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Who Was And Is And Is To Come - Lenny Smith

(Great Comfort Records)

OK, first a confession: I'd not heard of Lenny Smith, so when the invitation to download and review this album arrived, I wasn't initially captivated. Then I noticed the invite had come from Sounds Familyre, home of Sufjan Stevens, Danielson and a stack of other engaging left-field music, so I took a look.

Turns out Lenny wrote the classic 70s worship song Our God Reigns and is a stalwart of the folk worship scene of that era. He came to attention again in the mid 90s with his Deep Calls To Deep album, riding on a wave of fresh interest in Americana and songcraft following the Rick Rubin-produced Johnny Cash recordings.

Lenny's now 70, and this 13-song collection has an earthy, relaxed, rough-hewn feel to it. All are worship songs drawing heavily on Scripture, and the album is produced by Lenny's son Daniel (from Danielson). The songs featured range from the 70s to the present day, and feature all five Smith children, friends and grandchildren along with a stack of musicians wielding guitar, organ, bass, drums, piano, violin and ukulele.

It's simple and innocent stuff which grows on you with each listen: songs of a seasoned writer and believer about the Maker, his people and their world, woven with an assurance that love will triumph, healing will come and the goodness of God is irresistible. You'll find singalong choruses, a real sense of enjoyment and family plus a little wry humour.

Cutting edge? No. It doesn't need to be. Folk-country worship with a good heart, a delicate touch and a warmth that invites you to praise. Lovely stuff.

Russ Bravo

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