From their Christ-centered, God-glorifying lyrics to their uplifting, sometimes upbeat, sometimes ethereal and worshipful, but always ear-catching, soul-stirring sound, Total Surrender’s new CD Heaven just grabbed my heart and wouldn’t let go.
Each song – from the catchy, memorable first track “Lift Up Your Eyes” to the last striking, almost haunting strain of the title track “Heaven” – warmly invited me in, lifted me up, and made me want nothing more than to worship.
Dylan Bradshaw’s vocals blend smoothly and exquisitely with his lovely wife Rachel’s harmonies. As well as being a talented singer and songwriter, Dylan plays the guitar with an easy, natural flair and Rachel’s artistry on the keyboard contributes beautifully to the strong melodies. The focused intensity of Jim Landolphi’s drumming is solid and tight; alternately laid back and energetic, his rhythm is always controlled – perfectly driving the songs. Together, their sound is intricate, elaborate, and sophisticated – praising God together in such a way that you can’t help but be drawn in too.
More to the point, their considerable musical abilities have challenged and encouraged me in my faith to the point that I am forever changed in how I see unbelievers. Since the first time I heard the song “Free,” God has been shaking me up and doing something new. I love all of their music but that song stood toe-to-toe with me, confronted my faith, and said, “Ok, this is all very nice but it’s time to kick things up a few notches.” Lately, the echoes of the chorus run around and reverberate in my head and heart – “do you know… what it’s like… to be free?” Now, everywhere I go I am filled to overflowing with love for everyone I see until my heart feels like it’s going to burst; yet at the same time I’m pierced with a grief so deep I could sit and sob for days knowing that most (if not all) of the people I come in contact with DON’T know what it’s like to be free – because they don’t know Christ. While I’ve always had a desire to see the lost come to faith in Christ, the depth of this ache and passion burning in my heart is new – it keeps bringing me to tears. The songs “Free,” “Wonderful Light,” and “Give It All Away” make me want to run up to every single person I see, wrap my arms around them, and tell them how much Jesus loves them. So I have begun approaching my interactions with others much more prayerfully, asking God for more open doors, and as a result He is providing me with many more opportunities to show His love to others. I’m thankful to Him for using this wonderful music as a catalyst for a closer walk with Jesus.
The poignant melody of the title track Heaven is a vivid reminder that this world is not our home; it has not only further fueled the longing to go home myself one day, but has inspired me to seek and be open to every opportunity to share Christ with others – I am filled with a profound desire to see everyone go home to Heaven.
The songs on Total Surrender’s “Heaven” paint an intimate picture of the love of our Savior, praise God for who He is, serve as a reminder of the glorious homecoming that awaits us beyond this earthly plane, call believers to a deeper relationship with our Heavenly Father, cry out to unbelievers to seek God before it’s too late, and bare the hearts of three very special people whose lives are totally surrendered to Him.