Review: David Crowder Band, Give Us Rest or (a requiem mass in c [the happiest of all keys])

The David Crowder Band isn’t going out with a bang or a whimper, but with a tsunami of music.

For the band’s sixth and final studio album, it has released a 34-song epic that goes just about everywhere the Crowder Band has been, including a heapin’ helpin’ of bluegrass toward the finale, and forges some new territory such as a rock opera-esque grandeur toward the middle of the project.

Like almost everything Crowder has done, there is a plan, a design underlying it, this one being fairly clearly stated in the extensive title, Give Us Rest or (a requiem mass in c [the happiest of all keys]). The nearly two-hour album is built on the mass stucture including a mighty, modern Kyrie and extensive contemplative section bookended by some flat out fantastic songs, pop-oriented at the beginning and footstomping bluegrass toward the end. (Dude, if you guys want to retire to Kentucky, we’d love to have you.) As I am not Catholic, I will not pretend to be terribly knowledgeable about what Crowder has done to make this a true mass, but the album is as captivating as the experience of a mass, well beyond what we usually expect from a pop release.

Overall, Give Us Rest communicates a pervasive love of music in many, many forms – this is the band that has credibly brought banjo and the I Am T-Pain app onto the Christian concert stage, often in the same show. And it communicates a consuming love of God and desire to make music for God.

The final stroke of genius though is after all the great songs like Sometimes and Come Find Me, the complexity of the music and the structure of this project, this is how Crowder and his band exit: a humble, as unplugged-as-you-can-be-in-the-studio rendition of the hymn, Because He Lives.

Most Christian music fans hate to see Crowder and his band go. There is too much formulaic, passionless music in the Christian genre to see an act of this talent and integrity disband. But over the past decade, the group has earned the right to chart its own course and say when the journey is over. And if this it, the David Crowder Band has left us with a masterpiece.

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