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The Blessing

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Album Review

John Waller had three things going for him when The Blessing debuted nationally: he had already fronted the critically touted band According to John; he signed with coveted Beach Street Records, home of mega-successful group Casting Crowns; and the Christian AC landscape had become so barren that it was in dire need of a fresh talent to revive the genre. Waller was up for the task, bringing just the right balance of heart-opening lyrics and stalwart musicianship. In much the same vein as MercyMe, Michael W. Smith and Steven Curtis Chapman, Waller showed a gift for wrapping some of the more poignant scriptural-based themes in glistening contemporary Christian pop. The promising voice found his way to Beach Street through a connection with Mark Hall, Casting Crowns' lead vocalist. Waller's arrival at Beach Street was a personal triumph, but his journey prior to penning a new record deal was what became the source for much of his songwriting material. According to John buckled due to record label woes, and Waller thought he had closed the door on the songwriting chapter of his life. He and his wife moved to Colorado and helped launch SouthLink Church. A year later, he found himself writing new material for a congregation that loved it so much that it raised the money for him to go back to the studio. He also overcame a long-term battle with depression, lending him uncommon wisdom that shone through with raw, earnest, challenging lyrics — from the title track, which features a guest vocal by Hall, to "Still Calls Me Son," one of the most personal expressions of the Parable of the Prodigal Son ever recorded. Waller was welcomed heartily by fans of his strong, sophisticated openness.

The Blessing, John Waller
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