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Check a tombstone and you’ll probably see a birth year, a death year and a line in between them. Mark Harris focuses on that line in his new CD.

Harris — one of the four members of the pop group 4Him — on Tuesday releases his first solo disc, “The Line Between the Two.” It’s songs explore hope, thankfulness, renewal, parenthood and the relationship with God, all things that enhance the time we spend between birth and death.

The songs don’t stray from the up-tempo pop and ballads that characterize 4Him, which shouldn’t be a surprise since Harris is the group’s primary songwriter.

The disc opens with plenty of energy, as “For the First Time” describes eager anticipation of a relationship with God. “Wish You Were Here” is presented as an encouraging message from someone who has gone to heaven to someone they left back on earth.

Most of the songs focus on living life wisely but the title ballad hammers the theme home quite nicely, with Harris’ strong tenor proclaiming: “I’ll live and die just to hear You say, ‘Well done my son come and be with Me.’”

Other solid tracks include the up-tempo “Ordinary Life,” which poses some pointed questions about what’s beyond the here and now. And “Find Your Wings” is a touching message from a father to his child.

Overall, Harris’ disc is a challenge “to love, to shine … to live this life” and his message is quite appealing.

On the Web:www.markharrisonline.com.

Live worship CD releasedJust when live worship CDs appeared to be falling into a rut, Newsong comes to the rescue.

The worship band’s new CD, titled “Rescue,” offers a mix of standards and new music in a well-produced package.

The disc opens with the energetic “Blessed Be Your Name” and rolls into “Psalm 40” and “You Are Holy.” When the tempo does slow in the middle — for “Wonderful Maker” and the classic hymn “How Great Thou Art” — the contrast establishes an awe-filled, contemplative mood. This continues with “Before the Day,” one of the news songs, which is a peaceful view of morning prayer. The tempo starts edging up again with an assertive “Rescue.” The disc wraps up with a wired version of the praise song “My Glorious” and one of the group’s biggest hits “Arise My Love,” an account of the resurrection.

The sound quality is excellent and crowd participation enhances, rather than detracts from the tracks. There are a few brief cases of “artist yakking” — typical in live CDs — but even these add to the overall appeal by explaining the use certain songs.

On the Web:www.newsongonline.com.

Today’s Praise is a roundup of news and reviews from the contemporary Christian music industry.


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