Depending on You (Independent)
Nikki Eilers

By Robert Gruber

Nikki Eilers loves the Lord. It's evident in every line she sings on her superb debut, Depending on You. Running the gamut from traditional to contemporary; from pop/rock to praise, Nikki's voice is sweet, strong, emotive and full of His love.

Eilers, whose voice hints at a sublime Streisand influence, has picked a fine collection of songs and found unique ways of presenting them. She's at her best, I think, on the slower, more low-key ballads, like "He is Able" and "I'm Still Missing You." Especially moving is her vocal-only take on the Maranatha chorus, "I Love You Lord," and the Easter-morning grandeur of K.K. Inmon's "Mary." Nikki shows what a writer of inspirational songs she is herself on "Wonder of the Night" (a Christmas song) and "One Thing," based on the story in Mark 10 of Jesus and the rich young ruler.

The overall sound of Depending on You is impressively crisp — far better than the average local "indie" joint. Hats off to Eilers and co-producer Howie Gano for assembling a topnotch studio band to pull off so many different styles of music, yet make it sound fresh and cohesive. Guitarist Jeff Calhoun, in particular, can really make a song fly with his soaring leads, while drummer Max Maxwell keeps everything smart, uncluttered and even. More than anything, this record shows me that Nikki Eilers has what it takes to become a leading lady in today's Christian music.