Connersvine first began when singer songwriter Chris Wilson teamed up with Hunter Smith of the Indianapolis Colts to lead worship for a young adult ministry on the Southside of Indianapolis. Now with their debut, self-titled release on INO Records, the acoustic pair are taking their Christ-centered music to the masses.
The first thing listeners may notice about Connersvine, from the opening track "Glory Be," is a sense of familiarity. While Smith's vocals are strong and emotive, the song's components follow a distinct pop-worship formula popular on radio and even in many churches. The duo's playing instrumentation is solid, but there isn't much about the way they write or play to distinguish their songs from an array of other artists. "Lay Down" feels like a possible Third Day b-side, while "Live For You" offers the kind of by-the-book worship fare with touches of Kutless's worship material and the ever-popular Casting Crowns. In fact, Smith's vocal delivery throughout the record can probably be most often compared to that of Geoff Moore than anyone else. But when the guys do decide to diversify, they're able to touch on a little folk ("Overflow") and a hint of rock, even if it is a bit reminiscent of Lifehouse ("Come Alive").
Connersvine actually seems at their best when keeping things more simple, like with the folksy "Overflow," which also allows the group's vocal strength to show through. When the band's southern roots leak in, it seems to be when they sound most comfortable. "Sacred Mystery" is also among the album's standout moments as it offers a bit of a retro, soulful feel, while the rest of the album doesn't offer much more than slightly above filler material to complete the disc.
Although not much about Connersvine sets them apart from their sea of counterparts, there's a still a passionate display of worship and adoration for their Savior, with hints of potential for greater things to come from the duo in the future. In the meantime, Connersvine are likely to catch the attention of the fans of any of the artists mentioned above as well as appeal to the daytime radio crowd, but for those expecting something a little different or unique, the first release from the pairing of Smith and Wilson probably won't be enough.- Reviewed 10/22/07 by John DiBiase
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