Chris Stephens Review - ChristianMusic.com

Chris Stephens Reivew: SOMEDAY YOU'LL KNOW

Mission Statement: "To touch somebody's heart by sharing God's Word and doing God's work." - Chris Stephens

"Since that day when his first Christian song was born, he began writing, reading the Bible, and writing some more. His desire had changed. Though it was still to write songs, it was also to touch somebody's heart by sharing God's Word and doing God's work." - Jennifer Stephens, his wife.

Chris Stephens grew up in a small Ohio town in a close, loving Christian home with supportive, encouraging parents, who also loved music and the Lord. His parents, Russ and Susie gave him two invaluable gifts, which are the foundation of his music and ministry - "a passion for music and a love of Christ," that was nurtured early and consistently, with the invaluable help of the family's caring, church family.

Chris Stephens grew up in an music enriched environment, which included many kinds of music, as his parents loved it. His parents encouraged his musical gifts when his abilities made an early appearance around the age of 4. As a young boy, his parents gave him his first guitar.

His church family encouraged his musical gifts as well as his spiritual walk with Christ, by offering their children / youth opportunities to sing, as well as nurturing their faith through the children and youth programs.. "As Chris grew in the church, he grew in faith. It is as simple as that." - Jennifer Stephens.

Throughout his school years, his talents were also noticed by others in the secular world as well, and he sang in various choirs and sang his share of solos and duets. After graduating from high school, Chris went to Ashland College, minored in music theory, and earned a teaching credential.

After teaching for four years, Chris felt an overwhelming pull to compose songs, a yearning that fueled him to enter the song writing business. As his wife, Jennifer, says, "He just had these three-minute melodic masterpieces in him that had to come out."

"With Christ and music both in his heart," Chris moved to Nashville in the summer of 1993 to pursue the competitive career of secular song writing. While working a day job to support himself in Nashville, Chris wrote songs in a variety of genres; country, rock, some blues, and a couple lullabies in his spare time, and sang at the Bluebird Café and the Broken Spoke.

In 1998, Chris married the love of his life, Jennifer. Chris stretched his focus and commitment to include not only his song writing career, and his day job, but also to his married life with Jennifer, knowing full well the value of family and committed relationships.

As a couple, they joined a local church and became active members. On several occasions, Chris sang some songs during the services. Jennifer got the inspiration to encourage Chris to compose a new Christian song to sing in church. Jennifer explains, "I believe Chris's response was, 'I don't know how.' It didn't take him long to figure it out. I gave him a few ideas. He took a few of them and within a couple hours Chris composed his first contemporary Christian song."

Chris Stephens, for the first time, melded his love for Christ with his gift of song writing, and discovered a satisfying, inner joy; a blessing one receives when one follows the Lord's leading. From that moment on, Chris redirected his song writing dream to do God's work; writing songs that draw others to Jesus Christ, to trust and depend on Him and to walk in the light with the Lord, living a life that is pleasing to Him.

Inspired by his continuing study of God's Word, this inner, inspiring joy and a focused prayer life, Chris continued to compose a variety of Christian contemporary songs, entering into a music ministry for Christ.

Five months after the birth of their daughter, Allison, Chris Stephens recorded his first CD of songs, SOMEDAY YOU'LL KNOW. Chris's love for Jesus Christ, his God-given musical talent, his training in theory, his life experiences, his days in Nashville, and knowledge learned throughout his life thus far all have come together to provide the listener a truly inspiring, comforting, uplifting experience. Because of his natural gifts (creating great melodies / lyrics), his music theory training, and his song writing experiences in Nashville, Chris uses a very interesting variety / combination of genres / styles, interesting harmonies and musical compositions which nicely support his lyrics and message. While Chris sang the main vocals and played his acoustical guitar, one also hears a variety of instruments, such as bass, acoustic and electric guitar, steel guitar, mandolin(played by Scott Partridge), piano, keyboard, electric piano (played by Jim Kirby), fiddle mandolin, banjo (Ward Stout), Keyboards (Fred Francis) and percussion and drums (Scott Partridge).

Chris also had background vocals in some songs, sung by Ginger and Cleve Eldridge and Alicia Newberry. His wife, Jennifer joins him on some of his songs as well. Each one of these songs is a gem in its own right. Chris Stephens creatively puts his scripture / personal spiritual insight - based lyrics together in partnership with highly likable melodies, harmonies, interesting key changes, catchy song introductions that set the tone of the song, nice contrasts between the main verses and choruses, creating high quality Christian praise, anthem and worship songs that make one sit up and notice. Here is a sample of his songs.

