GUEST REVIEW: “COMING ALIVE” – Dustin Smith (by Cyle Augusta)

If any of you know my wife, it is very much NOT like her to want to review a CD. Last week that all changed, when she asked me if she could be a guest-blogger on my site. This is what inspired her to want to write a review… welcome to my blog, Cyle Augusta!:


It was a normal school morning. Hopping in the van, all three boys buckled in and ready to go. Starting the car, I immediately discovered a new CD in the player. The husband had just returned from a Nashville trip and returned with gifts, so I listened. The CD was on track #6 and the words were “Let the spirit of the Lord come rushing in, rushing in, rushing in…” In a moment we all found ourselves singing – worshiping along. The kids wanted to listen to #6 again. And again. After dropping them off at school, I pulled the CD out to see who it was that had just led worship in our mini-van: Dustin Smith – “Coming Alive,” Integrity Music. We listened to it nonstop in the coming days! We’d repeat on one song until I’d venture to another and – who would’ve known – the next one was just as good!  Every song was just as powerful as the last! 

One of the mornings while driving my boys across the causeway, my mind drifted to being eleven years old. There had been radical changes in my family about five years before when my dad, a touring rock musician – living that lifestyle – with a failing marriage, suddenly found the Lord. Not long after he discovered the joy of worship, then began penning worship songs, & not long after was hired by a local church as their worship pastor. When I was eleven years old,  he was ordained. That was also the year that music licensing came on the scene, and the terms like “CCLI” became commonplace among worship pastors as well as Integrity’s Hosanna tapes.

Hosanna was – in part – a subscription service, which included a box with the audio recording, and accompanying songbook. The collection of corporate worship songs culled specifically for the church. The song books had chord charts and music pages. The tapes were white with simple titles and black text. A few titles I remember; Praise and Honor, Glorify Thy Name, & Arise and Sing. The current tape was in our green station wagon anytime we drove anywhere and stayed til the next one came in the mail. These days are foundational in my love for simple, pure and intimate worship.

Fast forwarding two and a half decades and worship music culture has changed drastically. For me, nothing ever quite compared to those white cassette tapes of raw abandoned worship. Riding in the back seat of the green station wagon listening to Kent Henry lead “I have a Destiny” when those seeds worship were first planted.

Enter “Coming Alive” by Dustin Smith. At first I couldn’t figure out what it was about this collection of music that had me so weepy most of the time. The words are simple, truthful, at times raw – they move from intimate to anthemic and back to declarative worship. Then it came together for me: this music reminded me of those early days of Integrity worship tapes – the simple desire to meet with Jesus through worship and song.

Coming Alive” is a renewal experience. It brings me back to who we are at our most basic, in Christ – who He is in us, & how we can have life in Him. It celebrates what God has done for us, & is doing in & among us. It’s that simplicity that makes it so powerful.

At times I’ve asked myself, “Why do we do this worship thing?” It would be true to say that Dustin’s music has helped answer that question.

I found myself going back to the root of why I love Jesus, and why singing to him is something I’ve got to do. Thank you, Dustin, and thank you Integrity Music for reminding me of that.

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