Hillsong UNITED Announces New Studio Album, "Empires," Out May 26

NEWS SOURCE: Merge PR March 16, 2015
NASHVILLE, TENN. (March 16, 2015) - RIAA Platinum-selling group Hillsong UNITED has revealed the album cover for their new studio project, EMPIRES, 95,000 feet from space. Presenting the cover from the stratosphere on their website and social media channels, EMPIRES will release May 26 with Hillsong Music/Capitol CMG. This project follows 2013's ZION, the group's most successful and fastest selling album to date.
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Album Review: Chris Tomlin's Love Ran Red [Deluxe Edition]

Over the last decade, Chris Tomlin’s music has become so recognized by the church worldwide. His “How Great Is Our God”, “Forever”, and “Our God” are just some of the songs that are being sung by thousands of Christians around the world every week. Every time he releases an album, it surely is a big event in the Christian music industry; and at the same time, people’s expectations heighten. Such thing can be tough to handle, but as for his latest release, “Love Ran Red”, he handled that pressure strong enough.

“Love Ran Red” celebrates the love and sacrifice of Jesus, and brings us back to the cross where the redemption was purchased. It is available in standard (with 12 tracks) and deluxe (with additional four tracks) editions.

“Greater” opens the album with a slow-tempo worship song. This Colossians 1:16-inspired song is a very good album kick starter. As the song grows, so does the intensity; and this trend continues to “Waterfall”. Though musically brilliant, I must say that this song along with “Boundary Lines” fell to the pitfall of worship cliché.

 “The Roar” is the album’s most catchy track which sings of the Lion of the tribe of Judah who is roaring over us. It reminds us of the hope found in Jesus in times of troubles; and this message has been elaborated on the next track “Fear Not”, the album’s most musically diverse song.

Re-making of old hymns is one of Tomlin’s strongest skills. “At The Cross (Love Ran Red)” is a re-work of Isaac Watts’ hymn, dressed in a new elegant robe. I heard it first from Passion’s Take It All album, and since then I fell in love with it; it’s the album’s central point. Another outstanding re-make is “I Will Boast” of Steve and Vikki Cook’s 1997 hymn “I Will Boast in the Cross”. Needless to say, this track is this record’s most touching and honest song. I love its latter part where a piano plays a coda from “At The Cross (Love Ran Red)”.

As I stated earlier, the deluxe edition features an additional four tracks, which includes “In the End”, “Waterfall (Tritonal Remix)”, “At The Cross (Acoustic)”, and “Let It be Jesus (Acoustic)”. “Let It Be Jesus”, Tomlin’s co-write with Matt Redman and Jonas Myrin, is another track found on Passion’s “Take It All” release. There, it was sung by Christy Nockels, and unmistakably, one of that record’s prime cuts. In this album, Chris has given it an elegant acoustic makeover, making it more irresistible to sing, and more passionate.

“Love Ran Red” may not top Chris Tomlin’s growing discography, but the fact remains that this record is a very good one. Though I have found some songs with generic, cliché lines, I don’t mark them as album fillers, because they contributed to the album’s dynamic musical element. Overall, “Love Ran Red” is a solid release to celebrate God’s love and redemption.

Disclosure: A review copy of Chris Tomlin's Love Ran Red [Deluxe Edition] was provided for review by House of Praise, from whom you may purchase the album.
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Jesus Culture's Derek Johnson To Release Solo Debut April 7

NEWS SOURCE: Merge PR February 25, 2015
NASHVILLE, TENN. - 25 FEBRUARY 2015 - Jesus Culture artist and worship leader Derek Johnson announces the release of his debut album, Real Love. His first solo project is slated to drop April 7 with Capitol Christian Music Group and Jesus Culture Music.
Real Love features 12 original tracks where Johnson utilizes his passion for message-driven songwriting to share his hope in the God of real and authentic love. He is a relevant voice to this generation for bringing intimacy and the joy of the Lord through praise and worship.
"My heart is to write songs that lead people to Jesus," Derek Johnson shares. "Whether they have a relationship with Him and know His love or they are still searching for truth, my desire is that anyone who hears these songs will be brought into a deeper understanding of worship and the God of real love."
Leading up to the release of Real Love, Johnson recently filmed three music videos for the singles that will release over three consecutive weeks, starting with the pre-order that begins March 17. The videos, captured at Sacramento's historic Old Sugar Mill, will accompany the following songs leading up to the full album's release: "The One We Love" (3/17), "Power In The Cross" (3/24), and "Real Love" (3/31).

(Photos below taken from video shoots held at the historic Old Sugar Mill, Sacramento, CA)

Derek Johnson has been featured on Jesus Culture's CD Emerging Voices, which hit No.1 on the iTunes Christian/Gospel chart. His song "I Belong To You" was also featured as a bonus track on Jesus Culture's 2012 album Live From New York (with Martin Smith), which received a Dove nomination for Best Event Album of the Year.
As a member of the Sacramento-based Jesus Culture team since 2009, he's led worship at every Jesus Culture conference since 2011 and has opened for Kim Walker-Smith and Jesus Culture Band at sold-out venues across the country.
1. Our Salvation
2. The One We Love
3. Jesus I See You
4. Power In The Cross
5. I Belong To You
6. Real Love
7. Bright As You
8. My Great Love
9. Heaven Meeting Earth
10. Made To Last
11. Washed Away
12. Glory Come Down
Click below to view the Real Love album promo video:

About Jesus Culture Music: Jesus Culture Music is Sacramento, CA-based and led by Senior Team Director Banning Liebscher. Jesus Culture was formed through the momentum of a movement that is focused on equipping a generation to transform society by bringing people into an encounter with God's love through worship and discipleship. Jesus Culture Music albums capture the heart of this movement. Jesus Culture Music has sold more than one million albums worldwide since their debut project in 2005 and garnered more than 3.8 million followers on social media and over 34.5 million views on YouTube. Jesus Culture Music is a label that contains 12 artists including: Jesus Culture Band, Kim Walker-Smith, Bryan and Katie Torwalt, Chris Quilala, Kristene DiMarco, Derek Johnson, Justin Jarvis, Andrew and Mary Kat Ehrenzeller, Chris McClarney, Skyler Smith and Josh and Amberly Klinkenberg. To date, the Jesus Culture Band has recorded ten albums and released a total of 25 projects on their music label. The latest release from Jesus Culture Band, Unstoppable Love, climbed to No. 2 on the iTunes overall chart and debuted at No. 25 on the Billboard Top 200 chart and No. 1 on the overall Top Christian/Gospel Albums Billboard retail chart.

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