Overall Grade: 5/5
Prime Cuts: This is the Place, Yes, Thought Getting Older
When Bill Gaither touted that "Good Things Take Time" is their best album yet, he wasn't lying. Rather than presenting a bloated album of humdrum material, GVB has taken the time to choose 12 top drawer songs. And instead of giving the songs a monolithic production making all them sound alike, producer Gordon Mote dresses each song with individuality. Thus, you get 12 distinct songs each with its own unique messages and sounds. Comprised of Bill Gaither, Reggie Smith, Wes Hampton, Adam Crabb & Todd Suttle, GVB has chosen to put their unique twist to gospel classics "Child of the King" and "Revive Us Again" while offering new gems including "Jesus Is Everywhere" and the inspiring ballad "This Is the Place."
GVB has been making music since the early 80s when four men gathered around a piano before a Bill Gaither Trio concert and began harmonizing on the quartet classic "Your First Day in Heaven." More than a quarter century later, the list of men who have comprised the GVB over the years reads like a "Who's Who" among gospel music's best-loved male voices. One of the most lauded and award-winning groups in gospel music garnering five GRAMMY® nominations, two GRAMMY® Awards and 18 Dove Awards.
The Irish flute and tingling piano intro of "Child of the King" bring out a layer of refreshing beauty out of this classic gospel classic. Not ones to be stymied in predictability, the R&B snappy beats and the Stevie Wonder-inspired synth of "Going Up Yonder" certainly give heaven a swirling Motown makeover. Keying in on their signature balladry sound is their new single "There is a Place." Be prepared to worship along when they powerfully proclaim "Holy holy Holy God Almighty, Emmanuel." While "There is a Place" is a power-gem, "Hear My Song" is a gorgeous stripped down affair with just the team's harmony and light percussion.
"Yes" is one of the album's many highlights. Featuring a A+ melody that rides on a country backing, "Yes" is a song of commitment to the Lord that gives no recesses to doubt or fear. Be prepared to smile on the wistful (and acutely humorous) "Thought Getting Older." Again without restrained by a template, "Jesus is Everywhere" is the album's most adventurous piece. Featuring a swampy-blues melody and an intriguing story line, "Jesus is Everywhere" tells of how a protagonist walked into a church one Christmas night and suddenly realized the presence of Jesus. The attention paid to the story's details is what makes "Jesus is Everywhere" a standout.
There's not a soporific moment on this record. Every song on this set is an individually crafted gem; they are each given their own opportunity to shine. And in this regard, this is an album that will make us listening again and again for a long time. Bill Gaither is not only right that this is GVB's best, it's also one of the best Gospel releases this year.