CD Review: The Horn Family

  • Posted on March 25, 2015 at 8:22 pm

I first became aware of The Horn Family a year or so ago but I was instantly impressed. This CD is top notch both musically and vocally. A mixture of country, some soul, and a bit progressive, this group will still appeal to many Southern Gospel fans.

I’ve Got It is a Pentecostal song about receiving the Holy Ghost.

The tempo slows down for a beautiful song Tracy Horn wrote, titled Rise Above the Fall. A country sound with a good message. “In all the tough times I have seen, greater is He within than He that’s after me.”

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t need “Victory through the name and the blood of Jesus.”

He Called Me Brother is pretty progressive music-wise. Jesus said that the one who does the Father’s will is His mother and brother and sister. How amazing is it that you and I can be Christ’s brother or sister!

Mary Magdalene (Why You Crying) is my least favorite song on the project but this is my preference. It’s not my musical taste but it is a song of redemption. If you know the story of Mary Magdalene, you know that she was despised in most circles, yet Jesus loved her and revealed Himself first to her after He arose from the tomb.

For the Life of Me is another slow, country-sounding song. “He gave His life for the life of me.” What a Savior!

The CD ends with an a cappella version of the old song, Lights of Home.

Other songs include Peace Everlasting, Love Like Rain, and It’s All in Jesus.

CD Review: HYMNS: the A Cappella Sessions (The Nelons)

  • Posted on February 24, 2015 at 9:18 pm

I am not typically a fan of a cappella recordings but this CD from the Nelons is a keeper.

They did a brave move by starting the CD with The Hallelujah Chorus but it does the job in capturing your attention so you desire to hear the rest of the project.

It may grow on me but I am not particularly fond of their rendition of There is a Fountain. I expect some will like it though because it is different. It does showcase their tight harmony.

I hadn’t heard Do Unto Others before but they put a lot of soul into this arrangement.

Then the tempo slows down for a medley of Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior and Just as I Am.

They did a rousing rendition of Keep On the Firing Line/Onward Christian Soldiers.

Other songs include: Tis So Sweet; Hallelujah, What a Savior; Since Jesus Passed By; and I Need Thee Every Hour.

CD Review: Here Comes Sunday (Wilburn & Wilburn)

  • Posted on February 8, 2015 at 8:16 pm

Wilburn & Wilburn has become a group that I look forward to hearing as soon as a new CD is released. If you have heard their previous releases, this one is just as good vocally, musically, and lyrically. Unfortunately, the type is too small and the color too light to read who wrote the songs but the songs are good and well-written.

This CD begins with the title track, which is a song of hope. No matter what you’re going through, Here Comes Sunday.

Jonathan Wilburn sings Funeral Plans. This song is about a man who is dying but he’s not worried. His house is in order, he’s been faithful, and now he plans to die praising the Lord.

Joseph is a song about Mary’s husband–the one who raised Jesus as his own son. What must it have been like for him to have married a woman who was with child by the Holy Spirit? Yet he bore it admirably, obeying God’s command to take Mary as his wife regardless what others thought.

Nobody Like Jesus reminds us that we’ve never seen anybody like Jesus. If you haven’t received Him into your heart, I hope you will do so today.

Every Scar has a story to tell.” This song begins with describing scars a boy may have and the stories behind them. It moves on to the scars that Jesus bore on our behalf.

Help Me reminds us that there are people with much worse needs than our own. We need God to show us how to help those people.

If These Old Walls Could Talk is the story of a man who went back to the church he grew up in. He imagines all the stories that would be told if those walls could talk.

The tempo slows down as Jordan Wilburn sings A Man Like Me. “If he can use some rugged wood and those three old rusty nails, … the fallen walls inside a pagan Roman jail, … a storm-tossed fishing boat on the Sea of Galilee, he can use a simple, searching, wounded, hurting, broken man like me.”

When you come to the Lord, Everything’s New. A great reminder.

Across the Miles is one of my favorite songs right now. Not a new song but the older I get, the more it means to me to know that people who love me are praying for me.

