Steven Curtis Chapman

The Glorious Unfolding

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The last time Steven Curtis Chapman released all-new music -- on 2009's Beauty Will Rise -- he was grieving the death of his daughter Maria. With The Glorious Unfolding, the singer is no longer in sackcloth and ashes; in fact, judging by the rollicking "Love Take Me Over," the disc's first single, you could say Chapman has turned the mourning into dancing. In more than one place, the new music is downright joyful ("Something Beautiful"), but this is not to be mistaken for absolute closure. Chapman has retained the singer/songwriter contemplation of Beauty Will Rise ("Sound of Your Voice," "Finish What He Started"), but he has anchored it in resolve, hope, and a renewed sense of faith, which he all but questioned four years ago. Like any parent would, he still reminisces about and looks forward to the day he'll see Maria again ("See You in a Little While," "Michael and Maria"), but there's no fist-shaking in the waiting, only expectation. It's apparent that Chapman's deep love of family may have carried him through, which explains why he also spares no emotion in paying them tribute in ballads that are sure to become wedding staples ("Together," "Only One and Only You"). In all, The Glorious Unfolding is an album of encouragement: Chapman uses it to share some of the answers he is learned along the way, but he neither claims to have left the valley of the shadow nor to have reached the mountaintop. Instead, he's simply taking steps of faith forward, and he wants the listener to join him for the walk.

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