Creative Christian Moments
“Reviews of up and coming Christians in the arts community.”
Blog Article 8: Jessi McNeal – Pen to Paper Review
I often wonder where the Christian music industry discovers their talent as much of the genre has become predicable and uniform in the artists they choose to promote. I miss the days in which theology and Biblical truths were woven into hymns to teach seminary level educations to multitudes of people. Though I enjoy multiple styles of worship and contemporary Christian music, much of today’s songs lack the anointing power of the Holy Spirit to reach into the broken heart of humanity and touch what we hold tender. However, with local Christian musicians like Jessi McNeal arising from Washington, I am excited about where God will take them in their journey to return us to these former glories and rebirth a new heavenly sound for this decade.
I first met McNeal through a series of emails and Facebook messages in regard to learning about a local Christian arts group hosted out of Mill Creek Foursquare Church in Lynnwood, WA. As I attended more meetings on a regular basis, McNeal shared multiple songs with us and her dream of releasing a CD. This dream was realized on February 23rd, 2013.
McNeal’s album Pen to Paper is a refreshing CD that touches the human soul through by applying the different aspects of the human condition to her music. McNeal describes her music as a blend of contemporary Christian, alternative country, and American folk used to present Biblical truths in both Christian and secular spheres of society. Her melodious acoustic songs are complemented with her distinct vocals moving one through an emotional roller coaster of self- reflection.
The Mill Creek Foursquare Arts Group and I were granted opportunities to listen to a few of her songs and offer feedback before the initial CD release. During our discussion time we were moved to tears as we let the emotions of the songs serenade over us. Her songs were perfect. I felt as though I had traveled back in time to a downtown coffee shop of the 1990s and was witnessing the ascension of the next paragon of Christian music to transform the genre. Her live performances and her recorded album are almost indistinguishable in sound reflecting the precision and intelligent execution of her music.
The three songs that struck my emotions the most were “Water Rolls Down”, “Wash Over Me with Grace”, and “Undone.” “Water Rolls Down” is a song about persevering through the valleys and mountains of life. “Wash Over Me with Grace” is a gentle song about searching for true peace amongst the chaos of life’s burdens. McNeal emphasizes that you cannot purchase peace and that only Jesus Christ can satisfy this need. “Undone” is a narrative about a man’s self-reflection on his personal vices of anger, grief, and sorrow, while letting the acoustics paint the consequences of bottling it up inside. McNeal concludes “Undone” with the protagonist’s recognition of letting the presence of Jesus Christ undue the problems he has inflicted on himself.
Other artists that assisted McNeal in her album involve David Sproul on accompanying acoustic guitar, Tim Muchira on drums and percussion, John Nuhn on bass, Warren Ludden on electric guitar, Stephen Gasperetti on accompanying vocals and electric guitar, and the accompanying vocals of Sherry Muchira and Bart Budwig. McNeal’s album was funded through crowdsourcing by local enthusiastic fans and supporters through the website Kickstarter.com. You can preview McNeal’s entire album at the Band Camp link before you purchase it. McNeal has many different social media sites you can contact her through and you can support her by purchasing her album, attending an upcoming concert, or hosting her for a concert.
Jessi McNeal’s Pages
Personal Web site: http://jessimcneal.com
Band Camp: http://jessimcneal.bandcamp.com
Mill Creek Foursquare Arts Group: http://www.mc4s.org/ministries/discipleship-groups.html
(Times have changed so email the contacts for current day, place, and time of meeting).
Jessi McNeal, Pen to Paper, Self-Published, 2013, MP3.
McNeal, Jessi. Pen to Paper Album and Portrait, 2013. http://jessimcneal.bandcamp.com