Magazines 2023 Jan - Feb Come Awake, Different Now

Come Awake, Different Now

22 December 2022 By Adena Lowry

An extended review of two music recordings (from 2021 and 2022) by Jon Buller

Note: Our print issue contains a shorter version of this review. Faith Today welcomes your thoughts on any of our reviews. We also welcome suggestions of other Canadian Christian books to review: Contact us.

Hear the Music Productions. $15 (MP3 $10)

Jon Buller is one of the Canadian artists who in recent decades have paved paths and opened doors for Contemporary Christian Music, who have shown younger Christian artists how it’s possible to have a successful and fulfilling career that makes a difference for God.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, he felt God calling him to return – after a 10-year-absence – to the recording side of music. He wrote more new music during this time than he did in the past decade, which had been devoted to being a church musician in Vernon, B.C., and a mentor to others.

He is now releasing two albums of this new music with the intention of encouraging hope in the hearts of Christians in Canada.

Buller’s goal has always been to make a difference through his music, and his approach has often been joyful in tone. His new albums, released in late 2021 and late 2022, have a mix of styles but are united by that joy.

The 2021 album Come Awake has already gained recognition and celebration. It’s an acoustic collection of nine songs released on iTunes and Spotify and available from his website. It was recorded at the new Farmhouse Music Studio, which is literally a farmhouse set in the countryside of Vernon, B.C.

The project was inspired by a vision God gave to Buller. He was struggling with sleep apnea, a dangerous disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. The album title Come Awake emerged from this experience, as Buller felt a new awakening to hope and thankfulness.

Songs like “Thankful” and “Blessed” also speak directly to our experiences of having gone through the pandemic, racial injustices and political strife. They are a reminder that even though we have experienced troubled times, we still have a good God who is continually moving and working amid our trials.

Listeners are reminded to keep their focus on God. In the song “Running” we are to ascertain our identity in Christ and the grounding of who we are truly meant to be.

Many songs will take listeners on a journey with a varying range of upbeat and melancholy melodies, and some folksy and homey storytelling tunes. Alongside his raw acoustic guitar, Buller has included the lyrical and harmonic violin, and rich and vibrant cello. With the use of soft swishing brushes on a simple snare drum, many of his songs have a jazzy yet ballad-like tone to them.

The second new album Different Now released in November 2022. This project was recorded in Vancouver at Whitewater Productions. There are 11 songs about the fact that the world has changed, maybe for the better, maybe not.

The title track “Different Now” encourages listeners to become something more than they were before the pandemic, something better, knowing that God has brought them through. “In the Light” and “Do it Again” are more subdued songs reassuring us of God’s promises and faithfulness, which are poured into Jon Buller’s music.

The final song “Guiding Light” leaves listeners with the hope we have in Jesus. The simplicity of a single guitar and Buller’s voice gives us the confidence that God is with us, and we have this hope – we will find our way home.

From beginning to end, this album delivers both peace and thankfulness. It is like taking a deep breath in with a long, controlled exhale. Each song lifts your spirit and encourages your heart to praise and to give glory to God.

If worship is meant to realign us with who God is and who we are in relation to Him, then this album will definitely help audiences feel connected to the One who loves them. Jon Buller’s pleasant voice and eclectic songwriting will have you tapping your toes and feeling a sense of joy. 

His music gives perspective to God’s goodness and kindness. The adage “well worth the wait” certainly applies to both albums.

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