They also included two classics on this CD: I’m Bound for That City and Heaven’s Jubilee.


CD Review: Roots: Old & New (Cross Pointe)

  • Posted on December 12, 2014 at 7:59 pm

Almost a year and a half ago, I was contacted by Bill Pitts of Cross Pointe, asking if I would be willing to listen to their latest CD and give my honest opinion. As you can see, it has taken me a long time to get around to writing the review; however, this does not mean that I did not like the CD. I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed it upon my first listen whereas it usually takes me a while to make an assessment. Maybe it’s due to the fact that this recording was produced by John Darin Rowsey but I still have flashbacks of New Journey when I listen to some of the songs on here.

Walk on the Water has a standard Southern Gospel feel but is my least favorite song on the CD. A basic message and too typical.

Changed is a descriptive experience of a person who was baptized and completely changed from the life they had lived. A mid-tempo song with great harmony and a great message. It is also well written.

All My Tears reminds me of a song the Forester Sisters would sing. It has a folksy feel to it.

Kenna West and John Darin Rowsey wrote the toe-tapping Time After Time.

Only Jesus is a beautiful song also written by Mr. Rowsey and Sue C. Smith.

I’m Still Standing was written by group member Bill Pitts. It talks about standing firm in spite of what life throws your way. With Jesus, you can stand!

I like their arrangement of Wayfaring Stranger. It starts out slow with just piano. Then picks up the tempo slightly but still keeps a pace which makes it easy to follow the story.

Two Coats is an old song but it’s been a long time since I’ve heard anyone sing it. They sing the first verse and chorus very slow then increase the tempo to a toe-tapping one. Great arrangement.

I love the arrangement and harmony on It Changes Everything. “It changes everything to know You love me. And it makes me smile to think about Your grace. And then when I remember how You walked this road before me, that changes everything.” Amen!

Their version of I Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now is a bit progressive but they did a good job.

Speak to Me is a song of prayer that God would speak and give me ears to hear.

Power in the Name of Jesus is one song specifically that reminds me of New Journey. Another song with great harmony and a great message. There really is power in the Name of Jesus regardless of what you’re facing.

CD Review: Difference (Brothers Forever)

  • Posted on July 15, 2014 at 6:49 pm

I was introduced to Brothers Forever a number of years ago, so I was excited when their latest CD was finally released. Curtis Hagy and Gary Ballew did not disappoint me except for the fact that there are only six songs on this recording. They are worth the purchase though. Very well done. Good songs professionally recorded and arranged.

That’s Why I Pray This was the first song released to radio which was a great choice. The verses mention the negative happenings in our world today but the chorus reminds us that that’s why we should pray. “I’m begging for forgiveness. I wanna make a difference even in the smallest way. I’m only one person but I can feel it working. I believe in better days. THAT’S why I pray.”

Live to Love is a song about a couple who had a fight but the chorus is one of commitment to work it out. “If our hearts break, nobody wins.” Marriages are worth fighting for.

Difference talks about how short life is and the importance of letting “the world know who saved my soul and redeemed my heart.” No matter what others’ goals are, “I wanna make a difference.”

Changed speaks of the difference in a person’s life after coming to know Christ.

Fight talks about surrender. There is no good thing in us apart from Christ. If we surrender to Him, we receive His peace, love, and so much more. Why are you fighting Him and resisting the change that He desires to bring?

I Do is a beautiful love song. If you’re looking for a song to be sung at your wedding, this is a nice one.

CD Review: Unashamed (Brian Free and Assurance)

  • Posted on July 11, 2014 at 2:54 pm

The latest release from Brian Free and Assurance did not jump out and grab me. Musically, it sounds the same as their last two or three projects. I would really like to see them come out of their musical rut but I still appreciate their heart and there are some good songs on here.

This is the first I’ve noticed Ricky Free co-writing songs. He co-wrote half of the songs on this CD, including the leading song, God of Possibilities. Do you know this God who can part a sea and use a child to kill a giant? He’s the same God yesterday, today, and forever.

