Chris Dickson
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Chris Dickson


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"Christian Manifesto"

Chris Dickson’s “Hold On To You”: A Review

Chris Dickson’s Hold On To You (Hallel, 2007) has the distinct pleasure of not only being Dickson’s debut album, but also the debut album for new Christian music label, Hallel Music. With this release, both the artist and the label can consider themselves as being off to a strong start.

Hold On To You is a straight-forward worship album. It reminds me of not so many “special selections” performed between worship and the pastor speaking at a contemporary church. That isn’t a dig against the album as I quite enjoy those selections. In many ways, they prepare you for the theme of the sermon. But, let us speak of the music.

“It is Time” starts the album off with Dickson fiercely strumming away on his acoustic guitar. His vocals kick in not too long thereafter. Visualize a younger, lighter Mac Powell (Third Day) crossed with Jeremy Camp and you’re somewhere in the ballpark of what Dickson sounds like. As he careens through the song,
Dickson sets the theme for the entire album, letting listeners know that,
It’s time to draw the line/Put an end to compromise/Live life by m design/There’s no looking back, it’s time to rise/Repent from sinful
lives/Open up your eyes/And live life my way/It is time

The lyrics aren’t necessarily groundbreaking. But, I do like them. And the reason I like them is because they’re so blunt. Much of
Christian music is all about how God loves us and wants to make us comfortable, assuming that Christians have it okay already. And
while God does love us and has sent the Holy Spirit to comfort us, Christian music rarely and so blatantly calls people (especially
Christians) to repent and stop compromising in their lives. “It is Time” is ultimately a song about responsibility.

“Open Wide” is a country-rock hybrid that is a repentant cry to God. Apologizing for holding back from God, Dickson realizes that we cannot run from God’s purpose. Instead, Dickson submits his will to the will of the Father. This is a powerful track considering the hellish illness he struggled with recently. Others might be tempted to “curse God and die,” but Dickson instead has penned a
psalm or lament and repentance.
The album’s title track, “Hold On To You” is the best track on the album. I mid-tempo ballad, the song plays out like a letter to God. Dickson asks God all sorts of questions that echo the sentiments of Psalm 40. He is honest with his feeling about sometimes not
feeling the presence of Jesus when the going gets tough. But, through it all, he resolves to hold on to God.

Overall, Hold On To You is a solid effort from Chris Dickson and Hallel Music. Dickson does very well with softer pieces, making me contemplate my walk and helping me relate to the hard questions
he asks.

Buy or Borrow?: BUY.
~ by C. E. Moore on January 25, 2008.
- C. E. Moore

"Calvary Chapel Pastor Reference"

To Whom It May Concern:

Greetings in the Name of Our Lord Jesus! This is a letter of reference concerning Chris Dickson. Having known Chris for many years now both as a former church member and missionary, I believe Chris has a sincere and dedicated devotion to Jesus Christ. In both his music and life, Chris seeks to glorify God, and I have found him open to accountability and dialogue concerning his walk. I gladly endorse him for ministry, and pray that God would continue to bless others through his music and message.

In His service,

Pastor Tom Dickerson
Calvary Chapel of North Plainfield - Pastor Tom Dickerson

"New Jerusalem Pastor Reference"

To Whom It May Concern:

It is my honor to provide this reference for Chris Dickson. As Chris' pastor, I have first hand watched him pass through the many challenges in his testimony while growing stronger in the Lord. In the process, he also grew from being a great musician to being a wonderful worshiper of Christ. I can personally testify to Chris' walk with Jesus, his faithfulness as a husband and father, his commitment and anointing as NJCC's worship leader, and his love and compassion for others as a co-leader of one of our small groups.

In addition, Chris is genuine, humble, teachable, and mature. His music reflects his love and trust of God while being rooted in real experiences that he has passed through and learned from. From this springboard he is able to share a real testimony that touches hearts and builds other's faith in Christ.

It is without reservation that I recommend Chris' music and ministry. I am absolutely positive that you will be blessed!


Pastor Doug Linser
New Jerusalem Christian Church - Pastor Doug Linser

"Christian Music Today"

Singer/songwriter Chris Dickson is a survivor. Not only did he did he have a debilitating brain tumor, but the condition was supposed to prevent him and his wife from ever becoming parents, a lifelong dream of his.

