There’s evidence that everyone else feels otherwise—he has sold three million records, charted nineteen No. 1 hits, GRAMMY-nominated and won several major Dove Awards—but Jeremy Camp is tired of himself. Not in any self-deprecating way, but in that positive spiritual sense to which we should all aspire. You can hear him working this out on his sixth recording, We Cry Out: The Worship Project.
“It’s common to say, ‘It’s not about me, God. It’s about You.’ Yet I’m really at that point right now,” Jeremy admits. “The Lord says in Jeremiah 29:13, ‘You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.’ But we live in such a distracted society; we let the world’s noise divide our focus and our hearts. Our generation is in desperate need of crying out to God.”
To get himself out of the way, Camp, a rock artist who’s also an ordained minister, makes an intentional return to worship on We Cry Out just as he did for his second album, Carried Me. In this familiar setting, he often steps back from self-written tunes, choosing instead to celebrate and share the latest praise songs by others that have been stirring his own spirit toward revival.
Jeremy explains, “This feels full circle—just coming in to make the record and saying, ‘whatever you want, God.’ A lot of people don’t know that Carried Me was the first project I signed up to do; I was launching as a worship artist. But we ended up debuting with a studio album (Stay), because the content of those original songs related more directly to my personal testimony.” (Camp’s first wife had just passed away months after their wedding when he was 23 years old).
We Cry Out is definitely marked by an air of Spirit-leading at every turn, which results in an easy and rewarding listener experience. Recorded just outside of Nashville with award-winning producer Brown Bannister (Amy Grant, MercyMe), it’s the first all-new set from Jeremy to feature his excellent live band—guitarists Randy Williams and Andy Davis, bassist Walt Smith, drummer Leif Skartland, and keyboard player Jacob Sooter. Their dynamic playing, a confident mix of modern rock and modern worship, flows naturally with their singer’s creative goal here.
“We didn’t want to over think this. It was such a chill project,” Camp says. “I just wanted to be obedient to what God has put on my heart in this time. We had been doing Hillsong’s ‘Mighty to Save’ and Matt Redman’s ‘You Never Let Go’ on tour. I simply asked the band to ‘enter in’ and help me make this an intentionally vertical, corporate worship style album through and through.”
There are two resonant ways to look at the title of We Cry Out. In addition to the aforementioned tracks, audiences will recognize the amped up version of Brenton Brown’s “Everlasting God” (previously recorded by Chris Tomlin) and first single “Jesus Saves” as outward cries for strength and eternal rescue. Most of the other selections are equally passionate declarations of God’s active grace and power, including Jeremy’s emotional take on Desperation Band’s “Overcome” written by Jon Egan.
“When I first heard the song, I thought, ‘I’ve got to record that; it’s getting into my spirit,’” he says. “During the recording, there was a spontaneous moment of worship. The producer raised his hands, and my father was there; he stood up and worshipped. I had to stop singing from all the emotion. We felt God’s Spirit was so thick in that room—and I would never say that lightly.”
Covering Egan’s uplifting song inspired Camp to call and meet the man. In turn, they ended up writing together on “Not Ashamed,” a fist-pumping new anthem with a big chorus that’s already an early favorite among friends. Similarly, Jeremy wrote with Brenton Brown on the title track, a joyful rocker that captures the album’s theme of seeking God’s face and duly responding:
We who called upon Your name cannot be silent / We will praise / We will sing it out / We will cry out to You / Your loving kindness and Your truth / It has delivered us / You have delivered us
Other collaborators on We Cry Out include Matt Maher who helped pen “You Are the Lord” straight from Psalms and Isaiah. The softer, piano-laced tune calls God’s people to raise their voices and features supporting vocals from recording artist Adie, to whom Jeremy has been married for six years; they have two daughters. Adding to the family atmosphere, “The Way” was co-written by Adie’s brother, Brad Peens. With a back-story similar to the late arrival of “There Will Be a Day” on 2008’s GRAMMY nominated album, Speaking Louder than Before, Camp recalls first hearing the song now marked by thundering drums and a South African choir.
“I’m pretty much done with the record when he shares this song, just wanting my opinion of it,” says Jeremy. “I thought it sounded like a worldwide anthem and asked to use it for We Cry Out. It feels like a war song, a cry of God’s glory.”
All creation cries out with longing / with wisdom You always answer / Jesus, You are The Way
We Cry Out closes with two new Jeremy Camp originals that, while indeed personal, really are all about God. “King Jesus” sounds like a future pop/worship classic, victoriously proclaiming with a shout of praise and with our voices raised / One day every knee will bow, behold You in Your glory. “Unrestrained” confirms the unassuming artist’s prayer for himself and all souls:
So take this selfish heart of mine / I want to give it all / And melt away everything that’s not of You / I want to know You more, so much deeper than I do / Completely unrestrained
“That’s where I am today—seeking the face of God,” concludes Jeremy. “I feel like I’ve had a growth spurt the past two years in my walk with the Lord, and I think this album reflects that deepening. There’s a purity behind this record that I can’t even describe. But I didn’t write most of it, so I can’t take the credit. And I love that.”
Everyone else is sure to love We Cry Out: The Worship Project as well.