Saturday, March 10, 2012

Dave Barnes: Stories to Tell Review

Renown R and B Christian artist Dave Barnes seems to have exploded with his 2010 release What We Want, What We Get that featured his chart-topping “God Gave Me You” (US AC #21). But that’s not where his career first started. Since 2001, Dave has released a nice handful of albums and EPs, even receiving endorsements from such well-known acts as Vince Gill, John Mayer, Amy Grant, and more. And now, Dave Barnes returns with his fifth studio album to Razor & Tie Records, Stories to Tell. Because Dave Barnes addresses the topics of finding acceptance and delivers plenty more love songs like his world-famous “God Gave Me You,” Stories to Tell will likely be received with open arms by both the Christian and mainstream audiences alike.

Ear-grabbing harmonies open up the ridiculously catchy pop track “White Flag” well, as the very full track addresses problems in relationships and choosing to surrender instead of breaking the relationship: “I got my white flag waving in the midnight, it’s alright/ I’m never gonna let you go/ Never ever gonna let you go…” It’s a bit surprising how fun this opening track sounds, especially because of its serious lyrics. “How Long?” follows nicely, slowing down just a bit, but is also quite upbeat, this time speaking of choosing forgiveness because relationships mean too much.

The first single off Stories to Tell, already impacting radio, “Mine to Love” follows, a very sweet love song. With a more serene but strong rhythm, it’s as good as “God Gave Me You,” and I really wouldn’t be surprised to see this song go far and wide, especially for its poetic lyrics. “Heaven Help Me” takes on a Francesca Battistelli style (so it’s no surprise that he actually appeared in Francesca’s latest album). A story about a girl named Angelina, “Heaven Help Me” encourages the listener to hold onto hope when all is crashing down around us.

“Love Will Be Enough For Us,” co-written with Brandon Heath, takes on a slower country feel, speaking of a picture perfect marriage – nice house on a high hill with green grass, kids growing up, etc. It’s very poetic, and the soft harmonies are definitely enjoyable. The contemporary “Seventeen” speaks of regret over a past relationship gone wrong. Overall, it’s a rather sad track, soundly a bit lonely. “Missing You” continues the message of the preceding track, this time speaking of healing over a broken relationship.

“Find Your Way Back Home” with incredible bass, oddly doesn’t address relationships, but it speaks to those who feel lonely, encouraging them to follow the light and find their way back home. The title track, with a soft pop backing, again speaks of a perfect relationship, but stands out for the sweet line: “Let us don’t wait till love comes undone.”

“Warm Heart In A Cold World” and “One of Us” close the Stories to Tell album well, “One of Us” composed entirely of acoustic guitars, speaking of the wonderful day when “the two of us becomes three.” It’s a great closing, especially knowing that Dave is happily married.

Stories to Tell is an extremely catchy album that newly married couples will probably love. For me personally, I wish Dave would have given us a few more of the encouraging tracks of discovering ourselves and finding home, as he did with “Heaven Help Me” and “Finding Your Way Back Home.” However, he does an excellent job of addressing broken relationships and finding healing from them, as well as celebrating the good times. Therefore, I can confidently state that Dave Barnes’ Stories to Tell album will easily find it’s way into the hearts of the Christian and mainstream audiences alike. I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of his songs used for wedding ceremonies and family films.

Rating: 4/5
Release Date: March 13, 2012

Track listing:
1. White Flag
2. How Long
3. Mine to Love
4. Heaven Help Me
5. Love Will Be Enough
6. Seventeen
7. Missing You
8. Find Your Way Home
9. Stories to Tell
10. Warm Hearts In A Cold World
11. One of Us

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