Brad Hooks
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Brad Hooks

Los Angeles, California, United States

Los Angeles, California, United States
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"Brad Hooks "Hymnastics""

“Hymnastics is a pure pop lover’s Hymn project and it establishes Hooks as a talent to watch.”

http://web.mac.com/cmspro/Worship_Musician!_Magazine/Home.html
- Worship Musician Magazine


"Hymnastics - Brad Hooks"

“[Brad Hooks’] production is very well done and… features a variety of instrumental sounds coming in and out of the mix, and in original and fresh combinations. The arrangements work really well. "O How I Love Jesus" is infectious. The dreamy, ethereal arrangement of "I Have Decided to Follow Jesus" is beautiful.”

Quick Tip: Fresh, electronic, creative arrangements of classic hymns.

Worship leader Brad Hooks has entered his own offering to the fray of classic hymn attempts, with the wittily titled CD Hymnastics. The spin on this release is that the artist has performed a majority of the parts on the record himself, and has made significant use of loops and sequencing in the process of recording the songs. He has also contributed two original songs to the project, which integrate seamlessly with the hymns. The general tone of the album is bright electro-pop, but not brazenly so; think Postal Service or Sigur Ros more than Miley Cyrus. The production is very well done and intriguing to listen to-songs often feature a variety of instrumental sounds coming in and out of the mix, and in original and fresh combinations.



The arrangements work really well in some places-the Philip Glass-like "O How I Love Jesus" is very infectious. The dreamy, ethereal arrangement of "I Have Decided to Follow Jesus" is beautiful, and the arrangement of the "Doxology" offers a nice alternative to the David Crowder Band. In some cases, however, the perkiness of the arrangements seems inconsistent with the depth of the words. For example, the imagery of "Jesus Paid It All" gets somewhat lost in the finger snaps and monochrome Casio synthesizers which would sound more at home in the dressing rooms at Abercrombie and Fitch. This doesn't happen frequently, though.

It should be mentioned that it might be difficult to recreate the arrangements in a live worship context without extensive pre-recording and playing to click tracks-the arrangements are heavily layered and depend on their density to come across effectively. The effort would be worth it though, as I believe congregants at a cutting-edge church would strongly connect with the more outstanding arrangements and the original songs.

Play List: "Doxology," "O How I Love Jesus," "All Blessing"

http://www.worshipleader.com/index.cfm?tdc=dsp&page=reviews_detail&rid=236
- Worship Leader Magazine


"Hymnastics"

"Hooks succeeds admirably in updating hymns like no one before him."

If Hymnastics by Brad Hooks makes you think of gymnastics your thought matches the cover design, which includes sketches of gymnasts in various poses. Maybe it's a reflection of Hooks' acrobatic maneuvers with some of Christendom's most venerated texts. He puts these verses through widely creative and intricate contortions along the lines of Sufjan Stevens minus the horns. His use of programming and modern beats reminds me of David Crowder.

As a singer, he covers a wide range. One moment his falsetto sounds like Brit-rock; the next he is warbling (and whistling) like Andrew Bird.

Hooks succeeds admirably in updating hymns like no one before him. He also adds a couple of excellent original songs that fall in the contemporary worship category. Chris Tomlin should checkout "All Blessing" for one of his future releases.

For a generation that doesn't know or appreciate hymns the last thing you want is for them to sound dated. Hooks' attention to detail keeps that from happening. He infuses these classics with a fresh vigor by varying the music styles, which makes this fascinating and anything but boring. Some songs get a radical makeover with new melodies and even added words.

The most traditional sounding is "Blessed Assurance," which relies on keyboards that fluctuate between more and less. It feels like the right touch for this dearly-loved composition from Fanny Crosby, who though blind could see more than many who have sight.

Getting back to the gymnastic analogy, this isn't just a fun exercise. It breathes a spirit of worship, which is what these songs have always been about. They are not diminished by Hooks innovative production, just reinterpreted for new listeners.

Hooks has the talent to make this a series, but he also demonstrates proficiency in modern worship. He serves as the music director for Calvary Chapel Montebello and tours as a worship artist. It will be interesting to see what he does next.

I like hymn releases because I enjoy new versions of these classics. From my growing collection, I can't think of any that sound more modern, original and creative than this.

Michael Dalton
January 23, 2010

http://www.tollbooth.org/2010/reviews/bhooks.html
- Phantom Toll Booth


"Hymnastics Rating 4.5 out of 5"

“[Hooks] has successfully married two words that have not been together for what seems an eternity… “catchy” and “worship.” [He] has made worship music fun and serious at the same time. Without a doubt, Hymnastics is the best album to grace the Christian worship music scene in the past years.”

Brad Hooks has done what many have been clamoring for, but no one has had the guts to do. He has successfully married two words that have not been together for what seems an eternity. These two words are “catchy” and “worship.” Yes, I assert that Brad Hooks has made worship music fun and serious at the same time. Gone are the days of super-serious U2 textures, and here are memorable melodies that cause people to get up and dance for the Lord.

