I expected this to be an uneasy listen. Once I realized Not Ashamed’s “In Spirit and Truth” praises the band’s God, gnawing uneasy chewed on my insides wondering what I’d gotten myself into. I didn’t need to worry, however. Not Ashamed isn’t in the business of saving souls with this track or scolding listeners for living contrary to the Christian faith. The band, instead, has written and recorded a song that fellow believers will hear as a rallying cry and non-believers can enjoy as impassioned self-expression affirming life’s value. It’s also a passionate and musically satisfying performance.
Tony Person’s lead guitar brings gripping physicality to the performance. It starts off with a soothing acoustic jangle, however, accompanied by a single voice. The acoustic guitar remains a presence throughout the entirety of the track and even brings an unexpected percussive element to Not Ashamed’s performance. The steady roll of the song’s drumming gathers more power and impetus as the track progresses until the song assumes grander dimensions than its opening hints at.
Daniel Pentecost’s bagpipes are not a constant presence, but their contributions are transformative in the song’s first half. I hesitated to mention Not Ashamed’s use of the instrument equating it with giving up movie spoilers, but you can scarcely write a review of this single without mentioning the bagpipes. It doesn’t play as some kind of gratuitous touch or gimmick but, instead, brings even deeper personal meaning to the song. The band’s Irish roots shine during those passages.
Jesus said to the woman at the well, “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth” This is a song about that.We would like to …
Their skill with other styles is apparent as well. “In Spirit and Truth” kicks off its musical life as a near folk song with a spartan arrangement and straightforward chords. It’s as convincing as the song’s electric guitar, especially the climactic solo coming in the song’s second part. Tony Person doesn’t go in for anything ostentatious but, instead, dials into the heart of the song’s sentiments and gives passionate voice to those emotions through his instrument.
The band has released a video to go along with the single. In keeping with the ongoing trend in such releases, Not Ashamed has produced a lyric video ideal for either personal viewing or airing in a church and its visuals are suggestive rather than overpowering. The band rightly aims to keep the focus on the song rather than risk diluting its message with eye candy.
Let’s hope they keep writing and recording high-caliber material like this. I love how Not Ashamed makes it a point to build an entertaining musical experience along with spending time honing their message to a sharp edge. They will draw blood unless your heart is made of stone, and they’ll do it without ever making you feel guilty or afraid. Not Ashamed, instead, celebrates the redeeming power of their faith and invites us to share their joy. Packaging it in such an appealing single and video shows how seriously they take their work. You can’t help but respect, if nothing else, someone so obviously committed to making their voices heard in a positive way.