Prime Cuts: I'll See You at the House, Only Jesus, I Have It All
Overall Grade: 5/5
Size doesn't really matter when it comes to LeFevre Quartet's new record "Ascending." Fans who feel duped that this new New Day/Daywind product only contains 8 songs will feel compensated as soon as the first note starts. Despite the album coming down on the shorter side in terms of playing time and the number of cuts, there are virtually no fillers here. Every song is a winner. In fact, each of these 8 contributions is worthy to be a stand alone single. You won't find a sluggish same-ness rearing its head as the album rolls along. Each track, in fact, is imbued with its own individuality packed with its own message and its own memorable arches.
Part of the album's success is to be credited to helmsman Wayne Haun. It's amazing where Haun finds the time. Besides being the honcho at StowTown records, he also virtually produces and co-writes for most of the imprint's artists. To see his name surfacing again as one of the co-writers and as producer of this New Day/Daywind release is astounding. But a listen of the opening track, a co-write of Haun, reveals why Haun is such a sort-after studio chief. "I Have It All," a majestic piece that testifies to the all-sufficiency of Jesus, is heightened with a bombastic orchestral sounds that is so appropriately worshipful.
Without allowing for predictability, "Revival" takes a country Oak Ridge Boys-esque detour with the stacked up harmonies and an old-fashioned church feel. Doing the edification of the church a service, "An Old Rugged Cross" is a careful tracing of the theme of redemption across the Bible that is a "must hear" for those who wonder how the stories of Scripture are connected. Make sure you have some Kleenex at hand when you listen to the piano ballad "I'll See You at the House," a heart tugging about saying goodbye with the hope of heaven foregrounded. This is truly an A+ ballad.
"Sailing Away" and "Sun's Gonna come up" take a recess from the emotional heftiness set by the preceding song. While "Sailing Away" has a jaunty jazzed-up boasting some delightful piano chops, "Sun's" is more Southern Gospel standard fare. "Only Jesus," as the titular song says, is a powerful worship number entered around the goodness of our Lord. Again, it is Haun's deftly use of orchestra that drives the song to its ovation.
LeFevre Quartet's debut release for New Day/Daywind records certainly exceeds one's expectations. Covering an array of styles, with words that move the heart, and backings that are appropriately sublime, this album is hands down excellent. Every song on this 8-song album passes with great honor.