* I WILL FOLLOW YOU -(Matthew 9:9, Mark 8:34-38, John 8:12, John 9:1-7, & Revelations 1:8)

Written with a country feel to it. Light Beat, acoustical guitars (broken chords), other strings, with nice violin accents, vocal harmonies. Lyrics and music dynamically build to the Chorus.

Lyrical Sample: 1) You gave me a Promised Land, but I walked in circles in the sand, Too busy doing my own thing, To recognize You as my king.

Chorus: You touch my eyes, refreshed my sight, Flooded my path with living light. To deserve it what did I do? I'll learn to take things slow, And give You full control. And I will follow you.

Bridge: I won't always know where You are taking me. But I will go. You've never forsaken me.

BREAK ME DOWN (Psalm 51) - Solemn song of confession, a prayer of surrender, and asking to be changed by the Lord, to become more Christ-like.

Light snare / drums, melody written in a minor key, nice piano work, light violins, electric piano, nice acoustical, and electric guitar solos.

Lyrical Sample: ...Wrapped up in blankets of guilt I just can't shake the cold. I surrender You my soul.

Chorus: Break me down, drive me to my knees, Break me down, only You can set me free. And through it all I know You love me and that's why, You take the time to break me down.

2) Take my shoes and make me walk through streams of mud. Shake me, sprinkle me with the cleansing of Your blodd. Rip out my stallion heart and squeeze it in Your hands. Then restore my soul to the joy of Your salvation . Let me be pure again.

* TITLE SONG: SOMEDAY YOU'LL KNOW - A song of hope and comfort for those who have lost a loved one, or who are far away from family / friends. Also a song for parents waiting for a child to join their family.

("Written for the two Alisons in my life; to my daughter two months before her arrival, and to my sister who I long to see again." - Chris Stephens)

Expansive, progressive piano chords, strings, light drums. Interesting progressive key changes. Vocals are sung from the heart.

Lyrical Sample: When the world seems so cold, You're all I need to keep me warm. And just the thought of you in my arms, Brings tears to my eyes. Until that day comes, I'll stay hungry for your touch. As the river of hope in my mind flows for your love.

Chorus: Someday you'll know the joy you bring me. Someday we'll look into each other's eyes. Someday you'll speak the words that set my heart free. Someday you will know someday you will see. Someday you'll know the treasure you are to me.

* SOMEBODY'S WATCHING YOU - (Matthew 18:1-6, Mathew 19:13-15, John 14:1, 15-17, 27-28) - R&B Feel, with catchy rhythms, swing beat. Guitars, hot piano work, other strings. ("To Clay Fellows and to all the children of the world" - Chris)

Song starts with a few bars of young Clay Fellows enthusiastically singing his version of "Jesus Loves me."

Lyrical Sample: 1) Clay is a little man...And his eyes are full of wonder... Trains, cars and a toy guitar cover the living room floor. But he's got no worries...Except for getting put to bed too soon. He's just one of the many millions who's needing to be adored.....We've gotta give'em the things they need... They learn how to live from observing you and me...Bottom line, they're our responsibility.

Chorus: Somebody's watching you, somebody's watching me. Somebody's modeling you and taking after me. Somebody's watching you, somebody's watching me. Somebody's walking with you and looking after me.

Bridge: Give your love to little children...Cherish life like little children...We are children of the living God.

TALK TO ME, TALK TO YOU (Genesis 1) - A prayer hymn, from Chris Stephens to the Lord., that we can all relate to in a spiritual sense. Beautiful piano accompaniment, strings.

Lyrical Sample: 1) I'm furnished with a sunrise every morning. But sometimes it hides behind the gentle rain. Two reminders of the love You give to me. But I ignore the clouds and wallow in my pain. The coffee pot is gurgling out my remedy, For all the things on earth that make me blue. I don't know why You take the time to talk to me, when I neglect to take the time to talk to You.

Chorus: Your love is more than I can fathom. Deeper than the oceans that caress the land Your mighty hands construed. And I know it breaks your heart but You still talk to me. When I don't take the time to talk to you.

2) And as these words come tumbling to this paper, I realize they all have come from You. Another gracious way You choose to talk to me, when I finally take the time to talk to you.

