Prime Cuts: The Greatest Tear, Healing Coming Down, New Life
Faithfulness sometimes is the frequency for us to hear the voice of God. For years, Sherman had been channeling to become a recording artist but God seemed to have been gagged for a positive response. Instead of throwing in the towel, Sherman persevered to serve God faithfully in leading worship at Fort Worth's Life Church, TV. Unbeknown to this Texas native, within the congregation were entrepreneurs Bob and Janice Simpson who were enterprising to start a recording label. Impressed by Sherman's holy suave in leading worship, they offered to sign Sherman as their flagship artist for their new imprint RayLynn Records after one worship service. "Hear Me," thus is the debut product for the label and Sherman; and it is not a slouch effort either. Bob Simpson has brought in Mark Collie to co-helm this record with him. Collie, as some may recall, was a country music superstar way back in the nineties. Denting the charts with hits such as "Even the Man in the Moon is Crying," "Looks Aren't Everything," "Let Her Go" and "It's No Secret," Collie was a mainstay in the country music scene then. With Collie's influence as the co-producer, he was able to bring in the best of Nashville's finest secessionists to play on this record giving these 13 cuts a polished backing putting this on par with many of the major label records out there. Naturally with Nashville looming heavily over this album, you can expect a contemporary country flavoring in what is essentially a pop worship record with some occasional spicing of blues and soft rock.
Premiered as the lead single for "Hear Me" is "Come to Me." Opening quietly with some sturdy electric guitar lines, "Come to Me" is a warm and stately ballad challenging us to leave our burdens at the foot of the cross. Speaking of ballads, the best here is the sensitive "Healing Coming Down." Embedded with sympathetic sounding strings and soul-soothing fiddles, "Healing Coming Down" is a gentle nudge to those who are suffering to not despair but turn to our healing Savior. Never preachy but all so pastoral, this is a heart wrenching stuff at best. Suffering again gets its spotlight with the Tim McGraw-esque ballad "The Greatest Tear." Here Jesus is the subject as the story of His Sacrifice on the Cross gets to be relived again via Sherman's emphatic lead vocals. Southern Gospel fans would be ecstatic with "New Life" a Gaither like Gospel saturated piece keyed with some delightful churchy-sounding piano flourishes. Not to be missed is "One True Friend"- a breezy 70s soft-rock tune--- this ode to Jesus Christ also finds label owners' 10-year-old daughter Caroline Simpson trading lines with Sherman.
Ballads aside, Sherman does indulge in some swampy blues evoking a younger version of Michael English on "Built on the Rock." With some discursive horns and some sinewy electric guitar lines, the call of Jesus on the Sermon on the Mount to build our lives on him does not get more appealing. Cranking up not just the tempo and loudness but also the ever gushing goodness of Jesus, "Fountains" is a big warm shout out to Jesus aided by some howling guitars and a hooky refrain. Lyrically, "He Prayed for Me" fills in a much ignored lacuna in contemporary Christian music. Few songs today deal with the intercessory work of Jesus from creation to now in such theological richness than "He Prayed for Me." Bristling with a mire of theological depths, this is a track that demands serious mediation and reflection. Sherman brings what he does best to "All Things New (Hallelujah)"-a congregational worship number with its big atmospheric sound and God-exalting lyrics; this again cements the fact that Sherman is more than just an artist but a worshipper at heart.
Overall, these 13 cuts show us that hearing God is an exciting discipline. When God speaks his words are not only soothing, challenging and edifying but when He speaks He also acts. Such an array of God's rhetoric is satisfying dealt with by Sherman in ways that are pastoral and memorable. These are the songs that you will find yourself returning to time and time again.