The Invitation (Bonus Video Version)
Christian music has its fair share of worship leaders who have gone on to become recording artists — not necessarily of their own volition, but because labels are scampering to discover the next big thing in praise & worship. There are similar hopes for newcomer Meredith Andrews, a Liberty University graduate and worship leader at Chicago's Harvest Bible Chapel. Her pretty, pop-perfect debut, The Invitation, doesn't exactly belie her worship-leading instincts, but it doesn't bring them to the fore, either. Instead, Andrews is a worship-leaning singer, belting out vertical anthems that are more befitting inspirational airwaves than a Sunday morning congregation. At times, her potent pipes remind one an awful lot of Christian pop recluse Joy Williams and fellow worshiper Jaime Jamgochian, which means the devotional sentiments are just as prevalent as those soaring money notes in each carefully crafted chorus. Some parts of The Invitation are more vulnerable and not as patently radio-geared, like the prayerful "Deeper" and the altar call-ready "The River," and there's something about the reassuring first single, "You're Not Alone," that transcends a hitmaking writing session. Outside of that, The Invitation is an adequate overture to Andrews' worshiping heart — not quite a blockbuster bid to lean in and listen, but one that certainly demands some attention.