Producer: Jason Kyle Saetveit and Chris Bevins
Record Label: 3Cr8tive
Selah is one of the most creative vocal groups in gospel music. With each new recording, they constantly surprise me with their songs and arrangements, especially with how they deliver fresh takes on time honored hymns. This latest release picks up where their 2017 release, “Unbreakable”, left off; as it was recorded after that release, but was put on hold as they completed and released “Firm Foundation” last year. Fans of Selah will definitely find a lot to like about this newest release.
The recording gets started with a beautiful acapella arrangement of the classic hymn, “GOD LEADS HIS DEAR CHILDREN ALONG”, before things get ramped up for the title song, “STEP INTO MY STORY”. Featuring Amy Perry, the song reminds us how God is intertwined into every aspect of our lives and how He knows us better than we know ourselves.
Todd Smith steps up next to sing the powerful, “WHEN THEY HEAR IT”. More than ever, the Church needs to proclaim the Gospel and be reminded that God’s Word does not return void, as the lyrics state, “Sing it, shout it, there’s wonder-working power when they hear it…let it echo from the highest mountain, there’s not a wall that’s high enough to stop it, let the earth hear of this good news…” The song is a powerful anthem for the Christian and Church as a whole.
Allan Hall takes the lead on an acoustically driven rendition of the hymn, “HE LEADETH ME” before Todd comes back to sing the first single from the recording, “HELLO, GRACE”. Continuing the theme laid out in the title track, the song reminds us that God’s grace is extended to us every day and is woven into every chapter of our lives.
Selah has a long track history of giving us stellar renditions of many of our favorite hymns, and here the group gives light and peppy arrangement of “WHAT A FRIEND WE HAVE IN JESUS”, and Amy renders a delightful performance.
Selah typically pays tribute to Todd’s African heritage (he was raised there, as his parents were missionaries in Africa), and here they offer up a unique rendition of one of my favorite hymns, “NOTHING BUT THE BLOOD”, before things get kicked into high gear with a fun and energetic rendition of the classic, “JOSHUA FIT THE BATTLE”. If you need a good “wake me up” song, this is it!
Contemporary Praise & Worship artist, Phil Wickham penned the wonderful lyrics of the modern-day hymn, “LIVING HOPE”. This is a tremendous song of praise, and Amy does a incredible job interpreting the powerful lyrics, “Hallelujah, praise the One who set me free, Hallelujah, death has lost its grip on me, You have broken every chain, there’s salvation in Your Name, Jesus Christ, my living hope!”
Allan closes things out with a meditative arrangement of another favorite hymn, “SHALL WE GATHER AT THE RIVER”, which is paired with “THE WATER IS WIDE”. This latter is wonderful hymn I’m not familiar with, but I love the lyric, as it reminds us “Our Lord shines clearly against the storm, turns darkest night to brightest day, rough waters fade to perfect calm, a blazing lamp, He’ll light our way…Christ is the center of all we see, He is the jewel that guides us true, no matter what, Lord, You’ll stay with me, no matter what, I’ll stay with you”. What a wonderful reminder to close out on!
Having a similar sound and feel to “Unbreakable” (2017), it doesn’t quite reach the pinnacle like “You Amaze Us” (2014) and “Firm Foundation” (2019) did. One thing I liked about this recording is it’s about half hymns and half new tunes, so it’s a good mix of songs. I am so used to their recordings having upwards of 14 tunes, so it was a bit of shock for me with just 10 songs…I was like, it’s over already? But I am always excited when Selah releases new music, no matter how many songs are included, and this latest one offers a really great mix of styles and tempos. There truly is no chance of being bored! I urge everyone to let Selah music be part of your story, and let their music be a part of the soundtrack of your life…and this release is a great place to start!
(stars denote personal favorites)
God Leads His Dear Children Along
Step Into My Story
When They Hear It**
He Leadeth Me**
What a Friend We Have in Jesus*
Nothing But the Blood
Joshua Fit the Battle**
Shall We Gather at the River/The Water is Wide*