Prime Cuts: Ordinary Love, Greatest of all Miracles, Stepping Out
"Change is never easy even for the bravest heart," the Jim Brady Trio sings on the song "God of What's to Come." Indeed, change is never easy especially in the milieu of Southern Gospel music. In a genre earmarked for its adherence to its long standing quartets some of which have been around for decades and decades, it's sometimes a challenge to break a new act. But this has not deterred Daywind Records to take a chance with the Jim Brady Trio. Thus, the titular "A New Chapter" augurs well. Not only does this new mark a new beginning for Jim Brady, his wife Melissa, and Tim Parton, but it is also rifled with songs that give courage, faith, and companionship for those who are beginning new ventures in our lives. Many of the paeans revolve around the theme of faith rooted in the pages of Scripture that ought to challenge our souls to live radically for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
There's no better song to start an album than the anthem-sounding "God of What's to Come." Brimming with hope that our God moves ahead of us in His astonishing providence, the trio has never sounded more energetic and engaging. Lead by some jazzy piano licks at the song's intro before launching into a harmony-laden chorus, "You Can Depend on Him" contrast the faithfulness of Jesus with the fleeting reliability of fair-weathered friends and elusive dreams. Rounding off a trio of songs that deal with the issue of faith for the future is the lead single "Stepping Out." Calling upon a cloud of witnesses from the pages of the Old Testament from Noah to Moses to Elijah, this bouncy country-pop number encourages us to follow in the steps of these saints in attempting great things for God.
Though the album contains mostly of new songs, many of them coming from the pens of Jim and Melissa Brady, they have also given a reverent nod to the hymn "The Love of God." Made even more bitter sweet with the late Lari Goss' deft arrangements, the hymn still has a way of touching our hearts especially with the line: "The love of God is greater far than tongue or pen could ever tell - Could we with ink the ocean fill?" Ballad lovers will adore "Greatest of All Miracles" where the soft piano touches and stirring strings build to a crescendo when Melissa sings: "The greatest of all miracles was when He saved me." "Ordinary Love" is so counter-cultural. In a culture where love is short-lived and superficial, "the piano-only ballad "Ordinary Love" speaks glowing of a love that simply abides.
A new chapter may have begun for the Jim Brady Trio. But what's more satisfying is that they have flooded this new chapter with copious pages of God's grace, sovereignty and love. So much so that they have a wining way of inviting us to join them in the scripting of this story of faith.
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