There was a time when Jeremy Camp was considered to be on the leading edge of Christian artists who performed rock music. It seems that either many other artists have caught up to Jeremy Camp or he has mellowed a bit. Whatever the answer is to that question, there is no denying that he continues to be one of the better songwriters on the music scene. His grainy vocals have always seemed to be half proclamation and one-half petition. With Camp’s most recent CD Beyond Measure the winning combination is still intact.
One of the more moving songs on this album is “Feels Like”. Camp sings with conviction, “And it feels like all these tears are coming through, when I think of everything You do,” and later, “You cared enough to take my place/and have given me unending grace/I know that you know my every need that’s my security.”
The growling guitar riffs of Jared Camp and Randy Williams drive “Feels Like”. The song also features a steady backbeat and kick drum courtesy of Josh Freeze.
Guitar strings are less dominant with “When You Are Near” which is a good thing. It presents us with more of an opportunity to appreciate Ron Aniello’s pretty keyboard chops. Aniello provides the perfect comp for the prayer of gratitude lifted heavenward by Camp’s heartfelt vocals. The lyrics are raw as the singer bares his soul.
It is too bad “Give You Glory” fell to the second last slot on this album (11th track). The song is a good worship anthem. It is uncluttered by pounding beats and grinding guitar riffs. The strongest elements are the fine acoustic guitar playing of Andy Dodd and a strong bassline established by David J. Carpenter. I suspect one of the reasons this song works so well is Watts and Dodd also produced the track.
“Give Me Jesus” finally allow us to hear Adie Camp’s backup vocals. We know she appears on some of the other tunes because it says so, however we rarely can hear her above the din of the guitar riffs. Adie Camp’s sweet vocals provide the perfect compliment for her husband Jeremy’s grittier voice. Steve Hindalong and Marc Byrd (both of The Choir) produced this song and it is evident. Although “Give Me Jesus” is not an original composition, Camp did write new arrangements. Of the songs on this CD, “Give Me Jesus” gets the best marks for production.
For the first two thirds of this disc the musicians, with the exception of Aniello, do not distinguish themselves. They put in a solid performance but it gets tiring and you are left asking, ‘Do they have anything else for us to hear?’ The guitar licks never reach the status of some of the better players in the industry such as Becca Barlow (BarlowGirl), Jonny Lang, Jason Roy (Building429) or Jon Neufeld (Starfield). Instrumentally two of the better tracks on the album are the last two, “Give You Glory” and “Give Me Jesus”.
With no less than eight producers for Beyond Measure, I was looking for more creativity. Seldom do the producers achieve the same standard that Camp set with his excellent songwriting.
Copyright © 2006 Joe Montague, exclusive rights reserved. This material may not be redistributed without prior written permission from Joe Montague. Joe Montague is an internationally published freelance journalist / photographer.