Prime Cuts: He Will Carry You, That's Just What Grace Does, Forever Home
It's a challenge to say anything negative about Brian Free & Assurance's "Live Like We're Redeemed." Every song jumps out of its speakers taking on personas that are so engaging and unique that they become friends you can't help but love at first sight. After a few listens you know that these friends are not just fair-weathered ones. Rather, they are stormy-weather buddies that will keep us warm in life's squalls to come. Brimming with so much Godly truths garnered from a firm grasp of Holy Writ, these songs speak with a seasoned maturity and a judicious wisdom that we can't help but listen.
"Live Like You Are Redeemed" is one of the few albums out there that ties the Gospel and discipleship together as a knitted whole rather than unrelated entities. Discipleship that is not grounded in the Cross-worked of Jesus is nothing more than pious legalism; this album not only affirms this but flashes this out how this truth has bearing in our daily lives.
With the departure of Jeremy Lile on bass, the group has reverted back to a trio comprising of Brian Free, Bill Shivers, and Mike Rogers. "Live Like You're Redeemed" finds them working with some of Gospel music's best scribes including Brian White, Sue C. Smith, Kenna Turner West, Jason Cox, Joel Lindsey and others. The title cut "Live Like We're Redeemed" defines the template for the record. Never domesticating salvation as just a moment of time affair. Rather, this Dave Clark and Brian Free composition rightly encourages us to live out the tenets of the Gospel in our lives via through showing grace and mercy to those we acquaint with. "That's What Grace Does" further enhances this theme over a richly textured ballad that crescendos gorgeously with the trio's power-packed harmonies.
Made for the despondent in heart in mind is "He Will Carry You." Kudos to songwriters Gina Boe and Lee Black, this ballad with its soaring strings is just a Godly lift for those buried under debris of a tumbled life. No Southern Gospel album can ever be complete without a song about heaven. "Forever Home" is more than just a quota filler. Its pulverising and palatable storyline salvages this ballad from being too maudlin as most songs on heaven do. Two covers need to be singled out. The first is their cover of 4Him's 90s hit "The Measure of a Man" that comes with some augmented fiddling. Second is the rock-edged "You Could be the Difference" which can also be heard on songwriter's Jamie Slocum's new album "Safe."
In sum, Brian Free & Assurance's "Live Like You Are Redeemed" is a record indispensable for those who are serious about living Cross-centered lives for Jesus. Like great friends that come alongside us in our pilgrimages, these songs surround us like a cloud of witness spring us on in perseverance.