Worship Leader Magazine called Aaron Strumpel's first work with Enter the Worship Circle (CHAIR & MIC VOL. 2) “captivating” and said it “needs to permeate more of our services of worship.” In his second solo effort, Aaron continued his psalmic output with the vast and wild ELEPHANTS record, winning Calvin College’s Band-spotting Contest at the Festival of Faith and Arts and garnering critical acclaim with Christianity Today calling it a “stunning achievement” and Paste Magazine saying that he “has stolen the hymnbook of ancient Israel back for the regular folks.” Relevant Magazine called his follow-up, BIRDS, “dreamy” and “sun-shine-y” while Christianity Today called it a “holy hoe-down” and “gloriously disheveled.” His 2015 release, Bright Star, saw listings in Worship Leader Magazine as a Top 20 Indie Worship release.
Aaron has toured through 45 states and internationally to Rwanda, Uganda, Gaza, Israel, Haiti, and much of Europe, Central and South America. He has played everywhere from the New Orleans Super Dome to a street corner in a Brazilian favela; from a chapel at the Harvard School of Divinity to a yard outside of a make-shift medical clinic in Gaza. His international work has given him a sense of the beauty and diversity of the people of God and has informed his songs with the sort of simplicity and honesty that translates between cultures. His time on staff at a local fellowship instilled a centeredness and pastoral heart which also serves to ground his artistry and leadership.
It’s from this atmosphere of creativity and faithfulness that BRIGHT STAR, the album, was born. It is an album of songs to be listened to; it is an album of songs to be sung, both personally and congregationally, whether led with an acoustic guitar or pop-synth orchestra. It captures a sound that is at once wondrous in scope and approachable in intention. Exciting new songs include “Mightier,” which, like the Psalmist in the 93rd chapter, proclaims the majesty of God in creation, “Coming After You,” which gives the listener the language of yearning, and “Beautiful Pearl,” which leaves a person ruminating on what it meant and still means for Christ to give his life. Alongside these songs are several standards that have become anthems in the many communities over the years: “Twenty Three,” “Centuries,” and the title track, “Bright Star.”
Aaron invited the excellent Latifah Phillips (Page CXVI, The Autumn Film, Moda Spira) to produce the record alongside him and enlisted songwriter and engineer David Wilton (Loud Harp, Jason Upton, Josh Garrels, A Boy and His Kite) to mix and master.