Unashamed is a commitment to boldly live for Christ.

Ricky Free teamed up with Ronny Hinson to write Tell It Like It Was. This is one song I like on the project. “Is it any wonder that we’re in the shape we’re in? The church will only say it if we’re sure it won’t offend.”

The tempo slows down as Bill Shivers sings Say Amen.
Brian Free sings He Still Saves, a new song with an old message.

Evidence in You talks about who we are in Christ after we come to know Him.

Jeremy Lile sings the toe-tapping A Little Bit of Me and You. Then the tempo slows down for One. In an ever-changing world where there seems to be no right or wrong, there is still one God.

Another song I like on the CD is Where There’s a Will, He Has a Way. Lauren Talley Alvey makes a guest appearance on the second verse. “Trust the One who holds you close, ’cause at the end of the day, where there’s a will, He has a way.”

Before the After talks about how easy it is to focus on the past but keep in mind that those things were before the after. We must remember the past in order to testify of how God brought us through. However, if that is no longer a part of your life, you must move on, realizing that that was before; this is now.

CD Review: Nothing But Love (Brian Free and Assurance)

  • Posted on March 10, 2014 at 9:56 pm

store_cds_nblI finally have a complaint about Brian Free and Assurance. This CD sounds like the last two (nothing new or out of the ordinary). They continue to be progressive with a “4 Him” feel, but their lyrics are still strong so, for that reason, they will continue to be one of my favorite quartets.

The title track, Nothing But Love, begins the CD and summarizes what this CD is about: God’s love.

The last several recordings feature songs about “valleys.” It’s Quite a Valley reminds us that it may be a valley but it’s nothing He won’t bring you through. Don’t lose hope.

Jeremy Lile sings, If the Lord Says Do It. God won’t call you to do something He won’t help you do.

I Will Be Praying is an uptempo, progressive song about intercession.

Guard Your Heart is a reminder that you are God’s. Your life is not your own.

Next, they sing, There is Power. God has the power to perform that much-needed miracle “just when you need it most.”

Brian Free sings, Calvary’s Cry. “Come and be saved is Calvary’s cry.” God is not willing that any should perish but that ALL should come to repentance.

You Can Be a Bridge is a song of hope for those of us who wonder if God can use us. Yes, He can! The possibilities are endless!

A Christian cannot listen to I Want to Be That Man without saying a hearty AMEN! There are so many who have gone before us. Let’s follow them as they follow(ed) Christ, and let’s be men and women who live a life that leads others to the God that we love.

The CD ends with Revival. “If only we would see the church upon our knees and our fervent prayer would be, ‘Revival! Let it begin with me!'” Let it be so.

CD Review: Modern Pioneers (Song of David)

  • Posted on April 14, 2012 at 2:37 am

“When Love comes to town, He brings hope and joy and laughter. When Love comes to town, He gives the brokenhearted peace.” Those lyrics sum up what we’re celebrating this weekend, doesn’t it. Because Christ arose, He is still bringing hope and joy and laughter. He is still giving the brokenhearted peace. He still moves mountains and pours out His grace because He lives! This uptempo song opens the new CD from Song of David.

David Bryan then put together a progressive version of Dottie Rambo’s song, “The Holy Hills.”

The tempo then slows down for “Water in the Wilderness.”

Next is the title song: “Modern Pioneers” which talks about our pilgrimage to Heaven.

“The Sound of the Sun (Going Down)” has a country feel which tells how “When I get over-burdened, I just pause to listen to the sound of the sun going down.” It is possible to find peace in the midst of the storm.

“One Step (at a Time)” has a Crabb Family sound. Sometimes God asks us to just take one step at a time and let Him lead the way.

“When I Leave it in Your Hands” was written by Ann Downing and Dwight Lyle. The greatest peace really does come from leaving it in God’s hands.

“Angels Watching” is a great reminder that we always have angels watching over us. We have nothing to fear.

