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Once in a while a collection of music grabs you from the start and takes you on a beautiful, anticipatory journey. Independent artist Justin Gambino’s album Made New accomplishes that mission with sensitive pop anthems and vulnerable ballads. 

Thirteen songs feature a heavy dose of country (steel guitar and violin) and little splashes of bluegrass and folk rock for variety. “Courage” opens the record and is based on people who have encouraged Gambino in his journey. The catchy single “Fighting on My Behalf” highlights the way God fights for his people. The Texas-based singer songwriter cites Exodus 14:14 as inspiration: “The Lord will fight for you: you only need to be still.” Other stirring selections include “Mercy,” a modern psalm of gratitude; “Revive,” about a prodigal son; and “Celebration,” with a riveting guitar instrumental as its finale.

Gambino has much to celebrate with his music. Arrested as a teen for theft, he opted for the U.S. Navy and community service rather than prison. After the military, he dealt with PTSD, anger, alcohol and depression. Then one night he cried out to the Lord and changed course for the good. They say everything in the state of Texas is bigger; this record plays big because of the music, message and one amazingly redeemed life. (

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