Prime Cuts: When You Look at Me, Go Down Again, Best of Forever
Overall Grade: 4.5/5
While many Southern Gospel acts pride themselves for doing cover songs, this is not so with the Wisecarvers. They have taken the road less travelled by penning all (save for one) tracks on their latest release. Not only that, the Wisecarvers have deviated from the 10-song norm by generously offering 12 selections. And they are handsomely rewarded with their latest Sonlite release "Silhouette," which is arguably their best record to date. With the liberty of carving their own tunes, they have been able to unravel unique spins on topics sometimes barely covered by the genre. Even a cursory glance at the song titles is telling. Titulars like "Silhouette," "Manufactured Smiles," and "Potter's Wheel" immediately wax intrigue, whetting our appetites to want to listen to how the narratives of each of these songs will unfold.
The Wisecarvers are steadily becoming known as one of Christian music's most dynamic groups. What started as singing a few songs at family reunions and local churches has now blossomed into a worldwide ministry, reaching not only the United States, but into Puerto Rico, Canada, and the Netherlands. This tight knit family has released a steady stream of chart topping singles, including originally penned songs "Just To Save Me," "Turn Back Time," "I Need You," "Falling In Place", "Plain And Simple", and Singing News Top 10 radio hits "Don't You Think You Ought To Worship Me" and "It Was Jesus!"
Carpe Diem gets a Godly overdose with "Begin with You." Urging us to seize each opportunity to praise the Lord lest we may never get the chance again, "Begin with You" is a great opener not only for this record but also for our everyday. While many Gospel groups have sung about the grace of God, "Best of Forever" capitalises on the sharp contrast between what we deserve and what God has given to stunning effect, heightened by Chase Wisecarver's passionate delivery. The bluegrassy ballad "When You Look at Me" -a heartfelt prayer to live out the Gospel - is the emotional nerve of the album.
The words of John the Baptist that Jesus must increase while we must decrease bubble underneath the bouncy title cut "Silhouette." Kudos to the Wisecarvers for their creative retelling of the Biblical story of Namaan on the piano ballad "Go Down Again." Like a sermon captured in song, "Manufactured Smiles" speaks of how Jesus can see through all the facades we put up before people. "Potter's Wheel" and "Someone Else's Valley" are two pensive ballads which are okay but a tad melodically diffused at various parts of the songs.
The only familiar track here is the album closer "Amazing Grace." Featuring an extended harmonica introduction, the team have imbued this John Newton hymn with a bluesy overtone awash with some delightful churchy organ flourishes. And to end the album with the repeated refrain "praise God" brings the record to a full circle of worship. Overall, because the Wisecarvers write their own songs, they have ways of imparting their own unique and creative perspectives into their songs. This makes "Silhouette" does stand head and shoulder above many releases. If you want something refreshing and engaging, you won't go wrong with "Silhouette."