By John Bowen, Web Content Director
Laura Story is one of the best kept secrets in Christian Music today. Be honest – do you know who she is? Does everyone in your family? You'd be surprised to know that you probably sing her music in church quite often. She wrote the No. 1 worship hit "Indescribable" recorded in 2004 by Chris Tomlin. She's also the woman who made "Mighty to Save" a mainstay on the radio and in many churches. With that as the backdrop to this review, let's take a close look at Laura Story's latest album, Blessings.
The constant on this album is music that is scripturally rich, and deep in thought…and serves as an outgrowth from personal pain and challenge in Laura's personal life. You see, a brain tumor hospitalized her husband in 2006. Praying for complete healing in her new husband's body has yet to be materialized. But instead of wallowing in disillusion and despair, Laura responds instead with praise and thanksgiving. "Life is filled with things you don't expect, but the Bible tells us to respond by trusting God and continuing to worship him," Story begins. "Martin hasn't received complete healingÃ¢ â€and that can be hard at times when we view God as all-powerful and all-loving. But here we are now saying, Ã¢ Yes, this is how faith works.' God has proven to be faithful. We have been truly blessed out of a circumstance that at first didn't seem like much of a blessing at all." And true to scripture, her personal struggle becomes a platform to comfort others around the world. She continues, "We have a voice that wasn't there prior to this suffering. I can hardly begin to tell you of the hundreds of hurting people we've prayed with, people going through more than we have. This is a chance to share the gospel."
As a worship leader herself and writer of congregational worship songs, it's assumed that Blessings is going to be filled with contemporary worship choruses repeated over and over. But Blessings is actually a hybrid if you will; a collection of radio-friendly songs that could likely be sung by a congregation. It's ironic that Laura, who started as a bass player, was shy about venturing into singing lead on her music. But her powerful passionate edgy voice is one of the main attractions of the CD.
The title track "Blessings" is the first radio release, and it's a powerful ballad. Both melancholy and at the same time hopeful; the song sweetly conveys the oftentimes bitter truth that God's blessings ARE sometimes the pain and struggle in our lives.
Also, worth your immediate listenership are "This Is The Day", "Friend of Sinners" and "What a Savior" - all songs that are pop in nature but are brimming with scripturally-tinged praise. "Remember" could double as a Passion message from the pulpit.
Whether you're a fan of today's praise and worship music, or contemporary Christian music, or just a fan of Laura Story (I bet you know her now!), you'll love this album. It's a hopeful, worshipful, passionate mix of music that itself is the Blessing to the listener.