Just this past January we got our hands on singer-songwriter Brian Cooney‘s latest single, a special edition of his modern, anthemic piano ballad Nothing Greater, released on Bongo Boy Records. This month he’s back with a full-length project of the same name – the album version of Nothing Greater capitalizes on all of the themes and styles we saw in the single. It’s evocative, soulful, modern, and heartfelt.
Cooney draws heavily from his faith in this project, saying of the album, “These songs emerged at a time when we all needed them. I’m pretty amazed. Heavenly Father you are faithful. Thank you so very much for being a constant source of strength and hope for all of us.”
HERE’S WHAT WE DUG MOST…
Cooney gives us a taste of one of the all-time great musical compositions in his track Amazing, a reimagining of Amazing Grace over plucky electric keys. It’s a wonderfully modern but equally emotional rendition of this timeless tune. This is followed by Healing Love, driven by an angelic lone piano and a bright and impassioned vocal performance from Cooney – it’s perhaps his best on the album. The strings are a great complement to this ballad’s fervent message.
The darker tones of I Am With You gives us a sense of Cooney’s artistic range – this track seems to have notes of soul and even modern blues and jazz. This is only accentuated by the inclusion of the clean tones of the electric guitar and the saxophone that follows, the latter really pushing the track into the jazziest of tones. And we see it again on For The First Time – this is a decidedly pop-rock endeavor, featuring some incredibly pleasing vocal harmonies and a particularly catchy chorus.
Shining on Jerusalem gives us that more classic Christian music sound, with its gentle piano and soft woodwinds. This track in particular shows off Cooney’s lyrical ability, “When the world gets in too close, and the combination rolls, when my heart begins to pound, I feel that blood come pouring down“. It’s poetic and evocative without being overdone – a sign of a skillful songwriter.
We also love the big, anthemic rock sound of Holyman. The heavy vocal effects are a great sonic texture over the relaxed but steadfast beat. Cooney does such an excellent job displaying his artistic range across this album, especially with tracks like this. He works gracefully and effectively outside the lines of traditional Christian music expectations, and it pays off in droves by delivering music that will appeal to a far wider audience than the music of many of his contemporaries will.
OUR FAVORITE TRACK…
We love the funk-rock-inspired endeavor that is Let You In. It’s not a common stylistic choice on faith-based records, but Cooney makes the slap of the bass and the syncopated rhythms feel like an absolutely natural marriage on this track. This is the kind of artistry that the Christian music world needs more of, as it helps to reduce the stigma that religious-inspired music is boring or dull. This number is the complete opposite of that – this is a fun, smooth, energetic track that could get anyone on their feet, regardless of their religious affiliations.
Varied but cohesive, inspiring but grounded, and faith-based but written with wide appeal – Brian Cooney has truly covered his artistic bases on Nothing Greater. This is a great showing of talent and skill in the Christian music genre, but with these track’s high-level production and modern, nuanced stylistic choices that cover such a wide variety of genres, you can be sure that this record will resonate with those far beyond the faith-based-music community.
BELOW: Listen to Nothing Greater and connect with his website and social media platforms. Please support Brian Cooney by visiting him online, and playing, downloading, and/or purchasing his music, or attending a live show! And, as always, thank you for supporting real music!