Edinburgh-based worship leader, singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Fiona Crow combines music ministry with her job as a Music Therapist. Fiona is the Worship Pastor at St Mungo's Church (Balerno and Livingston) and also leads worship at events and conferences across the UK. For several years she has written and recorded as part of Elim’s worship collective ‘Elim Sound’ as well releasing albums as a solo artist. Fiona is passionate about the power of music to communicate to the heart of the listener and her prayer is that her music leads others into a deeper encounter with the Father Heart of God.
Masterpiece (2nd Album Launch)
"Masterpiece" release date: 30/11/18
With such a bold title for her second album you could be forgiven for thinking that Fiona is indeed growing in confidence with this new release, building on the success of her 2015 album ‘Made to Love’. The title track ‘Masterpiece’ in fact explores Ephesians 2:10, and echoes the timeless C.S. Lewis quote “We are, not metaphorically, but in very truth, a divine work of art”. Fiona continues to develop her craft as a songwriter for the contemporary church with many of the songs from the album being birthed in the live spontaneous worship at her home church. Fiona continues to write alongside the Elim Sound tribe with Suzanne Hanna and Sam Blake credited as co-writers on this release. In tracks such as “Father Heart”, “Citizen of Heaven” and “Masterpiece” Fiona finds herself neatly in that space between modern worship vocalist and singer-songwriter. “Father Heart” was a souvenir from a recent holiday in Nashville where Fiona paired up with fellow singer-songwriter Shelly Moore to pen a moving exploration of the prodigal son story.
For the first time ever Fiona has included a cover version in a release. Samuel Lane’s “All my love” was recorded as a live video shoot alongside two other tracks. “I wanted this album to feel natural. I wanted it to reflect how I make music week in week out in a live band setting. We recorded ‘in the round’ for the live tracks but we also tracked as a band for the studio songs. It was so much more creative that way”.
Geoff Howlett (Never for Nothing)
Edinburgh-based worship leader, singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Fiona Crow combines music ministry with her job as a Music Therapist. Fiona is the Worship Director at Edinburgh Elim and alongside her bass-playing husband and young family she has served there for over 10 years. This release is the follow up to her 2015 album “Made to Love” and contains 10 tracks. Vocally, Fiona has a touch of Kristene DiMarco about her, while I liken her musical style to that of Manchester’s Krystyna Myles. From the opening “Citizen of Heaven” Fiona’s piano figures prominently throughout the album. “Whole Life Praise” is a touching song about letting your whole life praise the Lord. “All My Love” is quite slow in tempo, but is nicely delivered by Fiona. “Be Moved” and Father Heart” go together quite well, and I particularly enjoyed Scott Macleod’s guitar work on the latter. The title track is, for me, the best song on the album. Production is first class and it really is a “Masterpiece.” Beginning with simple piano phrases, Fiona sings from a deep love in Christ, and celebrates being alive in Him. There’s quite a wealth of good songs here, closing with “Be Still,” a song for soaking in God’s love and presence. Fiona may be a new name to many on the UK scene but this album should see her making positive waves in Christian music. 9/10.
ROB ALLWRIGHT- ONE MAN IN THE MIDDLE
Fiona Crow is a worship leader based out of Edinburgh who combines her worship leading with job as a Music Therapist. She has served in the local Elim Church as Worship Director for the past 10 years and is also involved as a singer and songwriter on the larger Elim Sounds projects bringing new songs to the church. "Masterpiece" is her second solo album following on from realising her dream to record "Made To Love" in 2015.
The album opens with "Citizen of Heaven" which has a light instrumental backing behind Fiona's vocals. The lyrics concentrate on how we are being prepared for our eternity, with the renewing of our mind, recalling God's promises of our future. The bridge ups the ante reminding us of the Corinthians passage that we are meant to be "pressing on towards the prize", this isn't a passive experience. "Whole Life Praise" keeps the simplicity of the backing and it is the vocals that soar in simple praise. This feels like it was written as a congregational praise song and I can imagine this being sung by a congregation rather than just this solo performance. "All My Love" slows down the pace even more as a worship song contemplates God's love and our response. It is another simple little chorus which allows time to focus on Jesus and His call.
The next track up is the beautiful "Be Moved" which was previously featured on "One" the latest album from Elim Sound. This is a song that is fixed in the reality of life, in those moments that are tough when we need to rely on God in our faith just to get through the day. There are echoes of the story of the Prodigal Son in the opening lines of "Father Heart", but this is about the Father's response and welcoming the lost one home. This is all about that welcome that we receive from our loving Father. This track has a lovely duet as it features vocals from Daniel Robinson who she also featured on her first album.
The title track "Masterpiece" is not meant to be a description of this album, instead it's about us as human's being made in God's image. We are God's masterpiece and we should live to reflect His glory. This song really is a beautiful one and once again the music touches are light, which reflects a delicate touch that this album has from start to finish. "Sidelines" is about being active in our Chrstian life, knowing that God is moving and has broken everything that can keep us captive. Our response is to be involved, to seek our destiny and to know that God will not give up until the work He began is completed.
How does God look at us and view us? Well "This King" shows us something of the answer, reminding us that God loves us and sings a love song over us. "At Your Feet" is a track based on Psalm 23, but it is so gentle and soft that you really do get the impression that you could sit at Gods feet while listening to this song. Often songs based on this Psalm are driving forward to the end, to the homecoming, but this has a focus on the stillness and rest that this Psalm discusses. "Be Still" rounds off this album with a similar feeling, with that familiar verse being repeated over us. There is a real peace about the end of this album which is something that so many of us need, to feel the ability to rest and relax in God's presence, because life wants to keep us constantly on the move.
This is an incredibly calming album with gentle, but powerful, verses about who we are in Christ's love and care. It emphasises the faithfulness and trustworthy nature of our God and that we can thank Him and love Him for His awesome power and strength and that we can rest completely in it. I am sure that there is more of her music therapy training in this album than I am able to see. I love the way that this album just rests the vocals on the gentle instrumentation all the way through. The way these are recorded the tracks don't feel like choruses for church, but actually they are very versatile and you could add guitars and they would be ready for congregational singing. I love that this album brings some lovely and simple worship but doesn't rely on repetitive soundbites in order for these songs to be singable.
This is an album that deserves to be heard, if you are looking for gentle reassuring worship then this album delivers that. It's got a lot of depth and character as well as beautiful instrumentation and vocals.
Overall rating 9.1/10