Michael English is a voice that needs no introduction to longtime Christian music fans. His breakthrough performance of "I Bowed On My Knees And Cried Holy" in the mid-eighties catapulted him to a role as lead vocalist of The Gaither Vocal Band, and he's also recorded a string of successful solo albums over nearly three decades. Though his life has been touched by what many would call career ending or disqualifying mistakes during that time (detailed in his 2007 book The Prodigal Comes Home), he has experienced deep restoration. With Love is the Golden Rule he is back again with a record full of songs about grace and redemption, and his unmistakable voice is as present as ever.
The opening track "My Love" lets us know that we are in comfortable CCM territory; however, that's not a bad thing as English's voice sits perfectly in the smooth arrangement and the groundwork of Love Is The Golden Rule is laid. "Little Is Much" is a poignant reminder of how God values our everyday lives, and it even takes an honest look at Christian culture with the lines "No TV shows / no books to sell / just a voice in the wilderness living to tell the simple truth / preaching the good good news." The first part of the album finishes with the classic and oft covered Mike and the Mechanics song "The Living Years," and English's voice (especially in the second half) sets his version apart.
The middle section of Love Is The Golden Rule has some more upbeat songs sprinkled in, highlighted by "None Of Us Are Free" and "One Drop Of Love." The latter in particular is held together with tight and varied instrumentation, and Michael's voice is at its soaring best throughout.
Though it's a remake of perhaps Michael English's best know song, "Cry Holy" is worth the re-listen, and it bears all the hallmarks of what made it a Christian music classic in the first place. The second half specifically is a reminder of the pure power of Michael's voice. LP closer "Let Me Hold You" is a song that finds English singing from what is surely personal experience as he sings of the unending, never failing love of God.
The Bottom Line: Though Love Is The Golden Rule is certainly not new territory for Michael English, it is a solid CCM album that will be satisfying for longtime fans. It showcases his unique and powerful voice and even sprinkles in the occasional Southern Gospel touch, speaking often of the grace and love that every Christ-follower needs. For longtime Christian music fans, this one is a must listen!
Song to Download Now:
"One Drop Of Love" (Get it on iTunes here.)