Touted by Lauren Talley (of the Talleys) as one of Southern Gospel music's finest singers, Lisa Williamson certainly has all the defining traits: she not only has a voice that can seamlessly flip from her power belts to her delicate soothing croons, she understands her songs well enough to be able to nuance individuality to each of them. Now we have finally got the privilege to hear Lisa Williamson's most anticipated solo debut. Yet, Lisa Williamson is by no means a rookie: she has been one of Christian music's prolific writers who have crafted songs for the Gold City, Forgiven Trio, the Williamsons as well as the Kingsmen's the Singing News Top 10 hit "I'm Ready to Go." And for years, she has been offering her vocals to her family group the Williamsons who had just released their latest effort "Saved" last year. Though "Counting My Blessings" is dubbed as her solo project, her family is right and center surrounded on this project, most noticeably in augmenting these songs with their layered harmony vocals.
Gravitating as the hub of the album's buzz is the title cut "Count Your Blessings." An Irving Berlin song that was crafted for the 1954 movie "White Christmas," the song has invited covers from a plethora of artists from various epochs including Rosemary Clooney, Bing Crosby, Barry Manilow, Diana Krall and even Jars of Clay. Often admired for its sentimental glow, many have often missed the theological depths of the song. The song is essentially a poem of trust in God nested in a timeless melody: "When my bankroll is getting small/I think of when I had none at all/And I fall asleep/Counting my blessings." With the splendid sounding orchestration of amorous-sounding strings, some jazzy piano and Lisa Williamson's thoughtful delivery, Williamson's version rightly transforms us from being ingrate grumblers to thankful worshippers.
Other covers worthy of mention include Williamson's take of Dottie Rambo's "We Shall Behold Him." Nothing short of breathtaking, the celestial sounding backing is so appropriate of the song's lyrics about meeting Christ again at his second coming. Listening to this song is an experience in itself; an experience that has a way of ushering us into heaven. Kevin Wright & Living Proof's "This Army Keeps Marching On" is currently serviced to radio as the album's lead single. Though lyrically the song excels in speaking of God's formidable strength expressed through the various Biblical events, the song suffers from a vocal traffic congestion with Lisa's vocals being drowned out right from the get go from the over enthused harmony vocals.
"Independence Day," is one out of six of Williamson's originals. Showcasing her mettle as a stellar story teller, "Independence Day" is structured on punning the song's titular. The song tells of how a lady came to her own independence day (from sin) on the 4th of July. If you don't get sidetrack from the dated keyboard sound, "I Will Be There Too" is a ballad of friendship that is equipped with lots of sincere and heartfelt lines. And to give substance to the theme of album's of counting one's blessings, children (as the Bible teaches) are one of God's greatest gifts. Thus, on lithe bouncy "Little Ole Me" we hear a chorus of kids singing with Williamson on what is a fun sonic excursion. "Counting My Blessings," in short, is a record that makes us thankful that we have such a talented singer-songwriter in Lisa Williamson who helps us again and again through these 11 songs to be grateful followers of Jesus Christ.