Prime Cuts: He Leadeth Me, What a Beautiful Name, How Beautiful
Overall Grade: 4/5
In pop music, artists who have gone over the hill as far as chart successes are concerned, often resort to cutting jazz standards as a final stab at stardom. Rod Stewart, Gloria Estefan and Barry Manilow are all culpable of such ventures. In Christian music, the alternative is for an artist who has passed her prime to cut a record of hymns. Don Moen, Twila Paris and even Sandi Patty have all taken this well trodden trail. But, why Point of Grace? These three ladies still look smashing and their voices show no sign of deterioration. Shouldn't they should be at the forefront making cutting-edge worship records giving Hillsong Worship, Bethel Music, and Natalie Grant a run for their money?
Instead what we get over the last few years are a cover album with a dated country sound, a maudlin-sounding Christmas offering, and now a record of hymns? Coming from the perspective of a fan, it is painful to see how Point of Grace, who used to be the reigning female quartet of CCM, are slowly bowing out. In their prime, Point of Grace could no no wrong. Seen as the CCM's Wilson Phillips in the 90s, every thing that the ladies put their voices to became a #1 record. According to the omniscient Wikipedia, between the years 1993 to 2001, none of the ladies' singles missed the #1 spot!
Despite one's qualms about the ladies' change in focus, "Beautiful Name" is still a shinning lodestar. With over 20 years of singing harmonies together, the way the ladies begin "All Creatures of our God and King" is just breathtakingly gorgeous. Though "He Leadeth Me" is a tried and true hymn, the way the ladies re-arranged the the song gives it a more contemporary worship feel, something worthy of worship leaders to emulate as far as updating the old hymns for today's congregations. Nevertheless, a little overdone is the Gettys'"In Christ Alone." Hence, it's a little difficult to get enthused over it despite the ladies' flawless rendition.
But as the album's titular indicates, this is not merely a hymn records. Point of Grace also put their signature harmonies on Hillsong's Grammy winning "What a Beautiful Name." Then they offer a subdued version of Twila Paris' "How Beautiful." Without fanfare and theatrics, with just sincerity and earnestness the ladies' performance lives up to its titular. "The Power of Love," the album's solo never released song, is a pensive ballad with a dynamic chorus. Not bad but not exceptional either.
Sure, this album will definitely sell. Fans of Point of Grace will definitely grab copies off Lifeway Bookstore. And pundits of hymns and those who love easy listening Christian music will find much to savor. But will this album extend the legacy of Point of Grace? Will this album win younger and newer fans? Hardly. Let's hope this is just a phase; these girls are far too talented to be disciples of Barry Manilow.