Brian Cooney’s Nothing Greater album is a lengthy one, clocking in at over an hour and including 15 tracks. Stylistically, Cooney comes off a little like a spiritual Billy “Piano Man” Joel. He sings these songs with a sincere vocal tone, all of which feature overtly Christian lyrics. One of the album’s more notable tracks is “Amazing,” which is a new take on the old hymn “Amazing Grace.” It features a bubbling, slightly funky arrangement. This song is usually sung slower and more solemnly. Yet Cooney puts these lyrics and this familiar melody to a beat, and even takes a few jazzy keyboard solos. It’s definitely different -- but in a good way – from how, say, your grandparents sang it. Sometimes it takes a complete reworking to hear a well-known song with new ears. Speaking of funky, “Let You In” opens with a drum beat before getting into its dance-y groove. Yes, it’s still a worship song; only it celebrates God with what can only be described as a dance beat. Toward the song’s end, Cooney repeats the line, “Dance in the Holy Ghost.” - Piano is Cooney’s primary accompaniment instrument, which is why “Shared Suffering,” the track that closes the album, stands out so distinctly. It’s a slow, worship song directed at Jesus. However, it’s also one that prominently features acoustic guitar. Christian music encompasses all styles of music these days. If you listen to mainstream Christian radio, however, worship music is the most popular style most often found there now. Recordings of these radio songs feature plenty of production bells and whistles. In contrast to that, Cooney’s music sounds downright organic. Although the production values on Nothing Greater are still high, the album doesn’t sound like its production ever trumps the project’s main focus – which is the lyrics and the songs. What’s best about Cooney’s songs is how so often they also feature little jazzy piano solos on them. Sadly, pianists in worship groups are rarely featured stretching out and improvising. With Cooney, however, there is just too much jazziness in his playing style to completely hold back. The solo section in “Holyman” is especially good. Yes, it is a song about how God is better to him, than he is to himself. However, he also expresses this appreciation for his maker by taking little runs on the keyboard. Just as “Let You In” treats worshiping differently, Cooney’s jazz instincts spice up many of his recordings here. One of the album’s longest tracks, “The Only One,” is also one of the collection’s most dramatic pieces. It stresses the point that there never was, and never will be, another one like Jesus. It’s 5:25 long, but there are also a few others that also last over the five-minute mark. - - There is certainly a lot to digest on Brian Cooney’s Nothing Greater album. He has much to share, and the musical talent to create memorable spiritual songs. This album doesn’t quite fit into the oftentimes limiting worship music category. And that’s a good thing. Cooney is too much of an individualist to sit nicely in that cookie cutter stylistic mode. This is his story, and we can all be glad he’s sticking with it. -Dan MacIntosh

Updated: Mar 9

Bongo Boy Records New Album Release ‘Nothing Greater’ by Brian Cooney

Music Review for Brian Cooney's new album "Nothing Greater" (Bongo Boy Records) #christianmusic - The Ark of Music by Just this past January we got our hands on singer-songwriter Brian Cooney‘s latest single, a special edition of his modern, anthemic piano ballad Nothing Greater, released on Bongo Boy Records. This month he’s back with a full-length project of the same name – the album version of Nothing Greater capitalizes on all of the themes and styles we saw in the single. It’s evocative, soulful, modern, and heartfelt.

Cooney draws heavily from his faith in this project, saying of the album, “These songs emerged at a time when we all needed them. I’m pretty amazed. Heavenly Father you are faithful. Thank you so very much for being a constant source of strength and hope for all of us. HERE’S WHAT WE DUG MOST…

Cooney gives us a taste of one of the all-time great musical compositions in his track Amazing, a reimagining of Amazing Grace over plucky electric keys. It’s a wonderfully modern but equally emotional rendition of this timeless tune. This is followed by Healing Love, driven by an angelic lone piano and a bright and impassioned vocal performance from Cooney – it’s perhaps his best on the album. The strings are a great complement to this ballad’s fervent message.

The darker tones of I Am With You gives us a sense of Cooney’s artistic range – this track seems to have notes of soul and even modern blues and jazz. This is only accentuated by the inclusion of the clean tones of the electric guitar and the saxophone that follows, the latter really pushing the track into the jazziest of tones. And we see it again on For The First Time – this is a decidedly pop-rock endeavor, featuring some incredibly pleasing vocal harmonies and a particularly catchy chorus.

Shining on Jerusalem gives us that more classic Christian music sound, with its gentle piano and soft woodwinds. This track in particular shows off Cooney’s lyrical ability, “When the world gets in too close, and the combination rolls, when my heart begins to pound, I feel that blood come pouring down“. It’s poetic and evocative without being overdone – a sign of a skillful songwriter.

We also love the big, anthemic rock sound of Holyman. The heavy vocal effects are a great sonic texture over the relaxed but steadfast beat. Cooney does such an excellent job displaying his artistic range across this album, especially with tracks like this. He works gracefully and effectively outside the lines of traditional Christian music expectations, and it pays off in droves by delivering music that will appeal to a far wider audience than the music of many of his contemporaries will.


We love the funk-rock-inspired endeavor that is Let You In. It’s not a common stylistic choice on faith-based records, but Cooney makes the slap of the bass and the syncopated rhythms feel like an absolutely natural marriage on this track. This is the kind of artistry that the Christian music world needs more of, as it helps to reduce the stigma that religious-inspired music is boring or dull. This number is the complete opposite of that – this is a fun, smooth, energetic track that could get anyone on their feet, regardless of their religious affiliations.


Varied but cohesive, inspiring but grounded, and faith-based but written with wide appeal – Brian Cooney has truly covered his artistic bases on Nothing Greater. This is a great showing of talent and skill in the Christian music genre, but with these track’s high-level production and modern, nuanced stylistic choices that cover such a wide variety of genres, you can be sure that this record will resonate with those far beyond the faith-based-music community.


Powerfully soulful inspiration Brian Cooney – NOTHING GREATER: I was absolutely blown away when I reviewed the single (and title track) for this full album, “Nothing Greater“… Brian pulls in a whole host of players to support his vocals, keyboards, guitars and stunning lyrics.. Neil Cooney: Rhodes and electric guitar on “Shared Suffering”; Ed Nash: guitar on “I Am With You” and bgvs on “Freely Come” and “Nothing Greater”; Michael Strutton: Guitar on “I Am With You” and Richard “Hollywood” Thompson: Tenor Sax on “I Am With You”…

Songs like the 4:10 “I Am With You” display skill and talent that only a few artists (still) have these days… there’s a gentle and lilting feel to the guitars, and Richard’s sax solo just SHIMMERS with life… this song will be getting some HUGE airplay all across the globe!

You will be able to feel the hope that Brian’s stunning vocal passes on to you as he sings “The Only One“… I’m reminded of a friend of mine, Trevis Bick, as I listen to the inspiration Brian conveys through this powerful song. Raw energy on the drum & percussion intro to “Let You In” will help you soar to the stratosphere; one thing I can guarantee – you’ll be UP and DANCIN’ as you listen to this (with your headphones on, of course)! It was one of the shorter tunes that got my vote for personal favorite of the fifteen Brian offers up… his arrangement of “Amazing” is absolutely fantastic, and made my heart smile as I listened to it. I give Brian and all his players a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED rating, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) score of 4.99. Get more information on the Bongo Boy Records page for the release. Rotcod Zzaj

#Powerfully #soulful #inspiration #Brian #Cooney

The new 15 song album is released on Bongo Boy Records, March 2, 2021.


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