Word Label Group
Release Date: April 7th 2015
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
- Life That’s Good
- Only Love
- Directions Home
- Something in the Water
- Friend of a Wounded Heart
- Lord, I Need You
- You’re Gonna Miss This
- Two Roads
- The Climb
Forming as an all-female vocal group more than 20 years ago, Point of Grace have delivered powerful and heartfelt melodies and wowed us more times than we can imagine. Their stirring radio singles and poignant, reflective ballads have touched the lives of many, with songs such as “How You Live”, “Steady On”, “Gather At The River”, “Keep The Candle Burning”, “Blue Skies”, “You Will Never Walk Alone”, “Day By Day” and “I Choose You” each earning a place in our hearts as we hear such honesty and utter devotion to Jesus Christ. Having released their all new original album A Thousand Little Things in 2012, the trio of Leigh Cappillino, Denise Jones and Shelley Breen, who share vocals on all of their songs, are now releasing a special project this upcoming week, their first covers album Directions Home, featuring hits from artists like Matt Maher, Wayne Watson, Miley Cyrus, Phillip Phillips and Carrie Underwood.
“…when we were discussing what kind of record we wanted to create, we really wanted to do something we hadn’t done before. In our live shows, familiar songs seem to bring the people in and we love singing them. This was a chance for us to record both older songs and newer songs that we love and that listeners know…” Recording a covers album can be tough, especially when there’s always a chance that an artist can completely screw up an original version of a song, or even screw up many songs. However this record is indeed recorded to perfection, as all three vocalists beautifully sing in harmony and create unique versions and representations of their favourite songs and melodies meaning the most to them during their current season of walking with God. With ‘…some of them [the 10 songs] extremely spiritual that helped us in our faith and some of them just very poignant that helps us reflect upon family and friends and loving life…’, to Denise, Shelley and Leigh, these songs had a common denominator, of ‘…a journey, a direction, a place…’; therefore the underlying interwoven theme of us moving toward the place God has prepared for us is evident in these overt and covert songs about Christ. With Ricky Skaggs and Vince Gill both lending their sublime voices to this collaborative project; Directions Home is a unique album worth many listens, as we soak in the presence of God and worship Him for who He is.
Starting of the album with the calm, serene and reflective acoustic guitar country themed ballad “Life That’s Good”, the powerful and captivating melody includes exquisite strings and piano creating a layered and full country sound that is quite reminiscent of many later country themed Point Of Grace songs! Originally performed by Lennon and Maisy on the TV show Nashville; Shelly, Denise and Leigh brilliantly sing in harmony as we are presented with a song about setting our priorities about what is important in life. While Jesus isn’t referenced, the main heart and soul of this soon-to-be timeless classic (yep, I’m already claiming that this song will be big in a few years or even sooner!) refers to the fact that our lives shouldn’t be measured by the money we have or our statuses amongst our friends. As Point Of Grace eloquently and honestly convey in the heartfelt chorus, that all they want, hold dear and long for are ‘…two arms around me, heaven to ground me and a family that always calls me home; four wheels to get there, enough love to share and a sweet, sweet, sweet song…’, we are given plenty of questions to think about, and meaty issues to ponder. Well done girls for making this song your own, and for indirectly promoting the hit ABC TV show (which is my opinion is one of the most underrated shows airing currently, and a favourite TV show of mine as well!)
When an album has a great first song, you often wonder if that same calibre and intensity carries through to the rest of the album. But you needn’t wonder here, as Point Of Grace hold nothing back in their vocal delivery and heartfelt expressions towards God. Their first single is the pop/country overtly Christian melody “Something In The Water” that sounds identical musically to Carrie Underwood’s popular smash hit from last year, which is fitting, as personally no one can top Carrie’s explosive theatrical version and her courageous music video, though listening to this version still brings a smile to my face at how much more open mainstream listeners are to Christianity in music than I thought. With a driving bass line and earnest lyrics depicting a salvation story and testimony, we are ministered to and given a statement of faith to proclaim, with the trio ardently expressing that they are ‘…singing along to amazing grace, can’t nobody wipe this smile off my face, got joy in my heart, angels on my side, thank God almighty, I saw the light…’; a fact that we can all declare in the light of Jesus’ death and subsequent resurrection for our sins.
