Ryland Russell | Waking up to Dream

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Spiritual: Christian Rock Spiritual: Praise & Worship Moods: Christian
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Waking up to Dream

by Ryland Russell

Waking up to Dream is the sophomore release from worship leader Ryland Russell and is made up of heart-fealt worship tunes and lyrically driven songs.
Genre: Spiritual: Christian Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Waking Up to Dream
4:36 $0.99
2. Anthem
4:11 $0.99
3. Name Be Praised
4:03 $0.99
4. Hymn 126
0:45 $0.99
5. A Thousand Singing
3:55 $0.99
6. Beautiful
3:36 $0.99
7. Made Me Whole
3:35 $0.99
8. You Are Love
4:29 $0.99
9. Walk This Road
3:37 $0.99
10. All I Need
4:04 $0.99
11. This Love
3:26 $0.99
12. Beliefs
4:27 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Waking Up to Dream is a project that was born of the notion that God still works miracles in our lives today. From tracks such as "All I Need" which tells of God using a personal tragedy to remind us of how he provides for us, to "Name Be Praised" which is a worship song proclaiming the power in the names of our Lord. There is the re-arranged "A Thousand Singing" which goes back to the beautiful hymn that is a cornerstone in our faith, to "Beliefs" which explains the small things that Christians argue about. There is truly a song for every taste and style and the prayer for each listener is that you may find words that will guide you in your personal worship of the God who "opens up our eyes to see miracles again."



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The Critic

Sockspider Review
Artwork/Design: 9
Production: 8
Continuity: 4
Sound levels: 7
Songwriting: 8+
Overall Rating: 8
Radio Track: 6
Best Track: All I Need
Website: Ryland Russell

Ryland Russell is a worship team leader from Edmond, Oklahoma. Waking up to Dream is his first solo album. The CD opens with a long instrumental introduction for the title track. The musicianship on the whole album is excellent, and the intro is a good sample of what's to come. Waking up to Dream is a poppy song full of truth and wonder.

Ryland has a lot of natural power in his voice and his vocals are best when that power is restrained and controlled. It's then that has that he has the natural now-sound that you only hear on established labels. Anthem is a pop-praise song, with a recurring chorus that comes across with a bit of a wrong edge vocally. This song is not one of the stronger tracks of the project, and the decision to put it in the second spot is a little confusing. It is probably quite popular sung in church in a live setting, but feels oversung and repetitive here.

Name Be Praised starts out with a great guitar lick that drops to little more than Ryland's voice and a drum which was quite effective, nice production. The instrumentation is again wonderful here, especially the guitar work backing up a vocal that occasionally wanders from the melody. The lyrics are great, giving adoration to the Master, Redeemer, Friend.

The intro to A Thousand Singing is "Hymn #126". It's very clever, introducing his own interpretation with a typical congregational hymn rendition. It will bring many of us back to our childhood, singing along with the great songwriters of the faith. Ryland's interpretation, A Thousand Tongues, is an artsy, Stonehill-ish sprawl showing off a well controlled vocal. It's satisfying and works well, though it's a little like Picasso interpreting Van Gogh.

The best chance for radio play is Track #6, Beautiful. Though it's lyrically less deep than some of the other cuts (All I Need, for example), it has a Chris Tomlin-feel, gentle and passionate. The hook is really catchy, and the lyrics are radio friendly and easy to sing along with. The bridge is unexpected and percussion-heavy, giving it a little more edge.

Getting even edgier is Made Me Whole. Though this album shows off Ryland's ability to write and sing across genres, having variety is great for radio submissions, but for a listener it can sometimes feel a little disjointed. Whole is a good example of that, continuity-wise it might have set better against one of the more rock-influenced tracks instead of between two pop-praise songs.

You are Love is a love song to the Lord, with a vocal full of thankfulness and adoration backed up by an emotional guitar. The guitar is the best part of the song, with a catchy George Harrison-ish guitar that will stick with you long after the song is over. The lead is very good as well. This is the only song with heavy background vocals and they're excellent. There's a female voice set in the background that tempers his lead, making it seem more tender and befitting the lyrics. There is very nice production here, bringing it all together.

Walk This Road asks the important question, "What if today was the day?" It's the first of a block of four songs that are top-notch. Are you ready to meet Jesus? It's a really good question. If we're honest, most of us aren't, even if we're Christians. There's unfinished business, unconfessed sin, and probable regrets. I'm sure this is an excellent closer in concert, bringing the audience to a reflective silence. It's unusual to find an album where the best four songs are also the last four songs. Russell seems to be saving the best for last, or maybe he's feeling comfortable enough at the end to be completely himself.

Tucked way back in the #10 spot is the masterpiece, All I Need. It's a little confusing why this wasn't one of the lead-off songs, as the feel to it comes across as his soul laid bare and his definitive style. Ryland's vocal is excellent here, with a complete and transparent surrender to the Lord. All grapples with the hard questions of the Christian life, when life is difficult and things don't go the easy way. It's a very powerful and moving song, and bears many repeat listenings.

On the heels of the best song of the album is another strong cut, This Love. What fun! As deep and heavy as the previous cut is, this song is light and easy-going. The jazzy, smooth little ditty will have you smiling as you move about. It's a celebration of the freshness and comfort we find in His love. The vocal here uses Ryland's upper ranges and falsetto, and he has just as much power here as in the mid-range. There's even a little scat tagged onto the end.

The album closes with an admonishment for unity in the body of Christ. Beliefs has a full sound, with brass backing up the clear vocal, and a gentle percussion complementing this priceless production. It leaves you thinking, and wanting more of this sound.

As a first solo album, Russell showcases his diversity across many styles. Yet it is those songs that are pure and from the heart that have the most impact. He has a strong enough voice to sing any style, but it is the worship songs that really showcase his talents. As a debut this is a very strong record. His sophomore release will be a must buy as RR settles into his own sound. Waking Up To A Dream is the fulfillment of a believer's reality, that we will one day wake up with Him in Heaven. Singing a new song with Russell in the mean time will fill our present time quite nicely.