Music Review: ‘Warr Acres’ by Warr Acres

Title: Warr Acres
Artist: Warr Acres
Genre: Worship/Pop/Rock

iTunes / YouTube / Spotify


  1. Undignified
  2. Sound The Alarm
  3. You Are Joy
  4. Maker of Miracles
  5. Hymn of Remembrance
  6. Shout Your Love
  7. Heaven Bound
  8. Saviour, Crucified
  9. Hold To This Truth
  10. Shadow of The Steeple
  11. Our God Lives

Review: Anyone who knows me, knows how much I love music – and especially how much I love Worship. From the hymns of old that stir the passions and build a solid bedrock, to the intimacy of a Vineyard album, to the all out big style of Hillsongs – and about everything in between (well, with one or two notable exceptions)

I got sent this album to review for the Cross Rhythms website, along with three others, and listened to it pretty soon after opening the jiffy bag.

Just so you’re aware, I hadn’t heard of this band and had done no research at the point of my first hearing it so I didn’t know what to expect and wasn’t anticipating the sounds that burst out, nor the depth of the lyrics that accompanied them.

It didn’t take long to dig out a wealth of information on the group, they’ve got quite a presence in the States and are actually the worship band formerly known as VMusic from Victory Church in Warr Acres, Oklahoma (hence the name). With the addition of some new members, a tweak to a more pop/rock sound, and a more “commercial” image they have recreated themselves as this eclectic mix of tunes with worship still at the core.

When I say”commercial”, that isn’t a negative remark – please don’t get me wrong there! But they’ve shifted from the stage based worship leading image that you see in the VMusic videos on YouTube to the very dramatic and quirky-mainstream style that is visible on their video for Undignified (see the HD link at the top of this article, or the lower res video at the bottom)

So we have here a band that has re-imagined itself, kept it’s core heart of worship oriented music and launched this collection of songs – some that were previously recorded with VMusic and others that are brand new. What is the end result of this?

One word sums it up – WOW!

Seriously, this is a brilliant album that mixes up inward, upward and outwardly focussed lyrics to both build faith, praise our Creator and challenge us to get off our blessed assurances and look beyond the four walls of our churches.

“Undignified” is a rousing opener that leaves you in no doubt as to the passion of the band. The vocals are provided by Dove Award nominee Kristy Starling and the lyrics are a bold declaration of praise and worship. If this song doesn’t get your toes tapping and your head bouncing then you’ve probably not got the volume turned up as there is no way this song can be enjoyed as a passive listener.

“Maker of Miracles” is a wonderful ballad style song but with an uplifting chorus. The words pick up on the life and words of Christ, as well as His promises, bringing a real sense of majesty, awe and hope as the duet of Kristy along with Lael Louthan rings out and surrounds you with a sense of the majesty of the King.

With its catchy and somewhat retro beat, “Heaven Bound” is a great pop track – but don’t make the mistake of dismissing it as a jaunty bubblegum tune as the songwriting passions cut through once again full of scriptural roots, uplifting visions of eternity and the ever-present thick vein of worship that runs through this whole collection of songs.

I could go on and on about the tracks, they are all worthy of mention, but the one I really do need to mention is “Shadow of the steeple”. This is a call to action that leaves you in no doubt of what our call is – to get out and be Jesus to the people around us, on the streets, in our neighbourhoods and in the communities that we live in. Those comfy chairs in our churches suddenly feel rather itchy, those pews are definitely growing thorns as you take in the words of this brilliant song.

I can’t wait to hear more from these folks – I am genuinely excited by what I hear and I cannot stop listening to these songs. Go listen to the album on YouTube, Spotify or Last.Fm and then buy it. You won’t regret it and you may find yourselves being challenged, energised, raised up and drawn closer to God as the passionate heart of the music pumps out your earbuds/speakers/tin-cans.

