CD Reviews

KEN LEHNIG: I Can Hear You Now!

Ken Lehnig’s newest music is a 15-track set of devotional songs, 13 of them originals. I Can Hear You Now! was put together by the same studio crew that has appeared on many of Lehnig’s secular albums, but this time the focus is on Faith, as he is all in on a batch of Christian folk-rock that includes the personal and storytelling tunes he has shown a talent for in the past.

The program starts off with church sing-alongs “Walk Like Paul” and “Get in the Water,” which like most of the rest of the songs here are built on a piano/acoustic guitar framework that have rough-cut, live-in-the-studio sonics that match Lehnig’s highly personal approach. The music isn’t all quiet folk, some of the tunes are presented in full-band, soft rock mode. “Water” contains some confessional lyrics about his days as a drinking sinner, but the focus is on baptism and the renewal it offers.

“I Shall Not Be Moved” is the first cover and is played live, as drums lead the way and Lehnig renews his commitment—it mixes a catchy Gospel hook with plenty of Alleluias. Lehnig, the storyteller, presents the saga of a woman who turns her sinful life around on “Have You Heard,” as he tells her that he’d like to sing “Rock of Ages” with her. “Please Stop By” has a bluesy edge that asks, “Jesus if you’re out there, please stop by.” This is a disc highlight with in a minor mode, beefed up by saxes. Getting back to a personal folk prayer, “Carry Me Lord” is softer with Lehnig in folk mode, soon joined by a choir of backup vocals in a nice buildup.

“Whom He Meets” has the most rocking beat, it almost boogies as he warns of “Monsters on the freeway/ Preachers in the street/ Dancing to a strange beat,” with Lehnig giving a sermon of his own about society’s straying from the narrow path. On “Fine with My Soul” he again sings a blues-rock ballad, with extra texture thanks to sax and harmonica accents; curiously, it’s a dark sounding, ominous tune that is about light and forgiveness. Back to folk with “Brothers and Sisters,” a 3/4 beat is used to preach “Let Jesus soften your heart,” then the other cover wraps the set, “Be There My Vision.” It gives Lehnig a vocal cord workout on a hymn that might be the only spot with organ is the backing, adding a touch of church-spun tradition. The message on Ken Lehnig’s I Can Hear You Now never wavers, but his ways of delivering it touch a lot of musical bases.

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