I waited 12 years to record this album. Every time I tried to set up a recording the doors slammed shut. One day I met some musos I'd booked to play for my wedding and as we were practicing some of the praise songs for the service I couldn't help smiling all the time.
There was something special going on in my heart, and somehow things progressed to the place where I was music director for a church in Christchurch, New Zealand, and was able to invite the same musos, plus several others I'd aquired while playing for events to do two live evenings of praise and worship, while 3 Adat recorders rolled in the background.
We had made quite a few sacrifices in terms of rejecting slick, mushy performance in preference for real, heartfelt, raw praise.
I believe God honoured us by turning up and letting His Presence be known and felt, and this, amazingly, was able to be captured on the recordings.
Album Review by Tom Lennie:
Being intrigued by this new worship-name, I was curious to find out what lay beneath the artistic cover of this musical box. A veritable treasure, as I soon discovered. Husband and father-of-one Rick Stokes, lives in Lyttelton, New Zealand, and has been writing worship songs for 13 years. Here he offers a collection of his own compositions before a 'live' and
participatory audience. Rick has a great voice, augmented by the delicious harmony vocals of Alison Smyth, and supported by a proficient team of musicians (providing moments of e.g. skillful flute-playing and mean guitar licks). But it's the quality of the songs themselves that makes this production stand out. This man sure knows how to write a catchy tune! Listening to this offering, you can't help wondering why no-one has written these songs before! They are gorgeously simple (and simply gorgeous). And boy do they work! Once Rick finds a good worship tune, he sticks to it, allowing it to flow gently in heart-lifting worship for 9, 10, - even 12 minutes. You cannot help but join in, and you wouldn't wish to do otherwise. Crown Of Thorns' is a profound expression of thankfulness for Christ's sacrifice, while 'Here I Am' is a touching worship ballad, expressing openness to God. 'After years of empty, frustrated living, I met the Lord Jesus Christ, and began to delight myself in Him, and He has begun giving me the desires of my heart; the ones I was born with'. Thus says Rick, following with the intimate 'Delight'.
The CD comes complete with an attractive booklet containing personal photos, song-introductions, and guitar-chords to all the lyrics. This album is indeed a 'delight'.
Review by Tom Lennie, for CrossRhythms Magazine and GoldUSA.com