Live! From Middle Earth

Jeff Deyo’s latest album, Surrender, was recorded live at the Parachute Festival in New Zeland last January. This is the same region where much of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy was filmed, and – based on the things I’ve been reading – part of the appeal of doing the album in New Zeland was for just that reason.

I’ve almost made it all the way through the album, now. It definitely has its up sides and down sides. You have to go to a few Deyo-led worship events to learn this, but his style of worship leading involves lots of comments during the music. He also likes to introduce choruses at the beginning of new songs, and to repeat the choruses a lot – with some variations in the wording, as the songs move toward the end. All of those things work well at a single event, but I’m not quite sure how they will impact the longevity of a CD, where the listener will have to hear the same comments and listen to the audience learn the same choruses again and again. All of that may make it a little difficult to continue to get through this one after you’ve heard it a few times.

Nevertheless, it is a very well produced CD. It starts out with a 30 second track called “Ignition”, which was apparently played as the band took the stage. It borrows a lot of sound clips from shuttle/rocket launches as the music slowly builds towards the explosive, initial hook from Lose Myself, a song off of Deyo’s first album.

The song You Are Good may be my favorite off of this one. The light keyboard accompaniment that backs up Deyo’s devotional thoughts in the next track is also a really good illustration of how rich, contemplative worship experiences are – for the most part – lost on those of us who come from acapella-only backgrounds.

I don’t want to be too superlative here. I have to keep reminding myself that the high energy rock that characterizes half of this album is not for everyone. But if you’ve liked some of Deyo’s music in the past, this one is definitely worth the price, even if you only end up listening to it 2-3 times.

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