Keith Green File:
Reviewed by Cheryl Russell
Greatest Hits by Keith Green
"Years after his death, his songs still resonate on a deeper level untouched by most modern praise choruses."
Twenty-eight year old Keith Green perished in a plane crash in 1982, but his music didn’t die with him. On CDs such as The Greatest Hits, those simple, yet powerful songs live on. Years after his death, his songs still resonate on a deeper level untouched, for me, by most modern praise choruses.
Keith’s songs are simple, but the words written by both Keith and his wife Melody had, and still have, a way of cutting through the fluff and piercing the heart of his listeners, giving them much to think about. Songs such as “Asleep in the Light”, “To Obey is Better Than Sacrifice”, and “Jesus Commands Us to Go” are just as relevant today, maybe even more so, than when originally recorded.
Some of the words that still cause me to re-think my own Christian walk years after their initial recording are found in “Asleep in the Light”:
“Oh bless me Lord,
Bless me Lord,
You know, it’s all I ever hear
No one aches,
No one hurts,
No one even sheds one tear.
But, He cries
And He cares for your needs
And you just lay back,
And keep soaking it in.
His lyrics weren’t just aimed at the church, but they were words he took to heart as well. Born out of his own convictions and struggles, many of his lyrics were his life in song, powerful in their honesty.
Not all of his songs had a heavy tone to them. “So You Wanna Go Back to Egypt” shows a playful side, complete with bleating goats, tinkling bells, baaing sheep and the sound of a crowd moving from one place to another.
Keith was a worship leader/songwriter long before it was a fad. Many of his worship songs are Keith singing of his struggles, hopes and dreams. “Oh Lord You’re Beautiful”, “You Put This Love In My Heart”, Soften Your Heart”, “Your Love Broke Through”, “My Eyes are Dry”, “Grace by Which I Stand”, “There is a Redeemer”, “Rushing Wind”, “Easter Song”, “Create in Me A Clean Heart”, “The Lord Is My Shepherd”, and “Make My Life a Prayer To You” are all included on the CD.
Bonus tracks are: “Your Love Came Over Me” (previously unreleased) and “He’ll Take Care of the Rest” (live, previously unreleased).
The CD also unlocks more bonus songs, videos and downloads when played on a computer. One of the videos shows Keith playing at a live event, sans beard. That was enough for a double take, for all of the photos I’ve ever seen were with a beard! But listening to him sing and play his piano (and could he ever play) are a nice extra.
Keith was writing his own songs at age six and signed to a recording contract by age eleven. But his recording career fizzled and he felt like a has-been before he was old enough to get a driver’s license. Eventually he started on a spiritual quest that ended when he was twenty-one when he’d at last found what he’d sought, radically changing his life and his music.
The world lost a wonderful songwriter/singer who still had much to give
on that late July day. I still miss him. But his music still remains for
long-time fans and is an unmined gem for those who have yet to hear his music.
Cheryl Russell lives in the Midwest with her husband and three children. Her short stories, as well as a few articles, have been published in print and online. She's loved to read for as long as she can remember and puts all that time to good use writing book reviews for Infuze, Novel Reviews, and Title Trakk. She's also a member of the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance, FIRST network, Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy Blog Tour and American Christian Fiction Writers. She's currently working on her first novel. If she could, she'd spend her time hanging out in the thermal areas of Yellowstone in general, Norris Geyser Basin in particular. Another favorite spot is Kennicott, an old copper mining town in Wrangel-St. Elias National Park, Alaska, which is at the end of a 60 mile dirt road, 8 hours west of Anchorage. She and her family are frequent hikers in the national parks, and have pounded the dirt trails in Virginia, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Montana, Wyoming and Alaska. You can visit her at her blog, Unseen Worlds or at her website.