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Kevin’s Picks for 2017

Tauren Wells: Hills & Valleys, Reunion, 2017

Frontman of pop/R&B band Royal Taylor, Tauren Wells released his debut full-length solo album Hills and Valleys is probably the best album I have heard this year as it showcases his songwriting and vocal skills on songs that cover a multitude of genres from Pop, R&B, HipHop, EDM and Worship.

Mercy Me: Lifer, Fair Trade, 2017

With the legacy of ballads like “Word of God Speak”, “God With Us”, “Flawless” and “I Can Only Imagine” it would have be easy for them to continue their proven formula but instead they offer a collection of pop/rock songs on “Lifer” that will have you up on your feet on songs like the piano groove of “Grace Got You”, the gospel-funk of “Happy Dance” and the infectiously catchy “Grace Got You”.

Third Day: Revival, Provident Music, 2017

To celebrate 20 years of making music, Third Day chose to go back to their roots and showcase an entire album devoted to Americana and Southern Rock.   These thirteen songs stay right in the pocket of southern rock, American roots and gospel with the result being one of the best albums of their career.

Matthew West: All In, Sparrow, 2017

The 14-tracks on Matthew West’s seventh album “All In” once again feature this songwriter’s storytelling skills and diverse range of styles like the high energy “Amen”, the infectious “1 Song” and the autobiographical “Sound of a Life Changing” that make this one of the best albums I have heard this year.

Brandon Heath: Faith Hope Love Repeat, Reunion, 2017

After a departure from his pop roots on his folk/acoustic Blue Mountain it was hard to know the direction that Brandon would go on his seventh album.  He has come full circle to the infectious pop his fans have enjoyed and makes for great selection of songs that are sure to grace the radio waves into the new year.

Jeremy Camp: The Answer, Sparrow, 2017

Hard to believe it’s been 15 years since we were introduced to Jeremy Camp now his ninth album “The Answer” showcases an artist who has matured and embraced his worship influenced pop/rock sound as evidenced on his lead single “Word Of Life”, the acoustic “My Father’s Arms”, the worshipful title track and the standout track “My Defender.”

Hillsong United: Wonder, Hillsong, 2017

Multi-platinum-selling Hillsong UNITED released their sixth full-length studio album “Wonder” with highlights that include the infectious melody of the lead single and title track,  the synth laded “Not Today”, the moving “Shadow Step” and the delightful “So Will I (100 Billion X)”.

Author: Steve Almond

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