One year before Bob Briner died of cancer, Steve Taylor approached him with the idea of producing a CD based on his book Roaring Lambs. Briner enthusiastically approved of the album, a brainchild of Squint Entertainment's Dave Palmer, and even handpicked some of the artists to perform on the recording. The result is an impressive lineup of CCM heavy hitters offering their musical interpretations of Briner's passion to "engage the culture."
The album opens, by no accident, with "Headstrong" by Jars of Clay, the critically acclaimed band that has enjoyed widespread mainstream success with its biblically sound brand of modern rock. With its MTV exposure and regular presence on secular radio, Jars personifies Briner's challenge to Christians to be salt and light.
One of the true gems is a remarkable collaboration of Ladysmith Black Mambazo (best known for its work on Paul Simon's Graceland) and Charlie Peacock, whose jazz-tinged piano perfectly complements Ladysmith's traditional Zulu vocals. "'Akehlulek' Ubaba" (With God Everything is Possible) is an infectious piece extolling the fruits of the Spirit.
Steven Curtis Chapman and Michael W. Smith team up on "Out There," sharing songwriting credits with their close friend Briner. Sure to be a favorite on adult contemporary Christian radio, this song is lyrically solid but a bit bland musically. It pinpoints the dangers of immersion in the Christian subculture ("I talk to you, you talk to me / We speak in our own language"), while reminding us of God's amazing grace ("Poor, hungry beggars all are we / Invited to a feast / That none of us deserves / Filled to go to love and serve").
The most interesting of the duo numbers is "One Thing," featuring a weave of alternating vocals by Ginny ...1