Orphan Project

Spooning out the Sea  (NePlusUltra)

With a prog-rock sound and soaring vocals falling somewhere between Pink Floyd, Kansas, and Spock's Beard, Orphan Project is all about fessing up and crying out. Song themes range from the divine rescue of "Reach" ("I can't fight anymore…where's my Savior now?") to the healing of "Angels Desire" ("You have given wings / Where there once was weight") to the surrender of "Head on Your Platter" ("Your gift is all that matters / Taking all I am / My head upon your platter").—Mark Moring

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Various Artists

Glory Revealed II  (Provident)

Early this decade, a trio of City on a Hill albums, featuring many of Christian music's finest, set the bar for excellence in the genre ("God of Wonders" among them). This album, the brainchild of Mac Powell, singer and producer for Third Day, may be the best "various artists" worship project since. It's a lovely mix of acoustic Americana (think fiddles, banjos, and mandolins) featuring the vocals of Amy Grant, Mark Hall, Sara Evans, Natalie Grant, Brandon Heath, and more.—Mark Moring

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Christy Nockles

Life Light Up  (sixsteps)

Today's most popular worship leaders are mostly men, but after a ten-year legacy as a charter member of the Passion movement and one-half of the husband-and-wife team Watermark, Christy Nockels is giving the genre some feminine flair. This album, her solo debut, melds her experience as a performer and worship leader, using her pitch-perfect alto to infuse 11 tracks that are accessible for congregations and absolute powerhouse pop.—Andrew Greer

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Tracy Lawrence

The Rock  (Rocky Comfort Records)

Fulfilling a promise to his parents to one day record an inspirational record, country music standard Tracy Lawrence releases The Rock, his second independent CD on his homegrown label. With heavy-hitting faith-based songwriters like Craig Morgan weighing in, the entire record is full of explicitly Christian hope. Sweeping pedal steel, fiddle chops, and Lawrence's familiar twang add to a full-fledged gospel recording that is sure to continue the country artist's comebackclimb.—Andrew Greer

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