Blessed Be Your Name - The Songs of Matt Redman, Vol. 1
At a time when newcomers and opportunists were milking the modern worship movement for all its worth, praise pioneer Matt Redman, always ahead of the curve, celebrated the release of his first retrospective, Blessed Be Your Name: The Songs of Matt Redman, Vol. 1. Precocious as he is, Redman didn't just slap together an anthology and call it a day, but took the time to handpick the most representative landmarks from his oeuvre and recast them in a new light the best way he knows how: in front of a live worship crowd. Like a good church-bred musician, Redman is at ease in this setting — perhaps more so than he ever was in a recording studio — so it follows that he is able to completely rethink signature songs like "The Heart of Worship" and "Let My Words Be Few" and still keep them memorable. He also seems aware that a few extra beats-per-minute go a long way, as songs that were once slow to take off, like "Once Again" and "Better Is One Day," sound livelier than ever here. In a move that may make modern worship aficionados smile, Redman calls on Charlie Hall and Christy Nockels to lead on "Better Is One Day" — a pairing that harkens back to the very first album Passion, another modern worship bastion, ever released. Redman connoisseurs may balk that a key song or two were left out — the rousing "Nothing But the Blood" is perhaps the most glaring omission — but what did make the set list is unquestionably golden. Blessed Be Your Name: The Songs of Matt Redman, Vol. 1 isn't just a best-of from one of the early architects of modern worship, but it's some of the best this genre has to offer, period.