Music Monday: Songs of Heaven & Earth: Volume 1 by Corey Voss
Release Date: July 28, 2017
Whenever I have the opportunity to talk about an upcoming or recently released project for #musicmonday, I’ve made the effort to always ask, “How would this music impact the local church?” It’s not that every review and every song has to be congregational, but at some point I know churches, worship pastors, and worship teams are looking for teachable, singable, and theologically-correct songs. It’s part of the shepherding process: to teach and proclaim truth and “pastor” our people in this holy calling. We do it every Sunday by the hearing of the Word through preaching and the singing of the Word through worship.
Corey Voss is a worship pastor at heart and he takes his craft as a writer of songs for the church very seriously. “When we sing songs, we are releasing prayers, scriptures and songs of praise that shift and fill the atmosphere with God’s presence. So, as I write, I begin by asking the Lord, ‘What do Your people need to be singing?’” A profound statement by the twenty-something Voss, who in addition to being on staff at Gateway Church in Shelbyville, TN, has written songs recorded by Selah (“I Got Saved”), Paul Baloche (“Psalm 92”/“We Come To You, Jesus”), Jaci Velasquez (“Praise The King”) and Dustin Smith (“How Great”/“Consume Us”). I am grateful for writers like Corey and I am excited about his upcoming EP project, Songs of Heaven & Earth: Volume 1.
Songs of Heaven & Earth starts with the atmospheric and driving “The King Is Here.” Stylistically, it feels youthful (think Hillsong Young & Free) yet musically would work within a congregation of all ages. Lyrically, the worshipper is drawn to respond to the Lord’s presence. While many songs invite the Lord in and beckon Him to come, The King Is Here proclaims He is already in our midst and at work:
The darkness is breaking now
Drowned out in a sea of stars
Your Church is rising up
With fire that can’t be stopped
Track two “Canyons” is a song I first heard last year at Michael Farren’s Kingdom Songs retreat in Franklin, TN (a conference for worship songwriters). In one particular session, Corey led us in worship and sang Canyons. By the song’s end several of us were asking “Wow, where can I get the music for this? I need to lead this at my church!” I’m pleased to know Canyons appears on this release and I am sensing an anointing on this song that hopefully will impact many churches. The lyrical depth is something I’m particularly struck by as Voss and co-writer Krissy Nordhoff have expressed old truths in a fresh way:
There is no limit to Your endless love
Just when I doubt it there is so much more
A rushing waterfall that overflows
It’s filling canyons in my soul
Richie Fike, Dustin Smith (Here Be Lions), and David Leonard (All Sons & Daughters) are all co-writers on the next track, “God Who Moves The Mountains.” A trust and dependency upon the Lord is immediately felt on this EP and nowhere is this more apparent than on God Who Moves The Mountains. I believe churches need songs that introduce a proper posture of worship; that God is high above and over everything, yet is right there in the middle of our need. That truth summed up in a singable chorus makes this song a must-listen!
Just as songs like Canyons and God Who Moves The Mountains are asking for God’s heavenly intervention in our earthly lives, track four “As It Is In Heaven” is clearly set upon calling down heaven’s glory in the here and now. While we await the glory that is to come, Voss along with guest vocalists Michael Farren and Alisa Turner, ask the Lord to usher in a glimpse of what heaven will be right now:
On the earth as it is heaven
Let it be here with us right now
Where Your word is fulfilled
And Your glory’s revealed
Let it be here with us right now
Songs of Heaven and Earth finishes with the passionate “Don’t Ever Let Me Go,” a track filled with a desire for the Lord’s will to be done above and beyond our own. A proclamation is made; there is no turning back and no hesitation: “I’m surrendering my will, You are crumbling all the walls I’ve built. My defense is coming down.” Co-written by Voss, Jennie Lee Riddle, and Melanie Tierce, Don’t Ever Let Me Go cuts through any pretenses and portrays a true sense of honesty and depth before the Lord. It’s the perfect ending to an album centered on being in the Lord’s will and asking for His plans to prevail in our lives.
Knowing this project is Volume 1, I’m certain more is to come and there will be a continuation of songs that connect Heaven and Earth. Corey believes that is his call for this project: “to execute something from heaven that would be new in the earth.” With all the church faces today and the tendency to not to look to heaven for our hope and salvation, it is refreshing to hear songs that are pointing our focus back on what matters. There will be more to come from Corey Voss and I hope the church will respond to these songs. This project truly is a gift for such a time as this.