Words by Sam Robinson
Dustin Kensrue is gifted in his ability to write and create music under different styles and genres that is still loved by the same fans the world over. In the last five years, Kensrue has made raucous rock with Thrice, music fit for a church congregation (read our interview with Dustin about 2013 album The Water and the Blood), and worship music under The Modern Post moniker.
In April this year, Kensrue’s latest solo album Carry the Fire dropped (read our 4.5 star review here). Written and released following Kensrue’s departure from Mars Hill Church, the album contains deep questions about who we are as humans, quite personal lyrics, and delightful arrangements that span an array of genres. Something I noted when reviewing the album was the many contrasts on this record – light and darkness, warmth and coldness, real and fake love, joy and grief.
It’s an album that has touched many of you in 2015. Hundreds of votes were cast from all around the world in our Readers’ Poll, and Carry the Fire was voted your favourite album. Here’s what some of you said about why you loved Carry the Fire so much:
‘A captivating meditation on sin, grace, darkness and beauty.’
‘What a great album that boldly proclaims his love for his wife and tells the story of a man’s spiritual journey on a deeper level.’
‘Great songwriting, fantastic singer. All around great album’
‘Dustin Kensrue’s Carry The Fire was my favorite album of the year… because when I say I heard it… I really heard it. Since the week it was released I listen to it constantly! It’s a work of art. And listening to his commentary makes it all the better!! It’s not just the best of the year, but will go down in my book as one of my forever favorite albums.’
‘Dustin Kensrue is one of the most heartfelt musicians and lyricists of our time.’
‘Carry the Fire has both ominous and joyous themes woven throughout the album, with multiple extraordinary songs. Dustin Kensrue is my hero. <3’
‘Dustin Kensrue’s Carry the Fire was the big winner for me. His songwriting has always been able to capture deep elements of the faith and cast them in winsome lyrics. He is increasingly coming up with more and more amazing metaphors and it’s a thrill to watch him hone his craft. CTF took it to a whole new level. His song Gallows was a mind-blowing, surprising use of metaphor. There’s Something Dark Inside of Me was a perfect description of the human condition that hits me like a ton of bricks every time I hear it. And there could not be a more fitting song for 2015 than What Beautiful Things.’
‘It’s a wonderful album from start to finish that accurately depicts every facet of life from happiness to sorrow to loneliness. And Dustin’s voice is just breathtakingly beautiful that I can’t help but get a little emotional during Of Crows and Crowns.’
‘Combining spiritually compelling lyrics, love songs, and cultural commentary all in one rock album that covers the spectrum of the rock genre… What’s not to love?’
‘I really enjoy his sound and like playing them myself on guitar which is cool.’
‘Never before has a solo record inspired me so much as to name my firstborn son after the great man; Dustin Kensrue (and he knows, we discussed it in Glasgow, May 2015)’
Thanks to everyone who voted, and congratulations to Dustin Kensrue for Carry the Fire, the 2015 Reel Gospel Readers’ Album of the Year.
Reel Gospel Readers’ Top Six Albums of 2015
- Dustin Kensrue – Carry the Fire
- Ghost Ship – Costly
- Sufjan Stevens – Carrie & Lowell
- Emery – You Were Never Alone
- JGivens – Fly Exam
- J.Han – Tower Ivory
Carry the Fire by Dustin Kensrue is available now on iTunes. Click here to read our review of the album. Keep an eye out in the coming days as we reveal our team’s picks, as we announce the Reel Gospel Film and Album of the Year.