Prime Cuts: Then Jesus Came, Praying Women, Not in This House
Prior to embarking on her solo career, Lindsay Huggins once worked with Reba McEntire. And from listening to this brand new record "Then Jesus Came," it sounds like Lindsay's time with the country music diva was not fruitless. In many ways, Huggins has mastered the craft of incorporating drama in her song making the characters of her paeans come alive veraciously; a technique McEntire has absolute mastery of. Weaving animation into her phrasing, each song that Huggins sings feels like a movie appearing before our speakers where we can see the characters taking form reacting the song before our presence. Such a gift certainly means that there's absolutely no soporific moment on this disc. In fact, as soon as Huggins opens her mouth, we can't helped but be pulverized.
"Then Jesus Came" is the fourth release by Huggins. The album also finds Jerry Salley at the producer's helm. Connoisseur of country and Christian music would recognize that Salley was the producer behind stalwart albums by Donna Ullisse as well as Darin and Brooke Alderidge. But more reputable is Salley's penmanship. Over the years, he has written songs for artists as diverse as the aforementioned Reba McEntire ("Close to Crazy"), John Anderson ("I Fell in the Water"), Jeff and Sheri Easter ("Love Is"), Cece Winans ("His Strength Is Perfect") and many others. With his expetise, Salley has certainly given this record a top notched sound, one that is on par with many major country records out there.
Most of the songs here are pretty upbeat skewing towards 90s-sounding country, the type McEntire, Faith Hill and Shania Twain were making in their prime. With a shimmering beat over a galloping country-pop melody, the album opens with "The Answer." On this inspirational piece that could even work on secular country radio, here Huggins reminds us that each of us can be agents of God's blessings to our neighbors in need. Stringing together scenarios of stories of forgiveness and grace, "Not in This House" is a rattling scorcher that grabs at both the heart and ears. Then we have the delightful "Nothing He Can't Redeem" (the only song here co-written by Huggins) which builds layer upon layer until it explodes with a soaring crescendo.
Current single "Praying Women" as the title suggests is an autobiographical song where Huggins gives thanks to God for the women who have had prayed for her. The album's best song has to be the title cut "Then Jesus Came." A song that speaks of how Jesus can make a difference in life's circumstances, here Huggins' heartfelt cadence takes this ballad to a whole new level of excellence. However, one wishes there were more of such ballads on the record. In fact, one could certainly use a ballad or two in the latter half of the album. Great as the high powered propulsive songs are, but to have them jam together one after another in the second half of the album can lessen their impact.
At the end of the day, "Then Came Jesus" is an animated record where we can not only hear but see and enjoy as Huggins in her imitable ways bring her characters to life.