Music Monday: Love Made A Way by Aaron Shust
If you’ve followed Christian music and the worship-genre specifically over the last 10 or so years, you recognize the name Aaron Shust. As a worship pastor, Shust’s career was put into motion when his 2006 single “My Savior My God” topped charts in the Christian adult contemporary radio market. Love Made A Way is the first live album release in a discography that includes seven studio albums. Full of several fan favorites, Love Made A Way is eleven tracks featuring Shust plus the support of many well-known friends in the Christian music market.
Getting things started, disc-opener “Heartbeat” pronounces “Only You can satisfy my soul, Take my brokenness and make me whole.” Synth-driven with big atmospheric drums and percussion, right out of the gate the tone is set. Gang vocals abound and former Sanctus Real frontman Matt Hammitt makes an appearance with supporting vocals.
“My Hope Is In You” is next and keeps the momentum going with its piano-driven intro lines. A personal favorite of mine in worship, Shust teams up with April Geesbreght who actually wrote the song. The driving bridge “I will wait on You, You are my refuge” seems lifted straight from the pages of Psalms…a great reminder that when we sing Scripture, we are singing truth.
New track “Belong” echoes the words of Ezekiel 36:26 as it declares “Take this flesh and bone, breathe Your life within. Take this heart of stone, make it beat again.” Uptempo as well, this track makes a clear identity statement of who we are in Christ: that we are His creation; His belonging. The song features another powerful bridge section which drops to just gang vocals and drums…so powerful!
Several tracks on Love Made A Way are products of cowrites between Shust and other artists. First single “You Redeem” is a collaboration between him, Matt Hammitt, and Seth Mosley. This song like so many others is full of powerful truths which I can hear congregations singing and declaring on a Sunday morning. This track has resonated as deeply as any for me as I’ve let the words wash over me in worship:
You redeem, You redeem
You restore what’s been stolen from me
You reclaim, You release
You rebuild with the words that You breathe
The next three tracks, “Ever Be,” “God Of Brilliant Lights”, and “Cornerstone” are all well-known to anyone who has listened to Christian radio (i.e. KLove, Air1, etc.) over the past few years. Each are notable Sunday-morning favorites as well. Centricity records label mate Emily Hamilton (For All Seasons) lends guest vocals on “Ever Be”. I’ve always loved Shust’s version of the Bethel track and have used it as a reference for my own worship leading. “God Of Brilliant Lights” from the 2013 Morning Rises project starts soft but gains momentum as it drives into the choir singing “The God of brilliant lights is shining down over us. Breaking through the darkness covering all the earth.” And this release would not be complete without the inclusion of “Cornerstone,” a song centered on the hope and promise of Jesus Christ. Nashville-based singer/songwriter Jilian Linklater lends supporting vocals on "Cornerstone."
Being Easter is right around the corner, I’m glad both North Point’s “Death Was Arrested” and Elevation’s “Resurrecting” are included. Both are powerhouse songs for a Resurrection Sunday service. If a song can convey the main tenets of the Gospel within its verses and you get saved all over again by the end, I consider it well-crafted! Such is the truth conveyed in both tunes encompassing a hymn-like quality in each. Christy Nockels adds vocals to Death Was Arrested and Molly Reed (Grayson Reed) appears on Resurrecting.
My Savior My God is the next to last track and sounds amazing live. Powerful in its simplicity, this song has such a heart cry in it. And who can get tired of singing “My Savior loves, my Savior lives, my Savior’s always there for me”? Christy Nockels appears one more time and in addition, Nate Bedingfield’s guitar solo is as smooth as butter.
Wrapping things up, “Lead On (King Eternal)” is an uptempo closer and another original selection for this album. Inspired by the classic hymn “Lead on, O King Eternal”, Shust says the song was inspired by a time of group prayer in which he uttered the words “Lead on, O King eternal. We will follow.” A friend encouraged him to write those words in a song and Aaron accepted the challenge. Lead On boldly declares “There is no power You can't overcome. There is no battle the cross hasn't won.” I love those lines and again, I can hear a congregation belting it out on a Sunday morning. Glory!
As a worship leader, Aaron Shust has made a mark on church music with his studio releases over the past several years. I’m grateful that he felt now was the right time do something within a live context and share many of these favorites again. From aaronshust.com:
“I’d been encouraged by friends and family for years to do a live record,” says Shust, admitting he was initially hesitant. As he completed his first decade as a recording artist though, it just seemed like the right time. “Hitting the 10-year mark, it felt like a new season, like a little celebration, a tip of the hat to the first 10 years. We had a guest speaker recently at our church talk about how God is a God of celebration. God wanted to make sure His people were able to remember and celebrate their past. So I felt that after 10 years, it was time to celebrate.”
Celebrating the past and worshipping the God Who is faithful.
I cannot recommend Love Made A Way enough…it will bless you and your times of worship.
We’ll see you on the next #musicmonday.