Ashley Cook Mackey joins David in singing “This Storm.” “Don’t let this storm go to waste.” This is a prayer of mine often. If I must go through storms, I pray they accomplish God’s purposes.

“Power in His Name” begins by talking about Jesus’ birth. Then it talks about today, if you are going through trials, there is still power in Jesus’ name. “Over mountains, through valleys, in the city or on the plains … when the world needs a miracle, there’s power in His name.” It then breaks into a chorus of “Crown Him Lord of All.” A great song.

Five of the ten songs on this CD were written by David who is very gifted at writing. I realize this may be too progressive for some people but I was impressed with the songs and the heart with which he sings. His style took me back to the days of listening to the group Harvest.

CD Review: The Journey (Brothers Forever)

  • Posted on January 11, 2012 at 11:03 pm

Brothers Forever recently put together a CD to give a glimpse into their journey the past few years. With songs from previous recordings (By Request, Sheltered, and Side by Side: Live in Illinois), this is a definitely a “Best of” collection.

I love this group for their worship songs so it was perfect that they chose “You Alone Are Worthy” to begin the CD.

Gary Ballew sings lead on “God is Good,” the song the Gaither Vocal Band made popular a while back.

Next is their signature song, “I Feel a Blessing Coming On.”

Curtis Hagy sings “I Am Him,” the story of the Samaritan woman who found Jesus.

“More Than That” talks about how God is so much more than anything we can say. His mercy and grace knows no end. He’s so much “more than that.”

When I’m discouraged, I sometimes turn on “You Are Loved” and feel God’s arms around me. It’s a great reminder that God loves me no matter what I’ve done or what I’m going through.

“Whenever I Speak His Name” is another worship song that Gary sings.

“What More Could He Have Done” talks about what Christ went through, leaving Heaven to come to earth and be persecuted and crucified. “What more could He do to save our dying soul?” I’m so thankful for everything Christ has done for me.

“I Can’t Forget the Day” is an uptempo song remembering the day “my burdens rolled away.”

It’s hard to choose a favorite song on this project but the one that is probably at the top of my list is “My Home.” I’ve played this song a lot this past year as I find myself longing for Home more these days.

Other songs include: “The Lighthouse,” “Rest Assured,” “The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power,” and “He Saw it All.”

CD Review: Summer Rains Have Gone (Channing Eleton)

  • Posted on October 3, 2011 at 9:29 pm

Up until a few months ago, I always thought of Channing Eleton as one of the best piano players in the business. However, when I heard he released a CD where he not only played but also sang and wrote or co-wrote 6 of the 10 songs, I knew this would be a top notch project. I was not disappointed.

The CD starts with the uptempo “Days,” discussing the importance of prioritizing and focusing on the things that matter. “Starting now, I plan to make the most of every one of those days” pretty much sums it up.

“The Harvest” talks about the seasons of life and how quickly they change. However, no season is unimportant.

Next is Channing’s great new single “Up on This Ridge.” (See video below.)

My favorite is probably still “Is Not This the Land of Beulah?” I love the message of that song but Channing’s arrangement is superb. It starts out pretty typical, a moderate tempo and by the third verse, picks up the tempo, afterward going to an instrumental break where you can especially hear the keyboard.

“Song and Dance” is a song about David, creatively written by Gabe Scott and Andrew Peterson.

“Looking to Jesus” is a Teddy Huffam song I hadn’t heard before but I love it. A soulful toe tapper with a great message.

“Creation Song (Glory to the Lamb)” is a song of praise, which brings you into the presence of God as if you were reading the Psalms or Revelation where the saints are worshiping around the throne.

“As We Wait” is a great follow-up to “Creation Song.” Written by Channing Eleton and Buddy Mullins, this song is about waiting on God and inviting His presence “as we wait.”

“Just This Song” has a 2-minute prelude and is probably my second favorite song on this CD, maybe mostly because it says how I feel much of the time. Nothing I do or say comes close to being enough to thanking God for everything He’s done for me.

Channing recently released his first concept music video. Since it’s also his single off this recording, I thought I’d share it with you. I hope you enjoy it.