Karen Burkhart has finally taken up the gauntlet by becoming a recording artist. For years, this Winnipeg native have tried everything else but singing. Though she knew at a tender age of ten that God has called her to sing for Him, like the prophet Jonah she has gone circles around God's commission. It was only while she was in college she was invited to sing with a couple of Gospel ensembles, first with the Harmonaires and then later with One Accord. After her tenure with One Accord, she became the tour manager of an African choir, of which one of their most memorable experiences was to sing with Ron Kenoly on his live recording "Sing Out." Three years later, Burkhart took up a position with Campus Crusade producing videos for missions. It was during this time Burkhart began singing backings for a couple of Andy Park's worship albums. Finally, this Canadian singer-songwriter finally gathered her own compositions and put to disc her debut record "Just One Glimpse" in 2008. Five years later, we finally have the sophomore follow-up the six-song "Consider the Source."
One of the most blatant observations after listening to "Consider the Source" is that Burkhart does not reside in Dullsville. Though she had anchored her style in contemporary Christian country, she does punctuate her style with flourishes of R&B, pop, rock and adult contemporary. And the range of topics that she deals on these six songs is wide. There are songs that mine the theological depths of the Christian faith while others have a complaisant way of addressing the questions of the average seeker. Yet the album is impeccably held together by Burkhart's distinctive alto that has the southern growl of Wynonna Judd and the heights and depths of Carrie Underwood.
Album opener and title cut "Consider the Source" has an apologetical edge to it. Without sounding scripted the country-pop "Consider the Source" gently questions if there is a Maker behind the beauty of creation. While current single "Never Mistake" takes a dive into theological mire of God's sovereignty in the midst of suffering. On this Tim McGraw-like ballad, Burkhart trades lines with Kevin Pauls over a staccato of piercing rock drum beats. The tempo decelerates with the traditional country sounding "Finder's Weepers." With Matthew 16:25 as its seed thought, "Finder's Weepers" is a story song about how its protagonist Johnny tries to gain the whole world but loses his soul in the process. The album's two closing back tracks, on the other hand, are epic adult contemporary piano and strings ballads with Burkhart soaring to gorgeous heights on the testimonial "Changed on the Inside."
If there is any criticism, it's the length of the record. With only six songs, one would wish Burkhart would have released more songs especially when fans have waited over five years since her debut. Nevertheless, "Consider the Source" is a multi-faceted record: though it is labeled as a country gospel record, fans of other genres will find much to enjoy here as Burkhart is not afraid to branch into other musical styles. And for those who like various topics explored, some of which might even speak to the unregenerate, look no further and "Consider the Source."