Josh Garrels is Just Getting Started
Words: Matt Crummy
Imagine that as a kid you grew up pitching in the local park district baseball league every summer. You kept playing through high school and even college. One day, a friend hooks you up with an opportunity to sit in a Major League dugout and watch a Yankees game from the field. You watch as Mariano Rivera pitches a flawless game. You literally get a front-row seat to see a future Hall of Fame pitcher in the prime of his career.
Now don’t get me wrong, I can appreciate a solid baseball game. But I’ll never have quite the same depth of appreciation as someone who has spent years practicing and playing the sport.
“…his contributions shouldn’t be undervalued just because he didn’t feature Lecrae on his new single.”
This is how it feels for me to listen to Josh Garrels. As someone who has played, written, and performed music since I was a little kid, experiencing Garrels’s art is like witnessing an incredible pitcher as he’s entering into the prime of his career. He’s not overly flashy. He will probably never sell out a huge arena. But his contributions shouldn’t be undervalued just because he didn’t feature Lecrae on his new single.
In his latest studio release, Home, Garrels creates a modern folk album full of carefully crafted cinematic soul. His voice has never been stronger. And he has discovered that his falsetto could be a powerful tool to craft a soaring chorus.
Garrels doesn’t pretend to have neat answers for everything, but he accurately represents some of life’s tensions as well as riff on God’s power to change us through His providence and strength.
Garrels’s acoustic guitar is still subtly driving the bus on this album, but nearly every song includes a full horn section and a mixed group of background vocals. This further contributes to the folksy neo-soul feel throughout.
Born Again, the album’s opener, features a small orchestra and a sprawling soundscape full of samples and chunking piano chords that keep things moving along.
The next few songs ebb and flow until the electric guitars and power horns come out in full force on the album’s standout climax, The Arrow. Garrels’s vocals build to a soaring chorus that is blissfully triumphant.
Deeps cuts on this album also stand out with more reflective and vulnerable writing. Don’t miss Always Be and At The Table.
Home is a solid album from a Christian artist who continues to resist the temptation to write for K-LOVE.
© 2015 Walnut Creek Church