Jimmy Needham didn’t just clear the stage with his new CD by the same name — he cleared his music slate.
Needham, who has been compared with Jack Johnson, reinvents himself on “Clear the Stage” with the help of producer Ed Cash (Chris Tomlin, Laura Story, Aaron Shust). The album includes fun, high-energy music, along with his trademark soulful and thoughtful sound.
The Texas native expands his musical talents with the first track, “I Will Find You” as he mixes it up with rapper LeCrae, who attended George Washington High in Denver. You will find your feet tapping and body gyrating with this tune.
“Stay,” featuring Lizi Bailey, is an acoustic duet backed by an orchestra. (I’m a sucker for strings.) Bailey’s voice adds a nice dimension to Needham in this love song, a surprise because I would not have imagined these two together.
“My Victory” is a worship song that calls upon the listener to not look back and to live freely in God’s grace.
“You are the hope that broke the dark in me.
“You are the light the shines when I can’t see.
“You are, you are, you are my victory.”
“Rock Bottom” and “In the Middle” melds Needham’s rhythm and blues sound with a rap vibe that adds depth to the album.
The final track — Ross King’s “Clear the Stage” — is the only song on the album not written by Needham, and hits the musician right between the eyes.
“The first time I heard this song as a high school student, it wrecked me,” Needham said in a news release. ” I don’t think anyone can be the same person after hearing that song.”
And he’s right. King’s lyrics call for clearing the stage (or life) of all the clutter that is taking your eyes off God.
“Anything I put before my God is an idol.
Anything I want with all my heart is an idol.
Anything I can’t stop thinking of is an idol.
Anything that I give all my love is an idol.
We must not worship something that’s not even worth it.
Clear the stage and make some space for the one who deserves it.”
“There’s a nuance I try to capture in every record, but this one was a lot more eclectic thematically,” Needham said in the release. “All of the facets of my personal life keep leading me to an expanding view of Christ; marriage to my wife Kelly, our daughter’s birth, and the miscarriages we experienced before our daughter’s birth. In all of these things, and in every way I attempt to navigate life, my only satisfaction — the only true answers — will be found in Christ.”
I enjoyed “Clear the Stage,” because of the mix of music — I’m not a fan of a CD’s songs all sounding the same — and the thought-provoking lyrics. Add in the whimsical with “Daddy’s Baby Girl,” and the listener won’t get bored with the well-written and produced 10-song CD.