My Rating: Must Listen! [4.8 / 5]
Meet Austin French - artist, singer, worship leader, father, and free to embrace his God-given calling. Wide Open, the name of his first studio album, is as much his attitude as it is a collection title. Through captivating sounds, passionate vocals, and personal lyrics, Austin engages and encourages listeners across each verse in every track. Wide Open is the story of a life surrendered to the Savior, an inspiring and welcoming must-listen.
"Wide Open" introduces us to Austin's latest, an energetic and welcoming track that immediately captivates listeners. Upbeat guitar and drums drive the melody, while keyboard and subtle electronic chimes accent verses and the bridge. Matthew West joins in the vocals alongside Austin as the artists sing about abandoning oneself and responding to God's calling. "Here I am, send me where You want me to go!" Austin boldly and loudly proclaims across the chorus.
Wide Open is as much about transformation as it is about God's leading. The two themes combine in songs like "Born Again," a massive and motivated gospel-rock fusion that testifies to listeners of how God forgives and cleanses. "Freedom Hymn" celebrates the liberty found in Christ and "Living Proof" is a testimony of the transformation Austin has experienced. There's an undeniable joy in these tracks, sure to encourage listeners.
"I Need A Hallelujah" takes another look at God's provision from a different perspective. Austin wrote this song from a place of conviction-turned-thankfulness, describing a shift in focus from treating God "like a resource" and returning to a place of thankfulness. With the atmosphere of a live worship setting, Austin sings of God's goodness and admits his own failure to remember how He's provided.
Inspired by the struggles of friends and family, Austin tackles one of the hardest questions in history. The necessity of "Why God" is clear in today's chaotic world, a world that prompts Austin's broken questions. Why does God allow suffering, or death, or pain? No amount of piano, strings, or vocals could give a full answer, but Austin does not leave listeners without some sort of resolution. "I don't understand," Austin admits, "but I understand why, God, I need You … why I run to Your arms." This is the song listeners need when all goes wrong - a reminder, an encouraging moment to remember how, amidst pain, God still heals.
Wide Open is a strong milestone for Austin French - a well-written, beautifully crafted album guaranteed to impact listeners. Austin's raw, transparent sincerity and undeniable love for Christ flow throughout each track. With a song for virtually anyone in any moment, Wide Open is set to become a listeners' favorite.