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Kickin' It Old School by Go Fish

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The Advocate

Kickin it Old School by Go Fish

Reviewed by Lisa Lickel

"A sweet bridge between ancient and future worship."

Go Fish has added to its repertoire of “great music for kids that won’t drive their parents bonkers” CDs with Kickin' It Old School, a collection of “souped up” hymns both old and, um, newer. The techno-generation can divide the church faster than you can think “Blessed Assurance.” The guys in the band are right: some kids have never even held a hymnal while older church members tune out at the first strum of a guitar chord. How do we honor the roots and traditions of our faith while moving into the twenty-first century? Following in the steps of the likes of Chris Rice’s beautiful collection in The Hymn Project, the Go Fish guys, who are parents of youngsters, aim to “pass foundational songs down to the next generation­--songs that were important to us growing up,” according to band member Jason Folkmann.

The ten tracks on Kickin' It Old School begin with a techno-funk introduction, the title song. The guys move right into a rendition of “I Love to Tell the Story,” introducing some na, na, na and a beat that Sunday schoolers love. The band’s mature, powerful vocal blend is particularly pleasing in “Sweet Song of Salvation.”

“I’m a Soldier in the Lord’s Army” starts with their signature spoken word, news flicks and children saying The Lord’s Prayer. A funky techno repeat, “I’ve got my war clothes on,” is a phrase kids will love to say, from the verses of Galatians 6 about the armor of God.

“This Is My Father’s World” is an easily recognized hip-hopped version with an underlying refrain and verses that include a signature takeaway guitar solo and “yeah, yeah” repeat of the verse. “Blessed Assurance” uses the familiar vocal acoustics of the group members with Jamie Statesma’s amazing voiced percussion and a repetition that will stay with you throughout the day. The guys return to the beauty of the original tune and lyrics with an echoing descant. It has a swinging syncopation blend you can’t help but join.

“I’ll Fly Away” is updated with a hip-hop and funky guitar pluck and under score by Andy Selness’s great bass with a gotta dance beat. The doo-wop version of “Shelter in A Time Of Storm” is a stretch from tradition, using all the talents of each member of Go Fish – and a harmonica. “The Solid Rock” comes with a 1940s big band swing style, as Denver and the Mile High Orchestra joins the guys for a diamond polished version of this classic. A great horn solo puts you right under the old glitter ball.

The final cut, “The Old Rugged Cross,” is a true old school beauty slowly building with sounds of percussion and guitar as only Go Fish can perform to a “Glory to His Name” crescendo and a satisfying harmonized conclusion.

Kicking It Old School’s treatment of favored hymns may not thrill every grandma in the congregation, but it’s a real short-crowd pleaser for this old-school gal. A sweet bridge between ancient and future worship.


Lisa J. LickelLisa Lickel lives in Wisconsin with her high school teacher husband in a 150-year-old Great Lakes ship captain's house. She is active in more than one historical society, belongs to writing and reading clubs and is the editor in chief of Creative Wisconsin, the magazine of Wisconsin Regional Writers. A graduate of the Christian Writer's Guild, she has written newspaper features and magazine articles, radio theater, and authored several inspirational novels. Find her online at http://lisalickel.com, http://wisconsinauthorreview.blogspot.com, http://reflectionsinhindsight.wordpress.com, and Facebook.