By Lindsay Williams, Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
Shust solidifies his place in modern worship . . .
Oftentimes, hardship brings out the finest creativity in people. That's what happened for Aaron Shust, who began writing songs for his fourth studio album, This is What We Believe (Centricity), after his young son was diagnosed with a rare disease that kept him from digesting food properly.
Knowing he was standing at an intersection where faith meets real life, the award-winning songwriter began to dig into the foundational truths that inform his belief system, inadvertently creating the strongest album of his career.
Produced by Ed Cash (Chris Tomlin, Dave Barnes), This is What We Believe is a testament to indestructible faith that remains sound even in the face of adversity. The title track begins the album with an unabashed proclamation of the gospel. However, it's the second selection that will make listeners' ears perk up. Shust takes his artistry to the next level with a striking piano intro on "My Hope is in You" that forms a prism of intricately woven notes. The song bursts into a memorable chorus that Shust seems to stake his life on: "My hope is in You, Lord, all the day long/I won't be shaken by drought or storm…"
"Never Been a Greater Love" is also a highlight, growing out of substantial lyrics and a bridge sung over a resounding chorus. Other songs such as "Greater is He" and "Sing of My Redeemer" draw inspiration from Scripture and are set to memorable melodies.
The reverent "Wondrous Love" finds the lilting vocals of worship leader Kari Jobe intertwining with those of Shust. Their voices parallel one another seamlessly.
Closing track "God So Loved the World" is a fitting conclusion. The beauty of the song is in the restrained piano and the simplicity of the child-like lyrics straight from John 3:16.
These songs are every bit as competitive as the latest offerings from Chris Tomlin and Matt Redman and catapult Shust into the same league, making him a standard go-to songwriter for worship leaders. It's clear he believes what he's singing simply because he's lived it. His songwriting is as strong as it's ever been, and the passion in his voice makes this as sincere a gift as he's ever given.