GMA's Dove Award winning artist Aaron Shust returns with his fourth album, This Is What We Believe, his first album on Centricity Music. It's vintage Aaron Shust, to be sure, but with Ed Cash at the helm, the familiar textures seem to fall together in new ways. "Ed really pushed me out of my comfort zone," Aaron explains. "He could hear possibilities in the melodies and even in my voice that I hadn't explored before. He had me singing more passionately, less precisely, higher, louder and even more quietly than I ever had before. And it worked. This Is What We Believe is an honest reflection of who I am as an artist, but Ed managed to draw that out and express it in ways that never would have occurred to me. It was a great collaboration." The entire project feels seamless and intentional, including standout recordings like the hauntingly accessible "My Hope Is In You" (written by April Geesbreght), and the lose-yourself-in-the-moment sing-ability of "Your Majesty."
First single "My Hope Is In You" is similar to The Museum's "My Help Comes From The Lord," in that the song is based on the truth of the Psalms. I can't get enough of the Biblical truth of the song and I love when artists take Gods' Word from the Bible and turn it into a great and catchy song filled with truth. I sing this song to God with all of my heart and know that "My hope is in You, Lord, all the day long." The timeless passages, Psalm 25 and Psalm 121, have application for us today as we live in uncertain times. Know that God is your refuge and your hope comes from the Lord. Amen. I find myself singing the song to myself throughout the day, very much like Aaron's Dove Award winning song, "My Savior, My God." The album was recorded while Aaron's two-year-old son, Nicky, was living in a hospital where he was being fed through tubes because he couldn't keep down any food or drink for more than two seconds, and the doctors were running out of options to treat him. He was diagnosed with Eosinophilic Esophagitis, a rare and extremely painful condition, where he was unable to take in any nutrition. Doctors tried multiple food formulas but his body rejected all of them. What was considered to be a permanent disease one day suddenly seemed to have disappeared. The doctor could offer no explanation as to why. But the Shust's were confident they'd just received a miracle.
Title track "This Is What We Believe" is one of many songs that are vertical worship declarations about who God is and who we are in Him because of His great love for us. Other examples are stand-out songs "Your Majesty," "Sing Of My Redeemer" and "Wondrous Love." I could imagine singing many of these songs with fellow believers and they are all proclamations of worship. One of Aaron's strengths is the strong biblical Truth of his songs, and he prays and calls upon our King Jesus in every single song. There is absolutely no doubt who these songs are about.
CLOSING THOUGHTS (Staff Review, NewReleaseTuesday.com)
This is my favorite overall album by Dove Award winning artist Aaron Shust. For me, the stand-out songs that you'll want to start singing at your church are "This Is What We Believe," "My Hope Is In You," "Your Majesty," "Sing Of My Redeemer" and "Wondrous Love." The album is filled with messages of hope, confession and worship to our Great God and Savior. Aaron has once again has written songs of praise and worship set to a nice soft rock musical style. Fans of Bebo Norman, Jeremy Camp and John Waller should enjoy this album. Aaron has a deep voice and sincere singing style that best compares to Jakob Dylan of The Wallflowers.