A relative newcomer, Josh Blakesley has always oozed talent. With this stunning sophomore release, that talent -- songwriting prowess and soaring vocals, among others -- has come to fruition. Serving up 12 punchy, inventive pop, rock and funk tracks, Waiting gives convincing testimony: blessings really do come to those who wait on the Lord.
Josh's "amazing gift of voice"
Song after song, Josh's pure, strong voice shines. Just ask producer Jeff Thomas, who's worked with some of the best in the business. "Josh has an amazing gift of voice," he noted after their initial studio sessions. "He can sing well throughout the male vocal range -- for hours without tiring."
Backed by some of Nashville's best
Backing that great voice are some of the top musicians in Nashville -- and in contemporary Christian music: Dave Cleveland (Steven Curtis Chapman, Twila Paris) and Scott Dente (Watermark) on guitar, Matt Pierson (Michael W. Smith, Rich Mullins) on bass, and Jonathan Smith (Kevin Max) on drums. Other contributors include Matt Maher, who co-wrote four of the songs.
Infectious groove, righteous keyboards, incredible horns
"Be Lifted High" stands out. A funk gem a la Stevie Wonder, it's got an infectious groove, righteous keyboards, and incredible horns. Exalting God from beginning to end, the song ends like any good revival, with Josh calling out, "Can I get a witness?! Can I get an amen?!"
Vigorous rock tracks, delicate ballads
Other highlights include "Pour Out My Heart," a vigorous rock track that reflects on the sacrifices involved in following Christ: "I come to the altar to give up my life, hungry for mercy from you." A delicate ballad written for his infant daughter, "Sophie's Song" is a musical setting of a father's love, a "thousand kisses" set to song.
Music inspired by a time of waiting
These songs came out of a time of waiting for Josh and family: waiting for the birth of their first child, waiting for a new home. As Josh explained in a recent interview, "It seemed like in all things spiritual, emotional, physical, we were waiting. We prayed for direction, guidance, an end to the desert time; but it seemed it would never end. Now we're more settled and are seeing the fruits of our suffering and prayer."
In a sense, we're all waiting. We're all exiles from our heavenly homeland, waiting for eternal union with Christ. Riveting, edgy and flush with heart, the songs on Josh's second album encourage us along the way.