MP3 River - You Remind Me
Contemporary Christian music with an emphasis on great vocals and songs of praise and worship.
11 MP3 Songs
SPIRITUAL: Contemporary Christian, SPIRITUAL: Praise & Worship
River was a successful independent group back when “indy” wasn’t cool. After nearly two decades together as a group, Kurt Linn, Paul Marino and Phil Reesnes have performed over 1300 concerts, garnered no less than seven top 5 Inspirational Radio singles and three top 10 hits, performed a movie theme song, and released ten full-length projects. All without a record label.
”We have had label offers and discussions over the years,” says Phil, “and we partnered with a small label for a season. But honestly, I believe God guided our path in a different direction for a specific purpose.”
Paul concurs. “We always wanted to be an extension of the local churches, and come along side what they already had in place and serve them,” he says. “We felt we needed the freedom to make those kinds of choices.”
Now, more than three years after their last recording, River will release CAUGHT UP IN YOU: Songs of Worship. Featuring ten songs written by Paul (who serves as a writer for Lifeway Worship Music Group), Greg Nelson and Jeremy Johnson, CAUGHT UP IN YOU: Songs of Worship continues to showcase the tight vocal harmonies of the trio, lending their signature sound to dynamic new worship tunes that are already finding their way into church music programs.
“God of Every Generation,” the CD’s first radio single, is being used in a Christmas program featuring American Idol finalist, Mandisa. “Leave Everything Behind” has been featured on the CD that accompanied Beth Moore’s Patriarchs Bible study. And “Near The Cross” was featured on a First Look CD sent by Lifeway to over 6500 churches across the country. With this new CD, those same songs have been given River’s unique musical stamp.
Other songs on the CD such as “In The Ordinary,” “Unashamed,” and the title cut, show an unusual depth of honesty, featuring lyrics that express deep desires, evoking almost psalm-like qualities.
“For nearly 80 years, the church as a whole was more of a praying body than a praising one,” says Paul. “Today, it sometimes seems to be the exact opposite. But I believe there is an in-between stage that we need to experience. Some of the songs on the new CD allow us to praise God, and yet cry out to Him in prayer at the same time. That is a missing element in our corporate worship settings today.”
“Near The Cross” is a personal favorite of the guys. “My heart so desires to be constantly aware of the Cross,” says Kurt, “but I realize I don’t abide there near enough.” Phil agrees. “The first two lines of the second verse bring me a great deal of comfort. ‘Near the cross, a trembling soul, love and mercy found me.’ As broken as we are, God continually pursues us. And it is He who found me, not me who found Him.”
River has always been known for their poignant songs. Industry veteran and long-time radio promoter Wendell Gafford of Creative Promotions says that River made in-roads for many artists early on. “River was one of the first ‘independent’ artists to be accepted on the national radio charts. They had success back in the day when it was almost impossible for unsigned artists to have top 10, let alone, top 5 songs. River truly paved the way for radio stations to start taking independent artists seriously.”
While their national radio successes have been impressive, it has been River’s desire to be an extension of the ministries of local churches that has contributed to their longevity. It also helps that each of these guys are, individually, passionate about evangelism. Kurt is an assistant pastor in California, Phil is a worship leader in his home church in Minnesota, and Paul is a full-time songwriter for Lifeway’s Worship division as well as a sought-after producer. Accountable to an exclusive board of directors for all these years, River has always maintained a servant’s attitude toward their role in concert ministry. And after 18 years, their desire to leave a mark on the places they visit has become priority one.
“We have no desire to just do a concert and move on,” says Paul. “God ordained the local church to be the central place where spiritual needs are met. When we come in, our job is to encourage, uplift and soften the hearts of the people of that church so they will be emboldened to reach out to other people around them. Ultimately, evangelism is a one person show. We affect our neighbors, our family and our co-workers in how we live and what we say and don’t say.”
“Our goal is always to lead people into the presence of God,” says Phil. “It''s powerful to see the audience change from the start of the concert to the end. We try to make our concerts very relational. We have mountain tops and valleys just like everyone else. But at the end of the night, we, ourselves, want to draw closer to Jesus and take the audience there with us.”
After 18 years of recording, touring, and ministering outside the box, the mission statement of River has remained steady and constant. “We have tried our best to serve every church that we enter,” Kurt concludes. “We share our own personal stories, ignite ‘shared experiences’ that resonate with all people, offer heartfelt worship, and present a clear gospel message. And our goal at the end of every event is that folks are walking away saying, ‘This was excellent; this was genuine; lives were touched, and Christ was evident.’”