Restore Us
"Restore Us"

by TaylorWise

Song List: Worship the One, As For Me, God Most High, Praise To You, Thank You, Restore Us, Lead Me to the Rock, To Hear You, The New Has Come, The Great Exchange, The Lord's Prayer

TaylorWise is an Austin-based group whose musical past travels across progressive, rock, folk, and even children's music genres. Their debut album, "Restore Us," is praise album that touches on their diverse musical styles, but is based firmly in a single, unflappable belief in God and the group's deep convictions toward spreading the Christian faith.

Knowing much of JR Taylor's work over the past decade, this album embodies his characteristic high level of musicianship and production. His years of formal music study and work as a producer/engineer shine through on "Restore Us." Crystal-clear vocals up front, spot-on and varied instrumentation, and well-thought-out arrangements are pervasive throughout the record.

"God Most High" exemplifies the more complex structure of TaylorWise's musical praise. This song, as well as several of its counterparts, is a far stretch from a straight-ahead 1-4-5 traditional tune. Horns, Hammond B3, gritty electric guitar, key modulations, time-signature transitions, challenging vocal harmonies—there is a musical depth and complexity that showcases the duo's talents. But at its essence, it comes down to the message. The major-chord resolutions and angelic choruses shine melodic spotlights on "all who call on the name of the Lord."

TaylorWise plans to spread The Word not only through selling their album online and at performances, but also in the form of church music directors using their songs in services and at praise events. For interested music directors: more than one TaylorWise song will require a talented ensemble to pull it off successfully. Not that any song's reproduction need be (or should be) note-for-note. But for ambitious groups hoping to replicate these songs, TaylorWise presents formidable musical opportunity.

Toward the album's end, "To Hear You" speaks to the significance and sheer awe of what it would mean to hear the spoken voice of Jesus Christ. This song does not impress through its complex musicianship or arrangement. Rather quite the opposite, its structural simplicity brings out the power of the question itself. It is the shortest song on "Restore Us," and merely rises and falls with the singer's emotions as he formulates a response.

what would it sound like if you spoke / would it be loud if the silence broke
and shattered to the ground / an unfamiliar sound

honestly i'm a bit afraid / in light of all that you have made / i would come undone

but to hear you say...anything / would mean to me...everything
to hear your voice would mean everything / i would come undone and that would be okay

'cause to hear you say...anything / would mean to me...everything

TaylorWise has assembled a truly passionate album. The lyrics resonate from deep within the hearts of Taylor and bandmate Jerry Wise. The music blends seamlessly their technical knowledge with their mutual soul-fueled quest to write songs for the glory of their Lord. For fans of Christian praise music, this album is a no-brainer purchase. And for those who might generally shy away from Christian music, TaylorWise has put forth a recording of well-crafted, honest, and inspired songs.

Reviewed on 1/25/10