Well, it was a close one!

This week Casting Crowns made a strong bid towards dethroning Adele from her perch atop the Billboard charts with their highly acclaimed album, Come To The Well. Doing so would have made them the first Contemporary Christian group to land the top spot on the chart. Falling just short, the group from Texas can still feel good about being #2, though judging from their Twitter and Facebook feeds, I’m not sure they’ve been following the climb that much at all. Not to say that they weren’t aware and wouldn’t love to have the #1 album in the nation, I’m not that naïve….everybody wants that. However,  I feel as though I can comfortably say that their mission and purpose go beyond record sales and rankings, their goals focused elsewhere, which is pretty rare in ‘the biz’. All that being said, it was a big week for Casting Crowns and Come To The Well.

I am probably a spot on member of Casting Crown’s target demographic. Christian, deacon, teacher, occasional preacher, worship team member and short term missionary to Colombia. Not to mention a long time fan of the group. (I don’t list those as qualifications, or to make myself sound like a good guy or because I like adding titles to my name…..just to show who & where the review is coming from!) These things being so, ever since hearing the news of ‘Come To The Well’ and its ascent towards the #1 spot, its been with rapt attention that I’ve been following the story. I even did my part, hitting I-Tunes right at 11:59 p.m. Sunday night to purchase the album, just in time to be counted for the week.

Monday morning I gave a listen, then another and three times after that….then just ended up letting it play through the entire morning. The album was everything I had expected it to be, a blend of pop, rock and tracks that you may expect to hear coming from a church praise team on Sunday morning. Each track’s lyrics are heavily laden with scripture and beautiful songwriting all intent upon encouraging listeners and offering praise to their reason for singing, their Savior, Jesus Christ. Casting Crowns have always been masters of weaving tales through song, and they continue to do so on tracks like “City On A Hill”. “My Own Worst Enemy” brings the hardest edge of the album sound-wise, yet with a clear and introspective message. The winner on this album though is track 1, “Courageous”, the theme song for the movie of the same name. The song, like the film revolves around the need for fathers to be courageous in providing for, loving and caring for their families. Certainly a message relevant today, and that will never go out of style.

“Come to The Well” is solid throughout and succeeds in its missions of both speaking to the hearts of listeners and in bringing glory to God. Make no mistake though, “Come To The Well” need not be restricted to only Christians. This album plays just as well on pop radio as it does Christian radio, your home or car as it does in a church. Its message and intent are both clear, and here  music and message combine to create some really good musical enjoyment. Considering the times our country are in, we could all use some positivity. With the state of our economy, homelessness and unemployment being off the charts a little hope and good news goes a long way, and that’s just what Casting Crowns is sending out. While researching this week I was surprised to come across a lot of hatred, lot of venom directed towards the group, their beliefs and their music, which is sad and really, unnecessary.  I believe a simple open minded listen through may surprise, and bless you. The music and the message is available and geared towards all, so do yourself a favor… Come To The Well. Take a listen and see that it is not just good, but pretty great.

Grade: B+

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