One of the Best Albums of the Year
Posted August 06, 2017
As Third Day looked to celebrate their 25th anniversary as a band, they fulfilled a long-time plan to record a project at Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. The band (lead vocalist Mac Powell, guitarist Mark Lee and drummer David Carr),, recorded with members of their touring band (keyboardist Scotty Wilbanks, mandolin/banjo/guitarist Trevor Morgan and bassist Tim Gibson). For this “back to their roots” album, the band reunited with producer Monroe Jones, who had worked with Third Day on six previous albums. Jones invited percussionist Ken Lewis to join the sessions and recruited Vance Powell to engineer the album.
The album has almost “live” feel to it. The songs are simple lyrically, with about half of half of the songs being written before the band went into the studio and the other half just ideas that principal songwriter Mac Powell had.
On this album, Third Day brings it all together. Mac Powell has one of the best voices in music. Here the musical backing is worthy of his strong baritone, with strong guitars, drums, Hammond organ, horns, backing vocals, and crystal-clear production. Throw in some harmonica, tambourine, finger snaps and hand claps and this is truly a gem. It’s a multi-genre album – combining rock, southern rock, blues, soul, worship and gospel. I loved it from start to finish, and it’s my top album of the year thus far.
Here are a few brief comments on each song:
Revival – This was the first single released from the album and it is instantly likeable. It features a great vocal from Powell, plus piano, horns and backing vocals. It’s just a great overall song. Key lyric: God is gonna move and there ain't no doubt.
Gonna Be There With Me – This joyful song finds Powell singing over piano, guitar, backing vocals, steel guitar and horns. It features brief piano and guitar solos. Key lyric: Lord, it's always good to know that You're gonna be there with me.
Leave This World Behind – This song opens with a Creedence-like guitar. It features some tasty piano, U2-like backing vocals and some excellent guitar work. Key lyric: All my tears and all my pain, Will be gone in Jesus name
Let There Be Light - This song is destined for heavy rotation on Christian radio. It speaks to God’s creation and man’s fall. Let there be light to bring us back home. The song features some organ, piano and U2-like singalong backing vocals that will be good to sing along with in concert.
There is one light
There is one savior of the world
There is one hope
His name is Jesus, Jesus
Faithful and True – This ballad opens slowly with acoustic guitar, and then builds powerfully with organ, Lynyrd Skynyrd-like electric guitar and backing vocals. Key lyric: Everything that I ever been or ever hoped to be, It's all because of You,
Your love is faithful
Gather Round Now - This song opens with a swamp guitar and some excellent drums. It is simple lyrically, and builds into a celebration about the Lord, the King of all creation, of every tribe and nation and what He has done for us. Features some excellent backing vocals and horns. Key lyric: One day He'll return to take us home
In Your Hands – This is another song that could end up in strong rotation on Christian radio. It’s a power ballad that features keys, guitar and backing vocals.
Key lyric: In Your hands, I found where I belong
Loves Me Like a Rock - Paul Simon recorded this song with the Dixie Hummingbirds in 1973, and it reached #2 on Billboard’s Hot 100. This excellent version features the Oak Ridge Boys on backing vocals (who were originally to do the vocals with Simon), although their vocals are buried a bit in the mix. Features some good organ and horns and a fun acapella ending. I would have liked the Oaks’ vocals to be featured more on this track.
New Creation - This joyful song features handclap, guitar, horn and backing vocals. Key lyric: Hallelujah, I'm a new creation, the old has gone and the new has come
Nobody Loves Me Like Jesus - This song features guitar, drums, horn and backing vocals. Key lyric: Nobody in this whole wide world gonna give what I'm looking for
Anything is Possible - This encouraging song opens with acoustic guitar and quickly builds featuring percussion, strong backing vocals and horns. Key lyric: Let the Spirit lead and just believe that anything is possible
Great God Almighty - This instantly likeable song features harmonica, early Beatles guitar, backing vocals and a great sing along chorus.
Great God Almighty
Won't You save Your children
Lord in heaven won't You lend a hand?
Ain't no way we gonna do this without You
Devotion - The closing song on the standard edition is a worship song directed to the Lord. It features guitar, drums, horns, organ and backing vocals. Will be a powerful song in concert. Key lyric: Lord make my life a devotion to You
You Redeemed Me - This song features swamp guitar, drums and horns. It’s about what the Lord does in a sinner’s life. Key lyric: You turned my fears and failure to a story of Your grace
The Return – This song about the return of Jesus features drums, guitar organ and horns. Key lyric: Are you ready for the return?
The Deluxe Edition also includes the radio mix of “Revival”, the original cut of “Let There Be Light” and the first take of “Faithful and True”.
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