Zimbabwean worship leader Ryan Baker-Barnes released his debut album ‘The Deepest Part’ earlier this year. As the worship leader for Revival Fires Church in Dudley where an awesome move of God, given the title ‘The Dudley Outpouring’ took place in 2008 I thought I knew what to expect from the album.
‘I Am Yours’ removed the “expectations” I had about the album. It has a strong 80’s Dance feel to it with the synths and especially the synth bass that on the pre-chorus “Love so amazing, has come to save me, to love so amazing, I give my all.” This song really intrigued me and left me excited to hear the rest of the album although I did repeat this song a few times before moving on.
The title track ‘The Deepest Part’ had a Delirious? vibe to it and really helped me understand where Ryan was coming from with this song and the overall theme of the album… Loving God and worshipping Him from ‘The Deepest Part’ of our hearts being inspired by God’s love toward us.
On reading the title of the song ‘Lord You Are Beautiful’ I thought I was going to hear an out-and-out Praise & Worship song but instead I was greeted by something that to me sounded like something from Beverly Hills Cop (the movie)… That wasn’t a bad thing though.
‘Cry Holy’ reminds me of Matt Cardle’s ‘When We Collide’ which is a song I love. Although I was enjoying the 80’s sound of the album, this break away from it added a new colour to the album. I love the simplicity of what the guitarist is playing and the almost tribal sounding drum groove, which drives the song. Musically this is my favourite song on the album.
When I heard ‘I Love Your Presence’ I automatically heard ‘Trading My Sorrows’ by Israel Houghton because of the chord progression (and my crazy mind). However the similarities stop there. I can imagine hearing this song in church… It sounds like it was birthed out of true worship and a deep yearning for more of God. The simple chorus, “I love your presence, I love your presence, I love your presence here,” resonated with and drew me into a place of worship and wanting to feel the presence of God.
‘The Deepest Part’ was not what I expected stylistically but it came as a surprise and something unique and I enjoyed that. I also enjoyed the overall production quality of the album and the level of songwriting. They always say you will know a good song when you can strip it down to nothing but an acoustic guitar or piano and a vocal and the song still be as powerful without all of the amazing production techniques. There’s quite a few songs like that on ‘The Deepest Part’ and while many of the songs sound like they’re from the 80’s I could also hear many of sung in a worship format in a more traditional band setting.
I have to shout out Julian Kindred who has produced a unique album. This isn’t just another album that sounds like a carbon copy of other albums… It has it’s own signature and identity and I really respect that.
Ryan’s voice is smooth and has a richness in his tone and I enjoyed listening to his voice, especially on ‘I Am Yours,’ ‘Cry Holy’ and ‘I Love Your Presence’. This is one of the strongest debuts I’ve heard in a while, the quality of production and songwriting are top notch and I will definitely be following Ryan’s music from now on.
Reviewed By Matt Brooks