Josh Wilson's 'That Was Then, This Is Now' is Musically Beautiful, Vocally Impressive, and Consistently Positive [REVIEW]

Josh Wilson

Josh Wilson is gearing up to release his latest album That Was Then, This is Now next Friday July 31, and BREATHEcast had the opportunity to hear this incredible musician's record early.

Wilson kicks off his album with the infectious title track, "That Was Then, This is Now" and it really sets the tone for the entire record. The message is strong, God saves us and His blood is the reason we have a new life. Musically the song is about as upbeat as you can go, and it is almost smile inducing.

The first track flows directly into the second, "This is the Day." The happiness and genuinely positive outlook of Wilson is immediately evident in this track as well. The little intricate background stuff in the song also stand out - the children's harmonies and the "oh heys" are a great touch.

Wilson slows it down with "No More." In this track the chorus really shines with meaning, "No more fear, no more shame, no more thinking I can't change/ Who I was was dead and gone, who I am is moving on/ Saved by grace, held by love, because of what your cross has done, you've blown away the prison doors/ Hallelujah God, I am condemned no more." Frankly there's nothing else that needs to be said.

"The Songs I Need to Hear" comes in incredibly beautiful with strings and an accompanying piano arrangement. Musically the song is breathtaking and feels like it could fit anywhere. Although the song is not extremely deep spiritually, it encompasses its own presence and brings a peace.

"Blown Away" is a fun track that matches the vibe of the beginning of the album. "I want to be blown away by your extraordinary grace every ordinary day" the chorus sings. This song is again something to sing along to joyfully. It almost feels like an arena rock worship song.

Up next is an instrumental of the classic hymn "Ode to Joy." Wilson shows off his awesome guitar work as it weaves in and out of two riffs and a piano.

"Say Yes" brings back in the optimism. "Keep on walking, no matter what the cost is," "put one foot in front of the other." No matter what is happening in our lives, God is in control.

"House Divided" sounds like an anthem. It has a "big" sound, and Wilson is singing as if he is sparking a battle cry at a rally. Wilson is at his very best on this track, and it will be a sure fire single. "I am a house divided, but I decided I'm gonna fight it!"

The following track is "Don't Let Go" and Wilson is at his most tender and vulnerable. He is actually begging God to not let him go. He hits some incredible high notes in the song, and his emotion oozes through the track and the simplicity of the light arrangement. Another track that just sounds beautiful.

"Coming Home" is also a slow track but it has a bit of the electronic stuff from previous songs. It is not strictly a soft ballad, as it actually picks up in the middle, which turns it into a full-fledged worship song.

The album closes out with "Grace Upon Grace." The start of the album began with high energy, and the end finishes with a well thought out conclusion. He reiterates the theme of love from our heavenly Father. Wilson can't even fathom how to thank God for his grace and blessings. About midway through the track it slowly builds into a huge chorus of voices singing "I am Yours, I was made for You...I will live for You."

Josh Wilson
Josh Wilson |
(Photo : BreatheCast (Jeannie Law)
Josh Wilson

Josh Wilson is a master at his craft of songwriting. He has the song writing ability of someone like Matthew West from the lyrical side, but also focuses just as much importance into the musical aspects of the record. The slow songs feel like the instruments were handcrafted and placed with exact precision because they work so well. Vocally, Wilson is on the money throughout the album. That Was Then, This is Now is certainly going to turn heads because of the way it approaches music as art without watering down the message. That in itself is refreshing and makes this record a joy to listen to.