Phil Wickham's music has been called every flowery adjective in the thesaurus and some that may have even been made up. And while they are often accurate descriptors they are at the same time distracting. When hearing these buzz words it's too easy to lump an artist into a meaningless equation consisting of two musical references, a vague genre title and a classic predecessor. Welcome to missing the point.
The point is that Wickham is at his core a humble and sincere artist who writes songs and worships God using the medium of music. It is with that brush that he paints images of a loving and creative God across the canvases of listeners' hearts and minds. Although the evidence of this gift was apparent on Wickham's early records, it was never clearer and more developed than on the twelve tracks off his second album 'Cannons'.
When naming the album Wickham was trying to find a metaphor for the brilliance and magnitude of creation. He needed a word that has not been overused and therefore gives listeners pause and compels them to consider the wonder of the world around them:
It's falling from the clouds, A strange and lovely sound
I hear it in the thunder and rain, It's ringing in the skies
Like cannons in the night, The music of the universe plays
For Wickham the desire he has for his albums and live show is always to lead people into worship. On 'Cannons' he accomplished this with a marked sonic shift and an added sense of urgency.
There has always been a thread of worship that has run through Wickham's albums, but on his fourth, 'Response' he was compelled to write and create from this concept of worship. Each of the eleven tracks provided the listener with a song that in any circumstance seeks to give voice to our acceptance of the myriad of ways in which God loves. In the same way that the Psalms offer expressions of joy, sorrow, repentance, hope and victory, 'Response' gives voice to our appreciation and adoration of God in every chapter and page of life. "When I see the different aspects of who God is in different situations of life - a little glimpse of His love in how my wife and I continue to grow in our love for each other, His goodness when I find out I have a baby daughter on the way, His grace and forgiveness when I mess up for the hundredth time - my response to that love can be seen as jumping for joy where other times I respond by saying, 'You are Holy and I am not', humbled and falling on my face."
Now, ten years and nine records since Phil Wickham released his first worship album comes a bold new project focused on the forward movement of faith. This new studio record, 'The Ascension', draws Phil's compelling vocals and spiritual sensibilities into a community of music that has always been a passion for him: worship. 'The Ascension' was inspired by the Songs of Ascent passages in the book of Psalms, songs sung by the Jews when they would 'ascend' to visit the Holy Temple for festivals. Phil's modern Songs of Ascent bring together melodic hymns and vibrant lyrics and is present in the album's 11-tracks. The album's lead single 'This Is Amazing Grace' speaks on God's unfailing love and amazing grace.
Phil shares on 'The Ascension', "God no longer dwells in the city or in the temple. But the Church has become the city. The Church has become his temple. Every time we get together as a body-whether it's a home fellowship or in a mega-church-his temple is gathering together. He's living inside of us, creating a special moment that's been ordained. I wanted to write modern Songs of Ascent."
Producer Pete Kipley, who has had a long history with Phil, returns to collaborate on 'The Ascension' to create a brilliant collection of soaring tracks, skilled guitar licks and unexpected yet sing-able melodies. Phil's skills as a songwriter create beautiful imagery and paint the picture of each of us ascending the mountain of God with powerful tracks like 'Carry My Soul', and 'Mercy'.