Breakaway has a long history of strong worship projects and extensive song catalog. This is due, in part, to the roster of worship leaders and bands who have consistently led worship for the massive service.
The record features quite a few worship leaders (Aaron Ivey Band, Jeff Johnson, Donna Stewart & Emily Ward and Jeremy McCasland) but it’s less about the individuals who made it happen and more about the collective songlist. Let’s take a look.
As with most every new worship release, I fully expect to hear 10 to 12 attempts to sound like Hillsong, but Breakaway Live took me by surprise. In fact, it’s the record’s simplicity and lack of pretense that’s so refreshing. As I’ve mentioned many times, worship records should be creative, but they should also sound like something that can fit in our churches. Not just arenas. Specifically, I love the absence of drum programming and the simple role electric guitar plays. Lots of good piano in these tunes, too. We hear a lot about when “not-too-play” in worship, and I’d easily offer this project as a clinic on the issue. The musicians play with comfort and ease and even the rockers feel comfortable.
There are some great songs on the project. I love the hymn additions, especially “Be Thou My Vision” and “Solid Rock.” Both of them are played perfectly – true to their original form and full of passion. There are other strong tunes for worship. “The Name,” the rock-piano opener would allow most any band to get their fill of full-on playing while keeping the music focused and precise. In fact, most every tune on the project is perfect for congregational worship. Most of them are pitched perfectly and arranged in an easy-to-follow format.
With the exception of a few synth touches, this might be one of the most accessible worship projects I’ve heard all year. That doesn’t mean the tunes are elementary – they’re definitely played by folks who know what they’re doing, but they are the picture of perfect dynamic playing. I’d love to hear churches singing these songs as they allow praise teams to focus their energies on the act of exaltation and not blatant copycatting.
This is a worship record that surpasses every expectation I had going in. The songs engage, but don’t overwhelm; the band delivers, but doesn’t distract. Consider this a big thumbs up for the new Breakaway Live.