* THE SIMON PETER IN ME - "So much can be learned from him that applies to our own lives. I'm convinced that's why so many of his weaknesses get exploited and so many of his strengths are celebrated in the New Testament." - Christ Stephens.

Another favorite of this reviewer. This song has elements of swing beat, light rock , R&B and gospel, and really cooks! The hot piano, inspiring base & accoustic guitar, offer a fine, irresistible rhythmic counter beat / intricate secondary melody, and harmonious accompaniment to the soaring main vocals, which move to the catchy beat. (A lot of dotted eighth note rhythm).

Lyrical Sample: A rooster crows inside my head everyday, 'Cause I deny the words You said and do things my way. Fear and Shame fill my heart, and you should be angry. But You show forgiveness for the Simon Peter in me.

Some days I can be the Rock who walks beside Your shadow, But when a storm rises up I tremble whenever the wind blows. But your mercy reaches out and brings me back to safety. I can't seem to figure out this Simon Peter in me.

Chorus: You warned us to be aware of Your enemies. You said they'd try every means to get between You and me. I won't cut off anybody's ear but I can still get angry. So you sent Your Comforter for the Simon Peter in me.

Bridge: I'm the servant and You're my King and that's the Simon Peter in me.

TIGHTROPE - (Matthew 19:23-24, Matthew 20:17-19, Mark 15:22, John 14:30, & John 15:19-27) When life gets rough, and trials, storms, and difficult people enter one's life, this is an excellent song of faith to raise your spirits. It is a well-sung conversation with Jesus, set to pretty acoustical guitar, ligth drums, nice electical guitar support parts, plus a great melody.

Lyrical Sample: Day after day it doesn't get any easier. But why should I think it will? Cause You didn't teach us that life's about the easy road, secluded in a mansion on a hill.

Chorus: You walked a tightrope into a fire, Knowing where every step would lead. But I'm on a tightrope and I don't know where I'm goin' Would You whisper me words to take away where I'm goin'. So that if I fall, I know You're there to catch me.

The power to love and forgive them when each day they'd mock and taunt and laugh at You. How did You keep from being lonely?.....Your wisdom and fearlessness didn't change their angry souls. they still led You to Calvary.

(Statement of faith, belief in the Lord's promises) - Bridge: But I know you wrote the story, And You'll turn the pages for me, Your Word is holy.

* HOLD US JESUS - Joshua 24:15 (Song was written for his baby daughter's baptism) - Another favorite of this reviewer. With acoustic guitar, mandolin, fiddle, light drums, a very pretty worship, praise song about faith and dependence on Jesus and is a reminder to parents / adults to appreciate / cherish the moments with their children.

First Chorus: Hold us, Jesus. Lead us, teach us. When the cold wind blows, Our faith in You will grow. We know You'll hold us, Jesus.

2nd Chorus: Lyrics sung by back up vocals, with the First Chorus (Hold us, Jesus. Lead us, teach us), as a counter melody, several times in the song: Thank you for daily bread, And a place to rest our heads. As for me and my house, Your love will abound.

2nd verse: We'll help her count from one to ten And recite her ABC's. But I'm afraid she's on her own, When it's time for trigonometry. Piano, sports, or theatre, Or the high school marching band. Whatever road she takes, please help us cherish what we can.

PARADISE - (Psalm 3, Psalm 9, Luke 23:40-43, John 11:45-53) - Light rock beat, with acoustical and electrical guitar. Nice electrical guitar solo. Verses sung to a melody in a minor key which segues gradually into a major key in the chorus. Nice back-up vocals in chorus, that compliment the main vocals.

Lyrical Sample: 1) There are no loopholes in Your story. From creation to the 21st century. There are some who won't believe that Jesus is Your Son. They walk with closed eyes and push You away, And hate the Word of Love. They can't see....

Chorus: Paradise, Your paradise, Is what I'm longing for. Sacrifice, Your sacrifice Gave me the only chance I had to be in Your Paradise, Your paradise, Is what I'm longing for right now. And I can see You clearly watching over me. ........

It doesn't matter what the situation is We will sing Your praise. We see......

The last two songs round out the CD very nicely. TINY STAR was inspired by two little ones, Paige Fellows (Clay's little sister?) and Hannah Brown, and offers basic elements in faith.

THANK YOU is Stephen's loving thank you to his dear wife, Jennifer, whom he considers to be a precious gift from God.

 


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