Review Date: October 3, 2013
Review by: Iain Moss
Release Date: 7/21/13
On July 21st, the Ohio based Worship Leader and songwriter Josh Brainard, released his brand new EP at his album release concert at Delaware Christian Church in Delaware, OH. The EP, entitled “The Impossible”, features four of his own original songs and is available to purchase on iTunes, Amazon and other online retailers. All four tracks are currently up on his reverbnation page to preview before you buy the EP.
Josh Brainard, who grew up playing and singing in church, discovered that God wanted him to become a worship leader and songwriter at the age of 18 when he started to write his own songs. 5 years later he began leading worship full time in his home church and has continued to do so for the past 9 years. He is seriously passionate about worshipping God and writing songs to lead others into the presence of our great and mighty God. This passion comes across in a big way throughout this inspiring and eclectic EP.
The EP opens with one of the more energetic songs on the project “Only Love Can” and the combination of both the music and Josh’s reassuring tones immediately sets the listener at ease and establishes the relaxing and hopeful tone for the rest of the EP. In a world where pain and suffering is around every corner, “Only Love Can” reminds us that there’s only one constant we can rely on and that is love and, as believers, we know that it’s not just any love but the perfect love of Jesus Christ. This sentiment is summed up perfectly through the opening verse and first rendition of the chorus, “I know this world it can tear you down, it can bring you down, make you feel like hope is gone, but there’s one thing that will never change, it remains the same, it will never let you fall, keep holding on (x2)…only love can heal the broken heart, make blinded eyes to open, calm the storm in me, only love can give hope to the hopeless, rest to the restless, comfort those in need.”
The wonderfully reflective worship track “Astounded” takes the listener on to new realms of relaxation. Mixing the use of joyful, upbeat worship music and the contemplative sounds of just a few strings of a guitar accompanied by the odd gentle beat of a drum seems a strange choice at first, especially around the drop at the 17 second mark, but as soon as Josh’s soothing tones are introduced a few seconds later and upon listening intently to the lyrics, the choice is justified. Josh’s inspiration behind this song was that “there are never too many ways to declare God’s great love for us” and that “when we realize that God sacrificed His only Son for the sins of the world and the nails which were driven into Jesus’ hands and feet were for our shortcomings we can’t help but be Astounded by His love for us.” These thoughts are brought across emphatically throughout this song, especially through the simple lyrics in the penultimate line of the chorus “no longer bound by sin and shame, I’m free”, and the combination of different tones in the music plays a massive part in bringing across this message.
Breaking away slightly from the musical trend of the rest of the EP “Find Rest My Soul” has a hymn-like feel to it and although there’s always a slight risk of such a song interrupting the flow of the EP that is certainly not the case here. The track, written after the sad loss of Josh’s grandfather, portrays the message that we can only find rest from life’s every circumstance in God alone and, during the writing process, Josh drew inspiration from Psalm 62:1-2 which states, “My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken.” In the final verse, Josh switches the focus to Jesus and His precious blood which He shed for us upon that cross and reminds us that one day we will face our savior face to face and whatever trials we may have faced on this earth will seem like an instant compared to eternity with Jesus.
The EP is rounded off in style with possibly the strongest, and most energetic, of the four songs on the project, “Impossible”. In Ephesians 3:20 it says, “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us,” and it is this verse which influences this track celebrating that our Almighty God can do immeasurably more than we can imagine and that He can do the “Impossible”. This idea is brought across through the hook and chorus, “there’s no-one like our God, no-one like you God…You do the impossible, your power undeniable, your strength is unstoppable, you are God alone, you love the unlovable, your mercy unshakeable, your glory unreachable, you are God alone.” The track also reminds us that we don’t have to doubt our own gifts and abilities as God’s made each of us for a specific purpose.
Whether you prefer to get fully immersed into the music and have a full on worship experience and sing along or you just want to sit in a quiet corner somewhere with some background music on, this EP from Josh Brainard is perfect for both. My only slight qualm with this EP is that it feels too short, even for an EP, and would have been even better with the addition of one more song, but that’s me being overly critical and being a little bit greedy! With so many worship cds these days, this EP does run the risk of being labelled as “just another good, but not amazing, worship album” and getting lost into the black hole of obscurity which worship cds like this seem to disappear into without getting the recognition they deserve. Heck, if it wasn’t for me reviewing this EP, I would have listened to it a couple of times and then moved on to more “attractive” albums to listen to and would have forgotten all about it within a couple of months. However, I have reviewed this album and, after listening to it an awful lot as a result, I would encourage you not to do that, to give it a chance and to let it grow on you. The “Impossible” EP is a very solid offering from Josh Brainard, it will improve your life and is very much worth a purchase and it will leave you wanting more from this talented worship leader.