REVIEW: Selah – Unbreakable

Producer:  Jason Kyle Saetveit, Todd Smith, Allan Hall, David Thulin, Scott Cash, and Charlie Peacock
Label:  Curb Records

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 Tackling a Selah review is always a journey of emotions for me.  Their handling of time-honored classic hymns always moves me and the way they tackle arrangements for the songs they record always leaves me breathless.  The songs they choose to record always seem to come from a deep and meaningful place.  I wish Southern Gospel would discover Selah…their music really compliments and lends itself to our genre and they sing songs with similar themes that you find in Southern Gospel.  Featuring the powerful vocals of Todd Smith and Amy Perry along with as the piano and vocal artistry of Allan Hall, fans of the Martins, Sisters, Nelons, Hoppers, Hoskins Family, etc. would really love this group and this recording.

The recording starts out with Amy singing the classic, “GOT ANY RIVERS” before flowing into “CARRY YOU”, which features Todd.  The tempo picks up for the pop infused title song, “UNBREAKABLE”, reminding us that His love is “unbreakable, unmovable…unchangeable, unshakeable”.

The crowning jewel of the recording is the dramatic, “I GOT SAVED”.  This is the testimony of every believer…”I’m undone by the mercy of Jesus, I’m undone by the goodness of the Lord, I’m restored and made right, He got a hold of my life, I’ve got Jesus, how could I want more?”.  Todd jubilantly sings this anthem and Southern Gospel fans would be all over this song…I wish they’d release this to SG radio and introduce our genre to their music.

Amy steps up to sing the Adele flavored anthem, “SET FREE” and it fits Amy’s groovy style perfectly and shows that Adele ain’t got nothing on Amy Perry!  A unique fusion of 2 classics, “HE LIVES” and “BECAUSE HE LIVES” follows and features both Todd and Amy.

Allan steps up to the mic for a cover of Point of Grace’s early hit, “JESUS WILL STILL BE THERE”.  Allan’s vocal delivery was perfect for this song and conveys the wonderful message that through all the blows life may send our way, “Jesus will still be there, His love will never change, sure as a steady rain…He’ll still be loving you, when it looks like you’ve lost it all and you haven’t got a prayer, Jesus will still be there”.  It’s definitely one of the highlights of the recording.

On every Selah recording, Todd goes back to his roots as a missionary’s kid in the Congo and records a song in the native language of the Congolese people.  They do a great job and seem to have a lot of fun with “THIS LITTLE LIGHT OF MINE (HE WILL SHINE)”.

The tempo slows down for a trio of deep, meaningful tunes.  “PEOPLE OF THE CROSS”, featuring Todd, was a song inspired by the Egyptian Christians who were murdered by ISIS and the song is dedicated to those who are martyred for Christ’s sake…”We are the people of the cross, we choose Christ and count all else as lost, we won’t be shaken, hope won’t be taken, we are the people of the cross”.  The honest song of praise “LORD, I TRUST YOU” follows and declares, “Be glorified regardless of the cost, be magnified whether joy or loss…help me go wherever You will lead, do with me whatever You would please, Lord, I trust You!”  Amy steps back up to sing the emotionally tinged, “BROKEN LADDERS” as she shows her vulnerability in the song by declaring that Christ isn’t looking for perfection and to keep our eyes focused on Him…”All You ever wanted was my heart…To You that’s all that really matters, why do I feel I have to reach, believe I have to rise, when You never said I had to climb these broken ladders”.  An absolutely beautiful song written from a unique perspective.

The recording closes out with 3 spectacular renditions of great hymns…”IN THE SWEET BY AND BY” features a Scottish/Irish feel, the fun, gospel feel of, “SWING LOW, SWEET CHARIOT” coupled with “I’LL FLY AWAY” features some dynamic vocalization and is a highlight of the recording before winding down with “LEANING ON THE EVERLASTING ARMS” featuring famed guitarist Ron Block (Allison Krause & Union Station) and each member of Selah taking a verse.  The beauty of the final song is its pure simplicity with just vocals and guitar, which will leave you absolutely breathless!

One thing I love about Selah’s recordings is they always include some written dialogue about each song, detailing why they recorded it, what it means to them, historical info, etc.  I really love reading that kind of stuff and glad they have continued doing so with every recording.  I don’t think Selah can make a bad recording.  Their last mainline release in 2014 basically set the bar for every other Selah recording going forward, and while this was an outstanding recording filled with tremendous songs sung in a way that reaches deep inside your gut, it’s not quite to the level of You Amaze Us.  But truthfully, I can’t find any flaws here either.  I miss the overabundance of power ballads and grittiness that filled You Amaze Us; but they still utilize the formula that works for them…new songs with deep, meaningful lyrics, excellently arranged hymns,  updated renditions of cover tunes, emotionally tinged vocals, quality musicianship and a stellar finished product all go into making Selah…Unbreakable!


Track Listing:
(stars denote personal favorites)

1 – Got Any Rivers / Carry You
2 – Unbreakable**
3 – I Got Saved**
4 – Set Free**
5 – He Lives / Because He Lives
6 – Jesus Will Still Be There**
7 – This Little Light of Mine (He Will Shine)
8 – People of the Cross**
9 – Lord, I Trust You**
10 – Broken Ladders
11 – In the Sweet By and By**
12 – Swing Low, Sweet Chariot / I’ll Fly Away**
13 – Leaning on the Everlasting Arms**



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James Hales

James Hales, from Durham, North Carolina, has been a writer for since 2000. James is our featured reviewer and also contributes to monthly features periodically.
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