Prime Cuts: Made Me Glad, Fall Upon Your Knees, Loving Kindness (with Darlene Zschech)
Fans of Miriam Webster must have felt the angst in trying to google for their favorite artist. This is because every search on the juggernaut search engine will end up with "Merriam-Webster." However, just like the famed dictionary, Webster herself has had copious songwriting entries in the Hillsong Worship portfolio. Going back to Hillsong's 2002 "Blessed," Webster has already been penning songs and leading worship on the mega-church's frontline together with Darlene Zschech and Reuben Morgan. Over the years, Webster has had penned some of the Aussie church's finest songs including "Made Me Glad," "Exceeding Joy," "I Will Love," "Welcome in This Place" and "You Are Faithful." While she was part of the Hillsong Team, only she, Zschech, and Morgan have had the privileged of getting their songs released under the "Extravagant Worship" series.
In a recent exclusive interview with us, Webster details how as a teenager she was brought to Hillsong Church's youth group by a friend. That Friday night, it so happened that there was no one leading worship, Webster volunteered. And slowly she began to join the church's creative team working her way to the frontline. At the peak of her successful tenure with Hillsong Church, Webster felt a call to leave Australia in order to minister in the US. Out of her time away came her solo worship record "Made Me Glad," an album which she made in Nashville, released in 2010. "Made Me Glad" is our inaugural "classic album review" feature; the first of many reviews of top-notched Christian albums released in the past.
Though "Made Me Glad" is touted as Webster's solo recording, the shadows of her Hillsong connection are all over the album. Songs such as the title cut and "Angel of the Lord" were re-recordings of the tracks she has had recorded with her Australian worship team. And Hillsong Church's matriarch Darlene Zschech even shows up to duet with Webster on the gorgeous ballad "Loving Kindness." Hitting all the higher notes, while Webster scours for the lower ones, "Loving Kindness" goes down deep to utter our desperate need of the Savior as well as it reaches to the heavenly heights in expressing the graciousness of Jesus. The title track "Made Me Glad" is what "Shout to the Lord" is to Darlene Zschech. It has the word "classic" written all over it. With an ageless melody with such a powerful Godward focus, you can't hear this song without wanting to worship along.
"Fall Upon Your Knees," incidentally was one of the songs Webster sang when she led worship at the youth group all those years ago. And one listen to the inviting chorus gilded with a gorgeous array of strings makes you realize why she was handpicked to be one of Hillsong's worship leaders. Yet not one to be stymied only in balladry, "Greater" shows that Webster can get her worship groove on when the guitars kicked in for a rockabilly extravaganza. Worship leaders looking for a singable propulsive gem that will get the entire congregation worshipping need not look farther than the infectious hook-laden "Praise Him."
Though Webster is featured singing as a vocalist on her colleague Darlene Zschech's latest project "Revealing Jesus," she has yet to surface again with her own material after "Made Me Glad." And in this regard, it's to the loss of the church at large. Let's pray, Webster will grace us in the near future with a follow-up to "Made Me Glad," a record that makes glad the heart that seeks to worship Him.
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