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Please Don't Make Us Sing This Song: Songs from The Voice Vol. 1

Sounds like … The Message: Psalms and Enter the Worship Circle, true to the folk and acoustic pop styles of contributing artists Waterdeep, Derek Webb, Jill Phillips, Robbie Seay Band, Jami Smith, Sara Groves

At a glance … widely available in stores with barely any promotion, this is a thoughtful folk-pop adaptation of the Psalms created with excellence—and reminiscent of successful collaborative compilations like City on a Hill

I was browsing the music section at a local Christian bookstore when I found this album in the new release section, a project featuring new material from several of my favorite artists. But I'd never even heard of it. Most independent artists do a better job at publicizing than this album, yet Please Don't Make Us Sing This Song: Songs from The Voice Volume 1 is widely available in stores, and it turns out to be one of the year's better releases.

The premise is nearly identical to 2005's The Message: Psalms, with various artists crafting alt-folk/pop songs based on the Psalms. The album describes The Voice as "a project [by Ecclesia Bible Society] to rediscover the story of the Bible as retold by a gifted team of writers, poets, pastors, and storytellers." A second Songs from the Voice project based on Handel's Messiah is planned for Christmas.

This is in many ways a Waterdeep project at heart. Don Chaffer produced, he and his wife Lori handle much of the songwriting, and they contribute their performance skills throughout, with drummer Brandon Graves and his wife Christena on keyboards. Stylistically, the album also generally sticks to Waterdeep's penchant for folk-pop with a strong classic rock influence.

But the songs are the true focal point, thoughtfully adapting the Psalms to ...

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