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Brian Doerksen Level Ground - CD Review

By Barry Westman on March 28, 2011

Award-winning Canadian worship leader/songwriter, Brian Doerksen, recently released his latest CD/DVD worship project, entitled Level Ground. Brian is the writer of such classics as “Come, Now Is the Time To Worship”, “Hope of the Nations”, “Hallelujah (Your Love Is Amazing)”, “Holy One”, and many others!

This is Brian’s sixth album released with Integrity Music, and includes many new original songs written by Doerksen, and also several co-writes with Paul Baloche, Kathryn Scott, and others.

Brian says the inspiration for this album comes from Isaiah 40, which says: “Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level. And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it.”

“God's heart as Father longs to embrace us all and place us on level ground!” Brian says.  “Through Him, we can all experience grace that transforms. My hope and prayer is that is exactly what you will experience as you listen to these songs and stories!"

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the songs on this unique worship project, and there were several standouts. The title song “Welcome to the Place of Level Ground”, is one that Brian co-wrote with Paul Baloche. I love the contemporary, Celtic-sounding intro to this song, especially as it builds into the opening verse of this song. The lyrics on the verses lay out our need for a Savior, then the pre-chorus and chorus celebrate Jesus, our God of grace. It’s a perfect setup for the entire album, putting the focus on our need for mercy.

Another song that captured my attention was “Will You Love Me In The Winter”, a song that Brian actually spoke about in his recent interview with All About Worship. The idea for this song actually came to Brian over 10 years ago when he was walking through London, England in the fall and a leaf fell past him on its way to the ground. He had the idea then for a song about the dark nights of our soul and about growing old physically, but didn’t feel it was the right time.

Now, 10 years later, the idea came back to him as he was putting this project together. He wanted to include a song of honest lament and pain, and this song perfectly paints the picture of the questions that come to our mind when our trees are bare and we feel like we have nothing to give. “When my body breaks, when my thoughts have failed, will You love me still?”

There are many other great songs on this album, including a new version of the Tim Hughes’ song “Everything”, and perhaps my favorite song on the project - “Whatever Comes”, a powerful, energetic song about how we can trust our Sovereign God.

But, to get the full effect of this project, you also really need to take a look at the accompanying DVD. Brian wanted to produce a live recording that placed the musicians and singers among the people and embraced the intimacy and simplicity of a small group while reserving the stage for people to share stories of grace.

The DVD captures all of that, and puts you in the center of it all. Brian says of the DVD, “On the film version you are placed right in the middle of our gathering; you hear and see the music happen all around you. You witness an 8’ by 14’ painting that captures the concept of “level ground” as it emerges. But beyond the music and the painting, perhaps best of all, you get to hear and see the grace stories. For me that’s the highlight of this project.”

Level Ground is a CD/DVD project that you’ll definitely want to pick up, and one that is an excellent tool for your private or corporate times of worship as you celebrate God’s grace and mercy! You can find the complete song list below:

1. Welcome To The Place Of Level Ground (written by Doerksen, Paul Baloche)

2. The Jesus Way (written by Doerksen, Steve Mitchinson)

3. Lifelong Passion (written by Ali Berry)

4. Enter The Rest Of God (written by Doerksen)

5. Everything/God In My Living (written by Tim Hughes)

6. Will You Love Me In The Winter (written by Doerksen)

7. Here Is Love with Give Thanks (written by William Rees, Robert Lowry and Henry Smith)

8. No Condemnation (written by Doerksen, Janz)

9. Giver Of Life (written by Doerksen, Mitchinson)

10. Altar Of Love (written by Doerksen, Mitchinson, Janz)

11. Whatever Comes (written by Doerksen, Mitchinson)

12. Thank You For The Cross (writers Doerksen, Kathryn Scott)

13. First (written by Doerksen)

Level Ground - Brian Doerksen

Review by Barry Westman (review copy of the album provided by Integrity Music)

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Barry Westman

Barry Westman

Barry has served in worship ministry for 20 years, currently serving as Worship Pastor at Bethel Baptist Church in Janesville, Wisconsin. He was born and raised in Minnesota, husband to Tina, and father to three beautiful children - Chad, Emily and Olivia. He usually leads worship from the keyboard and loves to play board games!