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Awakening: Live From Chicago, Jesus Culture - CD Review & Giveaway!

By Julie Terwilliger, Chris Olson on November 28, 2011

With this review we decided to go about it a little different than our usual format. Since one of our reviewers, Julie Terwilliger, actually experienced this live recording firsthand, Chris Olson and Julie decided to review the album in an interview format. Below is the result:

Chris: Hi Julie! Before we get to talking about the new Awakening CD by Jesus Culture, I hear that you have a unique perspective on this. Tell me about it . . .

Julie: Me & my peeps were in the 3rd row, I actually didn't know it was going to be a live recording at the time (darn it I should've screamed louder to be heard on it!), It was a 3 day experience, with worship & speakers. I loved that on the first night we didn't start right out into praise, Kim Walker-Smith gave a beautiful word and we launched into slow worship, it was a wonderful beginning to the event.

Chris: Awesome! I think that definitely gives you a unique perspective on this album! Well, let’s get into it.

In past Jesus Culture projects, we primarily see Kim Walker-Smith and Chris Quilala. On this project we see a number of other vocalists joining in: Kristene Di Marco, Katie Torwalt, Bryan Torwalt and Jake Hamilton. Do you like these additions?

Julie: At first I was a bit bummed because all I wanted was to just hear Kim & Chris but when Kristene (who I had the privilege to literally bump into and say hello & props) launched into her song the crowd exploded into worship. Bryan & Katie are now some of my new faves, I have their album too. So, I am very excited about their new additions.

Chris: I noticed a bit of a heavier emphasis on electronic effects and synthesizers than on past projects. I thought it added a nice energy to the album. How did it translate in person?

Julie: Energy. In the song “Dance” it gave it a whole new makeover, I thought it was a new song at first. Surprisingly, nothing took away from the worship experience with the new effects added.

Chris: I think this rendition of “Nothing But the Blood” is one of the prettiest and most powerful I have heard. Not only is it a truly anointed song, but Kim’s harmonies combined with the driving drum beat really push this song. How was that live?

Julie: One word...Epic!

Chris: As we have seen in some past albums, there are a fair amount of what I would call “me centered” songs, such as “Fill Me Up” on this album. I personally don’t consider these to be true worship songs (as I view that as being more upward), but more prayerful songs. “The Anthem” is another example, this one being more of a rally cry to edify each other rather than a true worship song. How did songs like these go over in the live, congregational setting?

Julie: “The Anthem” caught on really quick, by the end of the song everyone was fist pumping. “Fill Me Up” was more of a soaking song, I honestly can’t remember, I may have not even opened my eyes during it!

I really like that they brought back “We Are Hungry” and I think they did a great job with it. This is one of my favorite tracks on the album. What is your favorite track on this album?

Julie: I can NEVER have just one favorite, so mine are: “Glorious”, “Dance” and in my humble opinion the most powerful song live was “Break Every Chain”. Which is by the way an incredible song for the local church to sing, just get a good strong & anointed vocalist on it and God will rock it!

Chris: Ok, last question: If you had to describe this album in one or two sentences, what would it be?

Julie: Incredibly anointed! There is power in the name of Jesus and all over this album!


Enter to win the CD! What is your all time favorite song written and/or recorded by Jesus Culture? Leave your answer below for your chance to win the CD. Deadline is Monday, December 5th @ 5pm CST. You must be a resident in U.S. or Canada; at least 18 years of age. We'll pick a random winner. You will have 48 hours after we attempt to contact you to claim your prize.

(Review copy and giveaway courtesy of Kingsway.)

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Julie Terwilliger

Julie Terwilliger

Julie is a business owner, designer, worship leader, and iPhoneographer. She loves Jesus, elevating others, laughing & living life to the fullest with her husband & son in Michigan.

Chris Olson

Chris Olson

Chris has been involved in worship ministry in some way for over 20 years, ranging from worship team guitarist/bassist/drummer to staff worship pastor. Chris presently serves as one of the worship leaders at Grace Church in Overland Park, KS, and is also a songwriter with a passion to write songs for the local church.  Chris married WAY up when his wife Rachel said “I do,” and they have two awesomely awesome kids, Aedan and Caitlin.