Dennis Quaid – Fallen: A Gospel Record For Sinners

Gaither Music Group

Release Date: July 28th 2023

Reviewed by: Joshua Andre

Dennis Quaid– Fallen: A Gospel Record For Sinners (Amazon mp3/iTunes)

Track Listing (plus songwriters):

  1. Fallen (Dennis Quaid)
  2. Please Don’t Give Up On Me (Dennis Quaid)
  3. Why Me Lord (Kris Kristofferson)
  4. God Gets Lonely Too (Dennis Quaid)
  5. Just as I Am (Charlotte Elliott and William B. Bradbury)
  6. Amazing Grace (John Newton)
  7. Life’s Railway to Heaven (M.E. Abbey and Charles D. Tillman)
  8. On My Way to Heaven (Dennis Quaid)
  9. What A Friend We Have in Jesus (Charles C. Converse and Joseph M. Scriven)
  10. The Lord’s Prayer
  11. Welcome Home (Dennis Quaid)
  12. I’ll Fly Away (Albert E. Brumley)

With the way that music is going right now- exponentially and into the stratosphere in terms of the amount of music being made and the ever-widening expansion and creation of new genres, I think I’ve made a decision. I probably won’t keep up with many more ‘newer’ artists, period. I know, I know, it was bound to happen someday. But sooner or later, you need to start coming back to your childhood and listening to the music that was special to you when you grew up as a kid. And for me, that’s music (Christian and mainstream) from the 90’s, 2000’s and 2010’s. I didn’t grow up in the 80’s, but music from the 80’s was foundational in who I am as a person as well. As for music from the 2020’s, there’s this… generational gap if you will. Newer artists are objectively talented, that’s for sure. There’s no doubting that. But they’re a generation below me and I can’t relate to them at all. Well… probably not as strong as ‘not at all’, but I rarely connect with the newer music artist of now.

Ultimately, I will probably keep revisiting the artists that shaped me and moulded me as a person- Carman, Delirious?, Newsboys, Third Day, Rebecca St. James, Natalie Grant, MercyMe, Casting Crowns, Crowder, Chris Tomlin, Tenth Avenue North, Switchfoot, Needtobreathe, Skillet, For KING & COUNTRY, Guy Sebastian, Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, Delta Goodrem, The Corrs, U2, Ronan Keating, Pentatonix, OneRepublic, Cimorelli, Hanson, John Farnham, Keith Urban, Lecrae, Bebo Norman, Avalon, Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift, Train, The Goo Goo Dolls… there are loads more and more that I haven’t thought about or even considered. But these types of artists, are artists that I’ll keep coming back to. They’re the artists that will stand the test of time. Perhaps I’ll dive into the artists of a similar age to me, like Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez, Jonas Brothers, Hilary Duff and probably very early Miley Cyrus, not to mention others I may have forgotten from their Disney channel days in the 2000’s; but the point is that there comes a point when there is a disconnect from current music and that’s ok.

And so, it’s hard for me to review albums from this year because some are not resonating with me because of various reasons, but mainly because I’m from a different time than these artists. Am I showing my age. Probably. But it’s true. you only listen to what resonates with you and sometimes you have no time to explore new artists. You’re busy re-listening to your favourites, and that’s more than ok. but one such album that has taken me by storm and by my attention, is the hymns album Fallen: A Gospel Record For Sinners, a hymns album by actor Dennis Quaid. It’s an album that has reminded me that sometimes the simplest of albums tug at your heartstrings the most and that sometimes you don’t need the flash and the big and the bombastic. Sometimes all you need to be encouraged and inspired is God speaking through the whispers.

Dennis is a living legend when it comes to being an actor in Hollywood films. You can view his filmography here, and marvel at the fact that he has starred in films like The Rookie, Frequency, Flight Of The Phoenix, The Parent Trap, The Day After Tomorrow, Soul Surfer, Yours Mine And Ours, A Dog’s Purpose, A Dog’s Journey, I Can Only Imagine, The Alamo and Any Given Sunday to name a few; but to me, it was Dennis’s role in I Can Only Imagine, and his song “One My Way To Heaven” that made me gain immense respect for him as a person. With Dennis being vocal about his Christian faith and his testimony over the years; the pet passion project Fallen: A Gospel Record For Sinners released in July this year as a labour of love and an album directed to Dennis’ love of the hymns and of gospel music. And as I listen to 12 songs of fan favourites and originals, I’m not listening to a well-polished album. I’m not listening to a perfect singer. I’m probably not even listening to the most engaging of lyrics in terms of the original songs. By all accounts this should be a mediocre album. But… it isn’t. There’s something about this album that keeps me coming back and engaging with it over and over and over again. The Holy Spirit is over this album tenfold and then some more; and Dennis is just God’s vessel here for Him to do his work and for Him to draw people more to Himself and His glory.

I knew I was never gonna be able to shred a guitar, so songwriting was my defense. There was always a tune in my head. I think songwriting won’t leave you alone until you finish that one and then you go to the next one. It’s a wonderful affliction.

All the songs are about my spiritual path and issues that have been going on in my life and the road I walk. It’s a way to tell personal stories and disguise them a little bit. It’s a way to heal.

