Overall, New Creation is an album for the modern Christian man; sensitive but strong, not afraid to rock out, or dig a delicate ballad.
Some albums are released at such a pivotal time in your life, it’s hard to separate the music from the memories.
As a 15-year-old kid, going to youth was a completely different experience than a Sunday morning church service. Church worship services can be excruciating for kids; wearing uncomfortable Sunday clothes, sitting in thinly padded pews crossing off each item in the bulletin as my teenage stomach grumbled and the pastor callously droned on. But youth group was different. We wore baggy 90’s shirts with our jeans falling off our butts (as was the style at the time).
The large youth Sunday school room itself was dark and atmospheric on Thursday nights. There was electricity in the air and no shortage of Axe body spray thanks to fact that there could be teenage girls in our same vicinity.
The biggest change was hearing a message preached by a charismatic, young youth pastor who used pop-culture allegories from The Lord of the Rings and Braveheart.
It was during this pivotal time of discovering my own personal relationship with Christ that I also discovered Third Day.
Songs like ‘Show me your Glory’ and Third Day’s rendition of ‘God of Wonders’ are forever synonymous with the youth retreat I wept openly during worship. The scriptures came alive alongside video clips of Mel Gibson’s William Wallace in blue warpaint, but my worship came alive alongside Mac Powell.
I followed Third Day ever since, with Powell’s gravelly baritone and southern twang emanating an idea that a Christian guy didn’t have to be a pushover, but a man who grows a beard, or wears his hair long and isn’t afraid to talk about his love for Jesus.
Now, nearly 20 years later, Mac Powell, popped up on my Spotify app with a newly released album, New Creation.
Gone is the long hair, but the beard remains, shot through with a distinguished grey marking the passage of time since their meteoric rise in the Christian music scene nearly 30 years ago.
Powell, now simply going under his own name since Third Day disbanded in 2018, brings his signature voice and Southern down-to-earth charm to 10 new tracks.
There might not be as much alt-rock as an early Third Day album, but Powell’s more Country sound has aged alongside my own music preferences. There’s something so undeniably comforting and wholesome about southern gospel. That’s not to say Powell’s lost his rock sensibilities, tracks like ‘River of Life’ and ‘1991’ are bumpin’ with pounding drums and electric guitars as he sings of his conversion in ‘1991’ when he was “running from God and breaking momma’s heart.”
However, “worn out and tired, from all the miles I had run,” he walked into a church and had a God encounter.
“Same old truth but it felt new,” he sings, of his conversion.
That’s the same experience I had first listening to Powell in 2003, the same Gospel preached on Sunday morning suddenly came alive in that dark youth room on Thursday nights. I think that’s the beauty of worshipping a living God and enjoying a personal relationship with a personal savior, your faith is intimate and individual as well as strengthened by corporate worship.
Listening to New Creation at 33 years old, all those feelings come rushing back. Thank God He got a hold of Powell and his voice because he’s been reaching guys like me since frosted tips were in style.
Elsewhere, ‘Love Is The Reason’ is a heart-wrenching ballad that left me fighting back the tears while I washed the dishes. Thankfully tough guys like us aren’t embarrassed to tear up from time to time.
As Powell sings, love is strong and kind, like good Christian men. But love also comes with a high cost.
“Love will go the extra mile
It ain’t scared to pay the price
Love will always sacrifice.”
New Creation is an album for the modern Christian man; sensitive and tough, rock-and-roll and delicate piano, with every line infused with an authentic Gospel message; same old truth that suddenly feels new again.