Since forming more than 20 years ago, Phillips, Craig & Dean have released 12 albums, produced nearly two dozen No. 1 hits, sold millions of records, taken home two Dove Awards and garnered multiple nominations. Now they’re delivering Hope For All the World, a Christmas release sure to spread holiday cheer.
It’s a fitting move for this time-tested trio. Their dual roles as musicians and full-time senior pastors in three different U.S. cities give Randy Phillips, Shawn Craig and Dan Dean a unique perspective from which to create and record. They interact daily in the lives of their congregations, seeing firsthand the struggles people face and the difference faith makes. This new seasonal release lets them celebrate that faith in a way that offers hope and points to the gospel.
Phillips, Craig & Dean celebrate the season with a mix of sacred and sentimental tunes. Their take on classics like “O Come All Ye Faithful” and “Do You Hear What I Hear” seamlessly mixes with newer tracks like “For All the World” and “A Night of Hope.” Faith has always been at the core of what they do, and this album is a clear reminder of where that faith comes from and the joy that should resonate within us year round.
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Reverent & Jolly| Posted October 15, 2013 Ring in the holiday season with Phillips, Craig & Dean’s latest offering, Hope for All the World, their second full-length Christmas release. If the title sounds familiar to fans, that’s because the guys released an EP of the same name in 2010. All six songs from said EP are found here, with four additional songs to make up a full album.
The trio, with the assistance of producer Nathan Nockels, offers up an even mix of originals and Christmas classics that collectively conjure the spirit of the season. Of the classics, some like “Do You Hear What I Hear?” are done straight. Some songs are best left to tradition, and thankfully, the guys do a beautiful, faithful rendering on this one. “The First Noel” is similarly presented in familiar fashion, with just a slight pop infusion to lend a little glitter.
The group experiments a bit with “O Come All Ye Faithful” and “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen / We Three Kings.” The former is given a slight jazz makeover, particularly in the opening, during the fills between verses, and at the end. Somewhere in the middle, however, the song swells into an orchestral piece. While the unusual musical trappings don’t quite fit, the vocals are top notch. The creative approach does bear fruit, though, with the latter song. With upright bass, accordion, bouzouki, a swinging delivery, and tight harmonies, “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen / We Three Kings” is a toe-tapping joy!
Though Christmas is a sacred season, it’s also an occasion to make merry. On their first Christmas project, PCD exercised their funny bones with “The Chipmunk Song.” This time, they close the project in silly Duck Tales fashion with “Jingle Bells (Duck Mix).” Their three part duck harmony is a real giggle, and the early returns show it’s a welcome gag with their fans.
Of the five originals, the trio had a hand in writing two, “Suddenly” and “A Night of Hope.” “Suddenly” tells the tale of Mary and Joseph, recounting how once the angel came, their story radically changed and, before you knew it, the world was singing: “Glory to God in the highest!” Backed by a choir, the guys let their hair down for “A Night of Hope” which uproariously celebrates the glorious surprise gift of Jesus’ birth.
Christmas wouldn’t be complete without sentimentality which “God Bless Us” heartily provides. Speaking of grace and the Christmas spirit’s ability to soften the hardest heart, the tune gives a Dickensian nod with the lyric “God bless us, every one!”
The two standout originals are “For All The World” and “Born Is The King (It’s Christmas).” Each upbeat number rejoices in the Savior’s arrival. The chorus of the first boasts a melody reminiscent of the PCD hit “You are God Alone.” While the album single, “Born Is The King (It’s Christmas), is a stirring anthem worthy of a King. When you hear it, you’ll be obeying the song’s command: “All of the earth rejoice! It’s Christmas!”
Closing Thoughts: Phillips, Craig & Dean’s vocals and harmonies are as strong as ever. With equal measures of original songs and Christmas favorites, the group toes the line of tradition and modernity. While not earth-shatteringly different, one listen will most definitely invite the Christmas spirit into your heart. Hope for All the World succeeds in sounding just as a Christmas record should: warm and bright, joyous and hopeful, reverent and jolly.
Song to Download Now:
“Born Is The King (It’s Christmas)” (Get it on iTunes here.)
You really should buy the new Christmas album, Hope For All The Worldby Phillips, Craig And Dean. These worshippers will make you praise with their songs. And you really need to listen to their music. Let's adore Him!