The oldest song on the album, Wayne Watson’s “Friend Of A Wounded Heart”, was also recorded by Avalon in 2008, and this version is beautifully sung as well (though not as grandiose and musically anthemic and epic), as we hear a subdued, comteplative acoustic guitar ballad depicting how Jesus is a friend of everyone, especially those who are hurting, as ‘…Jesus, He meets you where you are, oh, Jesus, He heals your secret scars, all the love you’re longing for is Jesus, the friend of a wounded heart…’. Point Of Grace also cover Matt Maher’s worship single “Lord I Need You”, a lyrically simple yet effective melody that points us to Jesus as the One who we need, that He is ‘…my One defence, my righteousness…’. Though while there are some impressive tracks outlining the trio’s faith in God, we are also presented with songs highlighting key life lessons applicable to everyone.
“You’re Gonna Miss This”, originally recorded by Trace Adkins, is a simple, haunting and moving piano ballad similar in theme to “Cinderella” by Steven Curtis Chapman as Shelley, Leigh and Denise brilliantly remind us not to wish for the moments in life in the future where we think we will be happy. Time doesn’t stop for anyone, and this song in particular gently reminds us to make every moment count and to not take it for granted, because as strange as it sounds, we may even miss the parts of our life right now that we find to not make sense and are insignificant, or the parts of our life that are busy. Why would we want to essentially wish our life away when we can find beauty in the chaos and in the ashes?
Wynonna Judd’s “Only Love” is a mysterious, moving and vibrant country themed mid-tempo melody where the trio beautifully express that it is only Love, and in particular the Love of God, that makes life worth living and helps us out in a tight spot; while the energetic, celebratory raucous electric guitar themed almost worship like song “Home”, by previous American Idol winner Phillip Phillips is a gem of a cover, as Point Of Grace fervently and ardently reveal to us that friends can help each other out in certain situations, that ‘…the trouble, it might drag you down, if you get lost, you can always be found, just know you’re not alone, cause I’m gonna make this place your home…’. The ambiguity of the song (it could be God singing down to us) is also what makes the melody appealing as it speaks to anyone of all different faiths, and I applaud Point Of Grace for including an inspiring melody like this in the album. Speaking about inspiring melodies, the album closer “The Climb” originally by Miley Cyrus, is the perfect way to end a musically diverse yet lyrically and thematically focused project, as the girls sing in harmony via an acapella like track driven by the piano, and we delve into the theme of being strong and climbing above and beating every adversity that comes our way.
The final two melodies are original songs sung with Vince Gill (the title track “Directions Home”) and Ricky Skaggs (“Two Roads”). “Two Roads”, co-written with Cindy Morgan, is as confrontational as you can be, as the banjo infused country mid tempo ballad brilliantly features the trio and Ricky singing in harmony as they remind us that ‘…two roads stand before you, which one will you choose, you got one eye on the devil, and God’s got His eye on you, wide is the way of the wicked, but bright is the way of the truth, in the end, sink or swim, the choice is up to you…’, a warning for each of us to stand for Christ wholeheartedly and make a decision if we’re undecided before it’s too late, before Jesus comes back (which could be today or tomorrow!). While the slower paced ballad title track beautifully conveys the heart and soul of the album. With Vince wonderfully fitting in with Point Of Grace as they sing in perfect harmony, we delve into the theme of coming back home physically, emotionally, and spiritually. We are asked the question where is home and what does it look like, and it’s a fitting question to ask, as it allows us to be more transparent and ask what it is we want out of life. Kudos to Point Of Grace for including this song on their album, and I hope and pray that by the end of the 40 odd minutes, we can all find directions home back to Jesus if we have strayed, or at least solidify our position of being at home with Jesus.
“…Our goal was to make the music we love in a style we are confident we can deliver. The common denominator here is that life is good. These are fun, happy songs. This is a happy record…” With an amazing repertoire of songs already recorded, Directions Home is an album to be savoured, and listened to again and again. Shelley, Leigh and Denise have sung their hearts out, and made the cover versions their own. Having me very excited for the next full length all original album (in 2016 maybe?), you will not be disappointed when you listen to this project, even though it only contains 2 original songs. Well done girls, for a sublime effort, and I hope many people are blessed by your efforts!
3 songs to listen to: Something In The Water, Home, Two Roads
RIYL: Carrie Underwood, Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, Steven Curtis Chapman, Avalon