Score: 5/5

Warr Acres – Undignified

Sore throats, Soaring Spirits and SeeSaw Weather – BCDO Part 2

As the God channel are broadcasting the event this weekend, it seems a fairly good time to finish off my two part Big Church Day Out Diary! The first part was on last night and the 2nd part is on tonight at 9pm. Sky+ it, record it, wheel out the old VHS if you have to – and if you don’t get the God channel quickly get to know someone who does and get them to record it for you – you will not regret it. Anyway, on with the blog…

Heavily laden with chairs, food, drink and more, we set out from our tent on each of the two days to go and pick a decent spot and enjoy what was on offer at the Big Church Day Out 2011. The walk from the campsite to the main stage was not particularly far, but it was across some pretty funky terrain (the campsite had 2″ wide troughs in parallel lines every 6 feet which someone always managed to trip in) and the hill was deceptively steep. The weather didn’t know what it wanted to do, and the winds were especially unkind – with many people ending up with damaged tents, and even one of the main stage banners having come down.

With our territory claimed and marked, we settled in – with each of us wandering off every now and then with the kids, or on our own, just to explore the marketplace and the other activities on offer. Whilst people were still turning up the organisers showcased some of the acts who would be on the UCB Stage or the Tea Tent, with each act getting to perform a song and introduce themselves a bit. This was a great way to drum up interest in the smaller venues and I’ve no doubt that it will have been an effective tool in introducing people to some of the less mainstream artists.

Continue reading “Sore throats, Soaring Spirits and SeeSaw Weather – BCDO Part 2”

We’re going on a Big Day Out… Part 1

For those who were there, either this year or last, the above title will probably have you humming an annoyingly catchy little ditty written by the one-and-only Graham Kendrick as the “un”official theme song for the Big Church Day Out.

Yes I know it’s been a few weeks but life has been really crazy since we got back from our exodus down sarf and I’ve only really started to catch up on all my thoughts – but sit back and let me tell you of miracles, divine intervention, mini-reunions and some of the best Christian music that is out there right now.

For those that don’t know, the Big Church Day Out has just had it’s 2nd annual event in the grounds of Wiston Hall. It’s a family orientated affair featuring a main stage full of the biggest names on the music scene, a second stage featuring lesser known (but not lesser talented!) artists and then a load of activities, stalls, charities and more to ensure that there is no way you can possibly get bored (unless you’re a tired 9 year old boy but that’s a different matter really)

We’d decided, after going to the midlands event last year, that we would take advantage of the free camping offer (due to there NOT being a midlands event this year) and head down for the two day event – figuring that it would be fun camping for the first time as a family and that doing both days would allow us all to enjoy the main artists at least once, making it less of a stress if the kids didn’t want to sit through your favourite artist. My brother was immediately up for it, and we made a last-minute decision to invite one of our daughters best friends (2 teenage girls – was that *really* wise??? read on…)

Continue reading “We’re going on a Big Day Out… Part 1”

29 hours… 3 events… sleep not included

Wow. Simply put… WOW! That one word sums up this weekend pretty well. Of course, another word for the weekend would be “Chaos” or maybe even “Whirlwind” – then there is “MAD”. I’m not complaining – don’t get me wrong – it was a totally stunningly awesome weekend that I 110% loved and don’t regret in any way!

We always knew the weekend was going to be a mad but I don’t think any of us fully appreciated just how much of a rush it would be. So, beginning at the beginning of the weekend as it’s probably the only way I’ll get my thoughts together, here goes an update of life with the Hartleys (and not just us 5)

>> WARNING << This blog post is HUGE! Get a cup of Coffee/Tea before reading it!

Continue reading “29 hours… 3 events… sleep not included”

Dancing without a care in the world!

I’m kinda a spontaneous guy at times (yeah – I have to control things sometimes) and I have to admit that there are times where I will find myself just doing silly jigs at the most weird of times and in the weirdest places.

It’s something that people around me can find (delete as applicable – or not!)
a) embarrassing
b) disturbing
c) cringeworthy
d) a laugh
e) worrying
and probably alot more besides!

Continue reading “Dancing without a care in the world!”