Journal of Gospel Music reviews Mike Lee’s “Bright and Breezy” EP

Fort Wayne, Indiana. worship leader and mixed martial arts gym owner Mike Lee follows up his full-length national debut LP Awakening Hearts with a seven-track acoustic EP called All I Need. With a final push, courtesy of crowdfunding, the EP was released to the public on June 16.

Despite juggling several challenges, notably a father in chemotherapy for lung cancer and a brand new baby, Lee makes the world sound bright and breezy on the EP with his simple melodies, introspective lyrics, and pop-rock arrangements. The music is propelled primarily by acoustic guitar and touches of rhythmic banjo.

The title track is emblematic of the album’s overall meditative and contemplative feel with its mantra-esque “All I need is you.”  On the other hand, “Freedom” is rhythmically joyful and evokes the Lumineers’ celebratory “Ho Hey.”

“Awaken Me” is the album’s hot spot, a lovely acoustic folk duet that articulates an eagerness to know God and to know what God wants of us. “Different” is an adjective-laded praise song that benefits from a light banjo rhythm and Lee’s expansive yet plaintive singing.

Where All I Need succeeds most is in reserving center stage for the absorbing melodies, harmonies, and lyrics without the added, and often overwhelming, layer of multi-instrumentalism.

By Bob Marovich

Four of Five Stars

Pick: “Awaken Me.”