Because that’s what I am and what we all are [Fallen, why I named by album like that]. That’s the good news, things that we share and that we’re forgiven. Our sins are taken away no matter where you come from.

With Dennis covering the hit hymns such as “Just As I Am”, “Amazing Grace” (not “My Chains Are Gone” by Chris Tomlin but the original John Newton hymn), “What A Friend We Have in Jesus”, “The Lord’s Prayer”, “I’ll Fly Away” and the obscure “Life’s Railway To Heaven”; he also records a cover of Kris Kristofferson’s “Why Me Lord” that is actually quite magical, asking God for forgiveness and his divine help in order for him to live a life that is pleasing to God and glorifying to His name. In fact, all of the covers are brilliantly recorded. Sure, the songs are a little rough around the edges, but this is how gospel and folk and Americana and country should sound like. Pop music right now might be the ‘in’ thing. But in 20-30 years’ time, it’s albums like Dennis’s that will remain and will imprint most in the hearts and lives of many as people keep on searching for meaning and purpose and for God. And though Dennis excels at the covers, it truly is the 5 originals where he shines the most. The title track speaks about how Dennis is a fallen sinner and needs Jesus; while “Please Don’t Give Up On Me” has Dennis earnestly and fervently asking God not to give up on him and to stay by his side forever and ever. “God Gets Lonely Too” is a vivid description of creation and what God might have been thinking when He made humans, with Dennis alluding to the fact that He might have been ‘lonely’ in His own way despite being one with Jesus and The Holy Spirit; while “On My Way To Heaven”, a song 30 years in the making, was dedicated to his mother, and about how his eyes are fixed on Jesus and on eternity and not on the things of this world. Yet the most personal song to Dennis is “Welcome Home”, where his mother had a vision of heaven, and Dennis wrote about that experience in this track.

I don’t have to be so embarrassed about talking about personal things, because everybody goes through basically the same set of circumstances and emotions and events in their life that, for some reason, they don’t feel free to talk about. I think songwriting is a conversation with people. In my mind, it’s very cinematic. They’re stories. Music is fellowship.

I’m grateful to still be here, I’m grateful to be alive really every day. It’s important to really enjoy your ride in life as much as you can, because there’s a lot of challenges and stuff to knock it down.

I grew up at the Baptist church. I love the hymns that come from there. Then I’ve written some songs that are very much in the faith category. I guess what really spurred it was ‘On My Way to Heaven,’ which I wrote for my mom when I got out of what I call cocaine school back in 1990 to let her know I was OK, because I wasn’t OK before then. Addiction and all that. We used things to fill a hole inside us. That’s what we do.

It’s a struggle. We’re all looking for the joy of life, and drugs give that to you and alcohol and whatever it is for anybody give that to you really quick. Then they’re fun and then they’re fun with problems, and then they’re just problems after a while. That’s really what we’re looking for, the joy of life, which is our gift, actually, the relationship with God that we all have. It’s at the bottom of it, the joy of being alive.

I was basically doing cocaine pretty much on a daily basis during the ’80s. I spent many, many a night screaming at God to ‘Please take this away from me and I’ll never do it again, cause I’ve only got an hour before I have to be at work.’ Then at 4 o’clock in the afternoon, I’d go, ‘Oh it’s not so bad’. I remember going home [in 1990] and having a white light experience that I saw myself either dead or in jail or losing everything I had, and I didn’t want that.

I started developing that personal relationship [with God], so the songs started to come out. They’re self-reflective, self-examining yourself, and also just where you are spiritually and in life. They’re not churchy. That’s the thing I think I’m trying to get to. All of us have a relationship with God, whether we’re you’re a Christian or not. We all have a relationship with Him. It may not be good, or you may not even believe, but you’re still in relationship to that side of yourself.

Since the release of Fallen, Dennis Quaid has been sharing his story in many interviews. And from what I’ve seen, he is the real deal and a very genuine guy. He’s a true believer. He probably doesn’t have the eloquence of a pastor or a speaker like Louie Giglio or Steven Furtick. But Dennis has a real faith in Jesus and it shines through in spades on this album. As I said earlier, this hymns and gospel album isn’t a polished album. for that reason, I reckon many people may boycott this album- especially those who don’t like their famous Hollywood idols speaking out for Jesus. Regardless of your views though, I reckon you should give this project a chance. What do you have to lose? The worst is that you don’t like it. But should God speak to you and should your life be turned around, perhaps listening to a simple hymns album like this will be the most important decision you’ll make all year. Fallen isn’t perfect. It doesn’t claim to be so. But Dennis is preaching the word of God and for that, this album is necessary and needed. I don’t know what is next for Dennis at the moment. But even if it’s just one album… at least it’s an important album. and now, off to mine through Dennis’ filmography, and search for inspirational gems to watch or re-watch! Well done Dennis, I can’t wait to hear and see what God has in store for you in the future!

3 songs to listen to: God Gets Lonely too, On My Way To Heaven, Welcome Home

Score: 5/5

RIYL: Ernie Haase & Signature Sound, Jason Crabb, Steven Curtis Chapman, Newsong, Russ Taff, 4Him, Avalon

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