Lucid Artist Management
Release Date: September 9th 2016
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
- Leaning On the Everlasting Arms
- Down At The Cross
- Nothing But The Blood
- Victory In Jesus
- On Christ The Solid Rock
- Blessed Assurance
- Rejoice The Lord Is King
- Grace That Is Greater
- The Love Of God
- I Surrender All
“…many times God calls us to remember, so we’re doing that. As we mark two and half decades of music and ministry, we want to thank the many friends, gifted writers, and musicians who have travelled this road of grace with us…” Having this year in 2016 commemorated their 25th year as a band, as well as their 25th number one hit song (in “Let It Be Known”), the southern gospel vocal trio Phillips, Craig And Dean (consisting of pastors Randy Phillips, Shawn Craig and Dan Dean- each a pastor at three different churches in America) have recently released their new album Hymns And Psalms, consisting of their own spin and take on well-known and loved classics and some obscure melodies as well. Known for their powerful and compelling worship ballads, and their cover songs that never fail to astound and amaze me time and time again (inclusive of their mega radio singles “Revelation Song” and “When The Stars Burn Down (Blessing And Honour)”), this album is no different to their many, many successful and popular albums released previously, with plenty of God breathed and Holy Spirit inspired moments. Veterans in the worship music industry, Phillips, Craig And Dean have created a stellar and engaging album, as Hymns And Psalms combines the energetic and enthusiastic heart for Jesus that each of the three vocalists have, a fresh and relevant musical sound, as well as the musical prowess of producer Chris Bevins. If you’re not a fan of the PCD guys, then there’s no album like this one to start listening, especially when you will be immersed straight into some already known tracks!
With the album containing quite a few unfamiliar songs as well as mostly ‘popular’ hymns, Shawn, Randy and Dan brilliantly perform each track to perfection, and deliver quality versions deserving of repeat listens. Opening with a jazz atmosphere and plenty of brass and horns, the 70’s and 80’s throwback inspired hymn “Leaning On The Everlasting Arms” is also the album opener, with the track in my opinion being fit for the dance floor. As the trio reiterate that we’re ‘…safe and secure from all alarm, leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms…’, we are also reminded that Jesus has saved us, therefore we can lean on Him at all times no matter what our circumstances. “Nothing But The Blood” is another album highlight, as the piano and synth led mid-tempo ballad engages and captivates thoroughly, highlighting the fact that nothing can navigate us through life, and nothing can save us in this world…except for the blood of Jesus Christ. A comforting and also confronting notion, that we can’t save ourselves by our own efforts, but only by Jesus Christ, Phillips Craig And Dean inspire and encourage in this powerful album of timeless classics.
Probably one of the most famous hymns ever is “The Solid Rock”, and on this album, the trio do not disappoint with their unequivocally and wholeheartedly inspiring and captivating version, brilliantly led by keys and synth. With the trio relaying the fact that it is Jesus who we can stand on in times of trouble that ‘…all other ground is sinking sand…’, as well as the fact that Jesus is unbreakable and unshakable (in a catchy all-original bridge!); “The Solid Rock” segues into the electric guitar led slow tempo ballad and worship anthem “Blessed Assurance”, with the band crying out that we can be assured that ‘…I’m filled with His goodness, and lost in His love, this is my story, this is my song, praising my Saviour all the day long…’.
Yet another familiar anthem is the keyboard led inspiring and motivational “Grace That Is Greater” (previously recorded and ‘modernised’ by Building 429 in 2007), with the trio ardently and fervently relaying across stirring keys and guitar that Jesus’ grace is greater than all of our sin (a fact that even Christians need to be fully aware of, so that we can live truly free and alive!), while we are also introduced to a cover of MercyMe’s 2002 hit “The Love Of God”, with is a 4 minute vivid description of what the love of God looks like (using imagery, similes, metaphors and the like). A track that is indeed out of left field on this track list, the trio’s vocals stand out especially here, and carry this version to lofty heights, and much more of a heightened sense of enjoyability in my opinion.
“Victory In Jesus” is one of the most enjoyable renditions of hymns on this album, as the band channel their inner country/soul/funk genres, like artists Unspoken, newworldson and Salvador, with the infusion of plenty of horns and trumpets colliding with the notion of how we are set free in Jesus by the blood of the Lamb. As we can evidently can tell that the band had tons of fun on this song especially, Phillips Craig And Dean depart from channelling Unspoken/newworldson/Salvador to now Rend Collective and Selah (yep, at the same time!) in “Down At The Cross”, a fun filled guitar led mid-tempo ballad about how we can worship God, at all times, and in all places.
While “Rejoice The Lord Is King”, a keys led 80’s and 90’s inspired melody, seems out of place, as it sounds like a patriotic song (even though I know that it isn’t!)- there is nevertheless a place for the song here, an overt worship song encouraging us to worship our God because He is Lord and the King of everything. The 10-track album them ends with the chilling, piano only “I Surrender All”, a brilliant way to end a thoroughly enjoyable album, as Phillips Craig And Dean ardently cry out that they surrender all to Jesus, because of the love they have for Him and His unending faithfulness. Well done guys for a solid and compelling album that deserves plenty more listens before the year ends!
While I haven’t fully listened that much to a Phillips, Craig And Dean album from start to finish before (aside from Above It All), Hymns And Psalms has further changed that opinion greatly, as I appreciate this vocal trio more, and am ministered to by their music! These guys have been recording music for a while, and they don’t seem to be slowing down, which is great! There’s plenty of musical styles on this album, and I encourage you all to listen to these 10 songs of joy, praise to God, and adoration. Worship music at its finest, this is one of the best hymns albums of 2016, so dive in, and enjoy! You’ll especially love this album if you like artists like Newsong, Big Daddy Weave and Jason Crabb!
3 songs to listen to: Nothing But The Blood, Blessed Assurance, I Surrender All
RIYL: Newsong, Avalon, Selah, Jason Crabb, Ernie Haase And Signature Sound