Prime Cuts: Your Son, Thank You for This Day, It's a God Thing
Overall Grade: 5/5
Chris Golden brings us back to the golden age of country music in the 90s. Every track on "Grateful" not only has a strong melodic line but they are hummable within a couple of listens. Unlike many of today's songs which ride on well-worn cliches and fragmented thoughts, Golden relies on the marrow of country music: the use of well-spun narrative plots. These songs have a way of draw us into the unfolding of the song's stories. Within a matter of seconds, we find ourselves entangled in the narrative's web as if it were part of our own story. Yet, what makes "Grateful" even more endearing is that these songs speak of God and how the Gospel works its work within the happenstances of ordinary folks like you and me.
Golden is by no means a novice in music. He is son of Oak Ridge Boys' William Golden and he has done his share in touring with the Oak Ridge Boys, Alabama, and Restless Heart. In the late 80s and 90s, he and his brother Rusty were part of the short lived duo The Goldens. Together, they placed three singles on the Billboard Country Singles chart. Golden was also brought up in an environment of spiritual significance. His grandmother, Rutha Mae Golden, is given acknowledgement for her authority in his growth as a Christian. Golden gave his heart to the Lord around age 13 at a revival in south Alabama. Though he strayed from God's path along his journey, Golden returned back to the fold in 1997.
"Grateful" is Golden's debut country Christian album and it features 10 heart warmers."Your Son" is the album's gem. A sublime ballad that strings together of stories of how we can erase hate by treating our enemies as our own sons. The song hits right at the heart with the crescendo when we are placed in God's shoes and how we have treated God's son by crucifying Jesus on the cross. If you listen intently to this song, it will leave you breathless in repentance. Everything on "Thank You Lord for this Day" works - the soft rock percussion, Golden's jubilant delivery, the Eagles-esque guitar riffs, and even the Gospel-ish backing vocals.
God's sovereignty is celebrated on the melodious country ballad "If Not for You," while Golden is at his emotional best on the heart-on-your-sleeve "Wash Away." In his heyday, George Strait would have coveted "It's a God Thing." A tear-jerker of a ballad of how God intervenes in cases where medical science has put roadblocks, this is faith-building stuff at its best. Perhaps autobiographical of his own journey is "Prodigals." For those of us who grown up in the Bible belt in the south will relate to how the religious trappings of such a milieu will not save us except for a personal encounter with Christ.
Golden colors outside the lines with the folkie pseudo-bluegrass romp "Let My Life be a Light." Then he gives us a slightly accelerated Gospel-ish rendition of the hymn "Just a Little Talk with Jesus" which features some gorgeous interaction between Golden and a passionate choir. If you think that music has lost its melody, this album will provide you wrong. Every song here is stellar and safe to say, this album will not make you want to press the skip button.