Playing Now: Fresh Start

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If you read my last post, you know that I dedicated an artist spotlight to Ryan Stevenson. I shared two of his recent singles, “The Gospel” and “Eye of the Storm,” as representations of the style and feel you can expect when listening to Stevenson’s music. However, “Eye of the Storm” is only one of many great songs on Stevenson’s most well-known album, Fresh Start (2015).  

As a follow-up, I want to share the 3 songs I think are worth listening to when checking out Ryan Stevenson and Fresh Start (2015) for the first time.

1.  Eye of the Storm (feat. Gabe Real)

“Eye of the Storm” holds a special place in my heart. It is the last song off Fresh Start, and one of my favorites. Ryan Stevenson does not simply sing of a storm—he places his listener in one.  He does this using various sounds—rain pattering, birds chirping, and hand claps. The rain pattering places the listener in a raging storm, the hand claps creating the violent feel of thunder. Despite this “raging storm,” Stevenson’s calm vocals give the listener a peace. It is as if the “storm” is not happening.  This mimics the song’s lyrics, as they proclaim: “in the eye of the storm, You remain in control.” It is a truth Ryan Stevenson sings about throughout the album—God is with you.

2. From the Ground Up (Bonanza)

This track is one of the most personal songs on Fresh Start. In it, Ryan Stevenson takes us on a trip to his hometown. He grew up in Bonanza, Oregon, and gives listeners a peek into his life by highlighting important life events. For example, in the second verse, he speaks of learning to drive: “I learned to drive at 11, out by the sugar beets / My daddy’s 69 brown GMC, stick shift with a bench seat / Hotel California, stuck in the tape deck on repeat.”

Personally, I love this song because it gives me a look into the life of Stevenson. He does not hide anything. Instead, he shares intimate details—from growing up on a dairy farm to losing his mother. Throughout the song, Stevenson affirms that these are the events that made him who he is, singing: “Bonanza, you’re in my blood / This town built me from the ground up.”

By telling his story, Stevenson becomes your friend.  He shows you that everyone has a story. What’s yours?

3. Dare You to Trust My Love

This song immediately draws you in with its catchy beat. But, Stevenson keeps you engaged by rattling off the one idea you may have when it comes to God—you need to please God in order to receive His grace. Throughout the song, Stevenson speaks from God’s point of view, saying:

“You’ve been stuck living underneath the pressure to please me
But you can stop trying to compete for what I’ve given freely.
I dare you to trust my love; I dare you to trust my love
And believe that I can see inside your heart, and I won’t run
My promises I will always keep, you’ve got to believe it.”

For me, it represents an anthem of freedom. By speaking directly to the gnawing fear of rejection, Stevenson immediately dispels it with the truth of God’s unconditional love.

Do you want to hear the rest of Ryan Stevenson’s Fresh Start?

Purchase or stream the full album on Spotify or iTunes

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