“Doxology” starts off Hymnastics a slow, but it sets the serious tone of the lyrics. “Oh How I Love Jesus” is far and away one of the best worship songs I have heard in ages mainly because it has a catchy melody that will stick in your head, and it mixes slow and fast dynamics. “Jesus Paid It All” continues with the styling of the previous track, and is a gem in its own right.

“Be Thou My Vision”: bet you never thought you would see such a classic hymn brought to new life. Well that is exactly what Mr. Hooks manages. “Faith Is The Victory” touts one of the best messages to grace a worship album. Hooks discusses the need for the Church to come together as a collective whole despite affiliation differences.

“I Need Thee Every Hour” continues Mr. Hooks tradition of making catchy worship music by providing the most upbeat and guitar oriented track on Hymnastics. “I Have Decided To Follow Jesus” breaks new barriers by providing a single acoustic guitar for the majority of the track. Most worship leaders turn away from this approach, but I believe it heightens the seriousness and effect of the song for the better. Finally, “When We All Get To Heaven” is a proper ending to Hymnastics: catchy and calculated pop-worship.

Mr. Hooks is a master of creating hooks for worship music. Without a doubt, Hymnastics is the best album to grace the Christian worship music scene in the past years. The beauty of Hymnastics is its perfect blend of serious lyrics and catchy melodies. Brad Hooks makes serious worship fun. I wish he could lead worship at my church.

http://www.thechristianmanifesto.com/index.php/2009/12/29/music-review-hymnastics/
- The Christian Manifesto


"Brad Hooks: Hymnastics"

"I'm actually surprised how much I like [Brad Hooks’] renditions of the classical hymns. Simple beats, whimsically pure melodies and a cornucopia of musical sounds really drew me in."

Hailing originally from Charlotte, North Carolina, Brad Hooks Hymnastics is the second full release for this aspiring worship artist. Despite the capricious "deer in the headlights" picture of him on the front of the album, Brad appears to be quite intuitive when it comes to finding a neat little niche for his musical talents.

Brad combines his creativity and unique sound and applies it to hymns that are quickly disappearing from our churches. Now, before you start quoting Ecclesiastes about how there are seasons that come and go, I am of the belief we can't simply classify these theologically and doctrinally rich hymns as "old" and put them away in the attic. If we enjoy and continue to read classics like C.S. Lewis, why would we treat Horatio Spafford any differently?

Getting back to Brad as I come down from that soapbox, I'm actually surprised how much I like his renditions of the classical hymns. Simple beats, whimsically pure melodies and a cornucopia of musical sounds really drew me in. Picture Jars of Clay's Redemption Songs but more relaxed in execution.

My fear is Brad's release won't make any headlines or garner enough accolades to grace any magazine covers. That's a shame -- it deserves attention. Hopefully that's what you're giving it -- right now.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

http://youth.ag.org/index.cfm?targetBay=dc5bc32a-70dd-4984-8eea-c735d0ff72cf&ModID=2&Process=DisplayArticle&RSS_RSSContentID=14203&RSS_OriginatingChannelID=1194&RSS_OriginatingRSSFeedID=3475&RSS_Source=
- National Youth Ministries


"Rating 3.5 out of 4"

“Hymnastics is a modern retelling of some of the Church’s most prized possessions – hymns. Hooks’ two brand new tunes, “Into the Quiet Place” and “All Blessing” fit alongside these remakes nicely and show that Hooks has great potential as a worship leader. “

Brad Hooks is an indie singer/songwriter based out of Los Angeles, California. He recently took the position as worship leader at Calvary Chapel Montebello where he has been honing his skills as a vocalist, writer, and ministry leader. Hymnastics - his latest release - was birthed out of a quite time playing around on his guitar with some friends and playing around with a new melody he heard in his head. Brad took that concept and laid the foundation for what would be this release - a modern retelling of some of the Church’s most prized possessions - hymns. Hymnastics - musically - is a hodge podge of styles - taking on everything from a basic singer/songwriter folk style to songs with elements of digital and electronic music, modern rock, and pop. “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus” has a nice, atmospheric accompaniment coupled with layers of Hooks’ own vocals - a nice tribute to the old hymn. “When We All Get To Heaven” has a much more laid back, adult contemporary approach, whereas “Doxology” is much more suited for fans of folky singer/songwriters like Bebo Norman or Jadon Lavik. “Jesus Paid It All” is founded on electronic elements that gives the song a different feel than expected. “Faith Is the Victory” even sees the worship trying on hip hop for size. It’s a different feel - and I’m not sure one that was especially needed to make this album work. Some of these hymns are given a complete facelift - where very few elements are left as originally intended. Songs like “O How I Love Jesus” and “Jesus Paid It All” get different melodies all together, while other songs like “Blessed Assurance” and “Be Thou My Vision” only see minor chord changes. Brad’s real big misstep is on “I Need Thee Every Hour” - turning what was an impassioned plea of a song into nothing more than an over produced electronica fueled pop song. This version just doesn’t work - as Hooks’ great melody and fun pop arrangement don’t match the depth and hunger found in the verses of the beloved hymn. Other than that one blunder, Hymnastics works on many levels. Hooks’ two brand new tunes, “Into the Quiet Place” and “All Blessing” fit alongside these remakes nicely and show that Hooks has great potential as a worship leader. Hymnastics may not be for everyone, but those looking for a modern telling of these hymns will find a lot to like with this release.

http://thebridgelive.net/index/reviews/comments/1210/
- The Bridge Live


"Rating 4 out of 5"

“Fans of creative troubadours the like of Phil Wickham, Aaron Shust, Andrew Peterson and Bebo Norman would be doing themselves a favor by checking out Hymnastics.”


