
sense to me." Fair enough, but I cannot shake off the feeling that the inclusion of these two non-worship tracks seems to
interrupt the fluidity of the album's concept. The two tracks are great in their own right, and I see where Taylor is coming
from, but the cohesiveness of the album is crucial to consider, as well. Another two potential drawbacks to the album are the
songs' length and the vocals themselves. Many tracks seem to linger on for too long, and sometimes taking out a whole minute
of the song would have improved it considerably. And maybe they're just not my bag, but Taylor's vocals seem too "safe" at
some points in the record, with his tone not changing much, even with the more upbeat tracks. While some may really appreciate
the consistent soft tenor of Taylor, vocal experimentation is always welcomed.
So is Travis Taylor's first effort worth it? If you are just searching for a great new worship album, look no further.
But Taylor will need to iron out a few kinks before he can be a force to be reckoned with in the Christian mainstream market.
But this is not reason enough to not keep an eye on this Southern Californian singer/songwriter.
- Review date: 11/16/08, written by Roger Gelwicks of Jesusfreakhideout.com