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Christian music artist Chris Tomlin is best known for his powerful, heartfelt worship songs. In 2020, however, he surprised the world with something new: a genre-smashing album titled Chris Tomlin & Friends.

The album is a unique blend of worship and country music, and the friends that came alongside Tomlin to create this project include some of the genre’s biggest names. Florida Georgia Line, Thomas Rhett, Lady A, and Russell Dickerson are just a few of the featured artists. The songs include lyrics of praise and devotion mixed with some of country music’s tried and true themes like love and gratitude.

Though it’s common for country singers to sing about God, it’s more unusual for worship singers to turn to country. In an interview for The Tennessean, Tomlin recalled a childhood dream of becoming a country music singer. After a chance encounter and meaningful connection with Florida Georgia Line’s Tyler Hubbard, Tomlin realized that there could still be a way for this dream to come true. The two started writing together and reaching out to other artists, and soon Chris Tomlin & Friends came to be.

Mixing music genres is challenging, but one of the successful parts of this album is Tomlin’s willingness to step back and let others take the reins. In the upbeat hit “Thank You Lord,” Tomlin only comes in near the end. He sings just a few lines in “Forever Home” with Florida Georgia Line. In “Chase Me Down,” he sings harmony, letting RaeLynn’s voice stand out. “This is a project that was done out of friendship,” Tomlin said in a video on his Instagram page. This spirit of humility and collaboration certainly adds to the album’s feel-good style.

Artists from other genres who collaborated with Tomlin include Bear Rinehart of NEEDTOBREATHE and Blessing Offor, a blind singer who appeared on The Voice. From the energetic anthems to slower, emotional tunes, Chris Tomlin & Friends conveys feelings of joy and hope and serves as a treat to any listener. (Sparrow)

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