Californian Brad Hooks, self-described leader of a “worship-focused ministry team,” tries his hand at recasting traditional hymns into a contemporary frame with the release of his second album Hymnastics. Hooks states. “(T)hat this is not your typical hymns remake record. This is something drastically fresh and yet totally worshipful.” Though he didn’t write the (original) songs, he rewrites their music. And for the most part he succeeds.

Hymnastics features 10 “remakes” as well as 2 original songs. These “fresh” re-imagings work best when Hooks sticks to alternative and adult contemporary- influenced pop expression. Hooks’ vocals are reminiscent of Barry Manilow at the height of his popularity (don’t laugh- Mr. “Chairman of the Board” Sinatra gave his personal endorsement to the exceptionally talented Mr. Manilow). His renditions of “Oh How I Love Jesus,” Blessed Assurance,” and “Be Thou My Vision” evoke musical comparisons to Coldplay, Maroon 5 and Josh Groban. “All Blessing,” one of the two original compositions, is a standout track that demonstrates Hooks’ legitimacy as a songwriter.

Fans of creative troubadours the like of Phil Wickham, Aaron Shust, Andrew Peterson and Bebo Norman would be doing themselves a favor by checking out Hymnastics.

http://www.newreleasetuesday.com/albumdetail.php?album_id=8479#reviews
- New Release Tuesday


Discography

Hymnastics (2009) – an eclectic, worshipful and surprising hymns remake record; includes 2 original worship songs All Blessing and Into the Quiet Place; When We All Get to Heaven is currently the theme song for Calvary Chapel Montebello’s radio program on KWAVE

Jesus With Us (2007) – all original worship record

Dying In A Daydream EP (2005)

Caterfly EP (2003)

Photos

Bio

A classically trained pianist and worship leader of 15 years, 28-year-old Hooks was born in the southern-fried metropolis of Charlotte, NC. At age 12, his family moved to San Francisco where they founded a church and rehabilitation center in the city’s Tenderloin District, an area of town known mostly for drugs, prostitution and homelessness. Barely a teenager, Brad began leading worship for his family’s primarily homeless congregation, which soon became known as the Hot Dog Church due to its feeding program that served - you guessed it - hot dogs.

At age 15, with his baritone vocals and powerful piano, the wide-eyed, redheaded teenager initiated the award-winning band Caterfly, which toured during Brad's high school and college years. A versatile group, Caterfly both performed original songs as well as led worship for youth groups, church conventions, and multi-denominational gatherings. It was during this time that their song "Learn" became a local radio hit on San Francisco’s The Bridge 100.7FM.

Brad married and moved to Santa Barbara, where he was featured in Santa Barbara Magazine as "One To Watch" and began playing keys for 3-time world champion surfer and singer/songwriter Tom Curren, with whom he has toured Australia, South America and Europe. The next year, he and his wife relocated to Los Angeles. Here Brad once again partnered with his family in the starting of a new church and homeless foundation, both under the heading of West Coast Care.

Brad Hooks served as Calvary Chapel Montebello’s worship artist in residence for 2 ½ years beginning in 2008. His song “When We All Get to Heaven” is currently used as the theme song for CCM’s radio program on KWAVE.

Brad continues expanding his music career - now composing and producing for other artists - while heralding worship as the forefront of his calling.

Behind Hymnastics
Hymnastics, as the name implies, is a reconstructed hymns project by singer/songwriter and worship leader Brad Hooks. Think gymnastics with classics. This project combines both acoustic and digital sounds as it integrates elements from many genres including alternative rock, folk, pop and even hip-hop. One will find traditional lyrics set to unexpected melodies, classic songs with new rhythms and textures, and many other completely new surprises – from the orchestral to the simplistic. However, it must be stressed that this is not your typical hymns remake record. This is something drastically fresh and yet totally worshipful.

“Hymnastics was inspired by a variety of events that have taken place in my life over the last 2 years,” shares Hooks. “Firstly, my coming on as Calvary Chapel Montebello’s worship leader played an enormous role. The first time I led worship for Pastor Pancho was during the ’07 Christmas season when I revamped a selection of nativity-time classics. Through the following months I continued to incorporate reconstructed hymns as a significant part of CCM’s worship repertoire, utilizing the theological poignancy of the lyrics and contrasting it with a modern musicality.” Around this same time Hooks was encouraged to write a few songs for some friends who were having children. These songs were nostalgic, comforting and playful. Though this new record is certainly not a collection of lullabies, he knew that he wanted it to incorporate these same feelings: nostalgia- reminding the listener of their first love in Jesus, comfort- leading the listener to a quiet place of worship before God, and playfulness- taking the listener along a joyful journey with their Savior and closest friend.