Prime Cuts: Victory in Jesus, Does Jesus Care/Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus, Softly and Tenderly
Anyone who is steeped in rigorous piano playing can be a facile melodist. But few can take the same instrumental pieces and transform them into worship events. Few can bring us into the musical hallways of these notes where we come face to face with the Almighty God, where we experience the cathartic re-telling of the stories of these old familiar hymns again and again. Trey Ivey is one of those exceptions. Ivey is more than just a pianist and "Timeless" is more than just an instrumental project, what you get here is an experience of worship. And if you are looking for an instrumental CD to take us away from the fissures of this world into the presence of the Almighty over well-orchestrated tunes with a top notched engineered sound, "Timeless" is the unmistakable choice.
Trey Ivey is the youngest member of Southern Gospel group Legacy Five. Never belied by his youthfulness, Ivey has had been traveling and playing for the Mike LeFevre Quartet and the Old Paths before he joined Legacy Five in March of 2011. Released by StowTown Records, "Timeless" is Ivey's first foray as a solo artist. "Timeless," as the titular suggests, finds Ivey putting his magical touches on the old hymns of the church and a few Southern Gospel favorites. One of the album's most rewarding points is that Ivey incarnates his craft. Never one to be accused for being wooden in his execution, Ivey has an acumen for understanding and feeling each song's texture. In the opening track "Just Over in the Gloryland/I Feel Like I Am Travelling On," for instance, Ivey effortlessly brings out the medley's sojourning theme through his arpeggios of water-flowing notes.
Not to be missed and arguably the best track on the disc is Ivey's take of "Victory in Jesus." Giving this hymn a jazzy noirish lilt, there is a delightful bounce to it bringing out a child-like ecstasy in response to what Christ has accomplished via his death and resurrection. Majestic, elegant and so befitting of the hymns, "How Great Thou Art/My Tribute" is given a cinematic orchestrated backing. But when he comes to the tender "Does Jesus Care/Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus," all the orchestrations give way to just Ivey's thoughtful piano playing and heart-stirring understated strings. Ditto for "Softly and Tenderly;" this is the perfect track to listen to early in the morning with the Bible opened and the Lord by our side.
Considering the recent passing of Mosie Lister earlier this year, it's heartwarming to hear Ivey's energetic and passionate take of Lister's "Goodbye World, Goodbye." Here Ivey even offers some lightning speed piano runs that could easily rival Jerry Lee Lewis in his prime. In sum, if you are looking for an instrumental album that is brined with the understanding that these hymns and songs do not just exist for mere entertainment but for worship, look no farther than Ivey's "Timeless."