Recording a song the caliber of "My Savior, My God" can be a mixed blessing. Just ask worship leader, Aaron Shust. The simple tune he penned for his local congregation took radio by storm, topping six different charts at once while on its way to becoming the most played song of 2006 on the Christian Adult Contemporary charts. From his debut project, Anything Worth Saying, "My Savior, My God" helped earn Aaron a trio of Dove Awards for "Song of the Year," "Songwriter of the Year," and "New Artist of the Year." It also propelled the Georgia-based worship leader into the spotlight and onto the road in a whirlwind of concerts and promotional tours, sharing the stage with the likes of superstars MercyMe, Bebo Norman, Casting Crowns, Michael W. Smith, Jeremy Camp, Brandon Heath, and TobyMac, in between his own headline stints. A scant year later, Aaron released his hotly anticipated follow-up, Whispered and Shouted, an album informed by his desire to create music that would minister to people outside the four walls of his church. A full-bodied, open-hearted album of breathtaking beauty and scope, Whispered and Shouted flung its message of hope across the highways and byways with a compelling mixture of swelling strings and quiet ruminations. Two years have passed since Aaron released Whispered and Shouted. Marketing pundits would call that a lifetime in an industry that lives and dies by the next radio hit. But rather than acquiescing to the voices clamoring for 'more,' Aaron chose to listen to the voice encouraging 'better.' And if 'better' required additional time for songs to gestate, so be it.
That's not to say Aaron has been sitting on his hands for the past two years. On the contrary, there have been no dull moments for Aaron Shust. His roles include the increasing demands of fatherhood (two boys ages 2 years and 6 months), constant interaction with fans during and after his concerts, and ministry opportunities at his home church and with international relief organization Compassion International. Alongside all this, Aaron was determined to make his next album the most intense, honest, and cohesive of his career. One listen will convince even the most jaded critic that he has succeeded. With Take Over, Aaron Shust ups the musical ante by stripping the songs down to their bare bones and offering them without extraneous embellishment or anything to hide behind.
They are the kind of songs that creep up on you when you least expect it, nestle between your ears, and make themselves at home in your heart. "I see Take Over as an album about submission," Aaron says. "Its central theme might be surrender, a relinquishing of control. A common thread that shows up in a lot of these songs is one of admitting that it is not from our own efforts that we can achieve anything. Certainly we can't achieve salvation. We can work out our salvation but it is only through what Christ has done on the cross that we have any hope." Co-produced by the team of Jason Ingram and Rusty Varenkamp (Bebo Norman, Meredith Andrews, 10th Avenue North, Rush of Fools), Take Over finds Aaron reaching deeper and wider for both musical and lyrical inspiration. To get it, he partnered with some of the most respected songsmiths in the industry, including Brandon Heath, Matt Bronleewe, Ian Eskelin, Matthew West, Doug McKelvey, and Jason Ingram. As an artist who had always written his own songs, Aaron says the experience humbled him, stretched him, and helped him to rediscover himself as a songwriter.