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REVIEW: Avenue – Crucified. Magnified. Glorified.

Producer: Information Not Provided
Record Label: Penn Street Records
Website: www.avenuemusic.net

Comprised of seasoned vocalists Kasey Kemp, Haley Kemp & Jonathan Mattingly, Avenue has quickly made a name within the Gospel music community for their exceptional harmony and powerful messages of encouragement and hope. The ministry focus is endorsed by the choice of name for this entity.  Avenue displays the mission that their music is the avenue by which they proclaim the greatest message there is – the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The album starts with a modern classic “Christ is Risen, He is Risen Indeed” from the pen of Keith and Kristyn Getty. The Gettys, if someone isn’t familiar, are modern hymn writers from Ireland. In my opinion they are some of the best. Naturally this song gets a Celtic feel and is a great way to start. “It Takes Jesus” is the only original song that isn’t a cover on the album. It’s a straightforward worship song.

When recording a hymns project modern or classic, “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms” is one that is a choice of many. However, this arrangement is a laid back easy listening feel. It is something unique for sure. I want to take a moment and mention how brilliant the arrangements are here from Jason Webb! “Jesus Cares For Me” is a song from Bart Millard of MercyMe. This is a beautiful song that originally was a duet with Vince Gill. Avenue makes it their own.

“Holy Spirit” features Haley and pulls you into an atmosphere of worship which is exactly the intended result. “I Stand Amazed” has long been a classic favorite for so many. Here the arrangement is again updated to a modern feel, but still retains its original dynamic. Making things a bit more acoustic is “I Am Thine, Oh Lord.” This is one of my favorite Fannie Crosby songs. Such beautiful lyrics and some of the chords in this song are exquisite. Again, thank you Jason Webb.

“Christ Be Magnified” is a relatively new song written by Cody Carnes. Now I love strong theologically crafted lyrics. This song is full of them “Were creation suddenly articulate with a thousand tongues to lift one cry.” What a great opening line! That bridge is also especially powerful. When looking at the track list and you see “New Name Written Down in Glory” and think this is that the old ‘red back’ Church Hymnal song? No, this is a new song with an old title that incorporates some lines from that song. Very quickly this song is becoming a new classic. The album closes with the invitation hymn “Just As I Am.” There’s not a lot that hasn’t been said about this song throughout the years, but one thing I would like to say is one day when you have a chance read the lyrics of “Just As I Am,” don’t just sing them. Read them and soak them in. It will change the way you experience the song.

Crucified. Magnified. Glorified. is a great collection of newer modern hymns and songs as well as some classics. If you’ve never heard Avenue, honestly this is a good first exposure to this great group, because it’s familiar territory yet some of the arrangements and such are new and modern. You definitely won’t be disappointed.

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