Brandon Heath

What If We

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Were it not for the surprise hit "I'm Not Who I Was," Nashville-based singer/songwriter Brandon Heath would have had trouble getting his underwhelming debut, Don't Get Comfortable, noticed by the masses, let alone garner enough attention to earn him a Dove award for New Artist of the Year -- one of CCM's highest honors. The feat was unexpected, but it appears to have given Heath new traction to go back to basics and focus on what he really is: an unassuming folk-pop tunesmith, much like a young Bebo Norman. The result of that reevaluation is What If We, a disc that expounds on the easygoing nature of "I'm Not Who I Was" and Heath's knack for Everyman observations, which he sets to an uncomplicated, acoustic pop backdrop. Heath's vocal friendliness and melodic pleasantries go a long way in asserting his guy-next-door persona, never more evident than in the delightfully self-effacing "Wait and See," where he openly admits that God "is not finished with me yet." Heath is a fellow traveler, a work in progress, as much in need of divine perspective ("Give Me Your Eyes"), affection ("London"), and a sense of belonging ("When I'm Alone") as the next person. In this sense, Heath is ahead of -- or, depending on one's point of view, behind -- the Christian music contingent that explains away all of life's problems by the end of a three-minute single. As open-ended as its title, What If We is far from having all the answers -- and for that matter, it's all too staid to reinvent the CCM wheel -- but it's likable and faith-assuring enough to further establish Heath as a singer/songwriter on the rise.

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