In a testament to the power of prayer and God's healing power, Dickson beat the odds. Not only is he tumor free, but Dickson and his wife are also the biological parents of two little girls.

Though Dickson's trial-ridden story certainly had a happy ending, he hasn't lost touch with the difficult times endured before those miraculous events. In fact, Dickson remembers those times of depression all too well. "Depression is real, and it hurts," he says. "It's so bad because it can be caused by physical and spiritual factors."

Ultimately, it's Dickson's powerful back-story that breathes new life into the well-traveled territory of his music. Even if you're a relatively new Christian music fan, chances are you've heard a song or two about God helping us through those inevitable rough patches. But in light of Dickson's testimony, those familiar themes take on new significance as expressed in tracks like "It Is Time" and "More Than I Am."

Not only does his powerful, pleasing vocal delivery—a cross between Mac Powell (Third Day), Dave Matthews and Jeremy Camp—drive the message home, but Dickson's lyrics aren't cut from the typical clichés either. For instance, on "Can You Hear Me," Dickson doesn't exactly mince words in his despair: "Darkness surrounds me/I hear You call to me and I think/How can I answer/When all I feel inside is broken/Shattered to pieces/I'm speechless from the anger I feel."It's that Psalm-styled lament combined with the reverent joy of songs like "A Moment With You" and "You Are My God" that provide welcome solace and rejoicing to anyone going through a particularly trying time.

Thankfully, such solace comes with pleasing musical accompaniment. Though Dickson isn't exactly reinventing the wheel with his chosen pop/rock template, the sturdy production from John Seymour (U2, Dave Matthews Band), the tantalizing pop hooks, and the aforementioned lyrics still make Hold On to You a project worthy of attention as a much-needed reminder that someone else has endured hard times like yours.

- Christa Banister


Hold On To You, Hallel Music 2007. Tracks can be listened to at



Every person comes to a point in his or her life where the idea of Purpose comes to the forefront of their existence. Questions such as, “What is it that I’m living for,” or “Can I believe everything I was told about faith or religion when I was a child?,” Chris Dickson’s very character has been shaped and molded by the unexpected surfacing of these questions in his life.
In the summer of 2002, Chris married his high school sweetheart Michele. Not long after the wedding Chris was diagnosed with a pituitary tumor that had been causing symptoms such as fatigue and depression that began plaguing his new marriage. Chris was placed in a position to decide whether the God of the Bible, the God of his youth, was really alive and able to be taken at His Word.
As Chris wrestled with God, he received the news from his doctors that he and his wife would never be able to have their own children. Knowing God had given them the desire to be parents they were forced to choose between the facts that the doctors were presenting them or the truth that they knew God had put on their hearts. The couple placed their trust in God’s promises and searched for Him to meet them in prayer and in His Word. Each passing month brought conflicting messages; peace and encouragement from their time with God; yet more bad news from the doctors.
About a year after the adventure began, the doctors reported a miraculous disappearance of the tumor. While there was no sign of the tumor, Chris was still dealing with the physical and emotional symptoms that were present with the tumor. Standing on what God had already done, he chose to trust God for his complete healing. One year later, Chris and Michele found themselves expecting their first daughter, Jenna. God has since completely restored Chris in every way, and Jenna will be joined by a little sister this fall.
Chris has seen that God is who He says He is and has sought to embed his growing faith into his music. Chris aims to use his experiences to impart faith and a deeper relationship with Christ to a generation of people searching for meaning and hope.
In early 2006, Chris was reunited with longtime friend Robert Vernon, who was in the process of starting Hallel Music. Chris jumped at an offer to record with the label, and began solidifying his ideas for the Hold On To You record.
While volunteering at InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at Rutgers University Chris met up with Branden Camp and Jon Zila. Branden/lead guitar, and Jon/percussion came to Rutgers with their pastor to lead worship for the student’s weekly meeting. The three hit it off well and began preparing to record the debut album. After the completion of the cd, the group was joined by Jason Rinear, a member of Chris’ church worship team, on bass.
Chris has a genuine desire to share his faith and experience with others to encourage them to press into God and to deepen their relationship with Christ. His heartfelt cry is evident when you listen to the lyrics of his debut cd, Hold On To You, and when you see his sincerity and faith during live performances. Chris Dickson is definitely an up and coming artist to keep an eye on as God continues to use him as a witness in the public arena.

Upon your request, PDF files of Pastoral References can be emailed to you.