Review: Greater Vision – The Only Way

While not the first Daywind CD from Greater Vision since Chris Allman rejoined, this is the much anticipated first album of (mainly) new material of the Allman era, part 2.

Tracks:

  1. He Didn’t When He Could Have Passed By – Written by Rodney Griffin, the album kicks off with this uptempo number that has a bit of a Cajun feel to it.  The group sings the first verse and chorus together, then Gerald Wolfe takes the second verse as a solo.  After another chorus, the key changes and Chris Allman takes the lead.  Allman keeps the melody through the next chorus which lends for some really low harmony on the first half of the chorus.  After taking the key up another half step, Rodney takes the melody for the first half of the chorus which is a better overall sound.  There’s a moderately high tag to end the song.  It’s a very upbeat song and a great opener.  9.5/10
  2. Safe Within His Arms – One of the advantages of Chris Allman rejoining the group is found with this song.  It’s a slower, midtempo tune penned by Allman.  Having another songwriter in the group will pay (and already is paying) dividends in that it will keep their projects from falling into too much of a rut, as has been mildly criticized about Greater Vision in recent years.  Allman keeps the melody all through the song, and there is just something special about hearing a songwriter perform a song that he or she has written.  There is a genuineness and a care paid to the delivery that someone who didn’t write the song can’t hope to convey.  This is one of the stronger songs on the CD.  9.5/10
  3. No Longer Chained – This song, written by Rodney Griffin, pulls a major fakeout on the listener.  The intro to the song will make you expect a big ballad with huge orchestrations, then the last line of the intro reverts to a mid to uptempo light tempo.  DBM correctly pointed out in his review that the chorus of this song is nearly identical to “He’s Still Waiting By The Well”, but where that song was an in your face barn burner, this one is given a much more mellow treatment, even if the rhythm and tempo are similar.  The song tells a story of a Roman soldier that is assigned to the apostle Paul in his later years, and serves as a metaphor that sharing our testimony can cause others to be freed in Christ.  It’s a solid song.  8.5/10
  4. I Know A Man Who Can – Wow.  All I will say is Jack Campbell and Jimmie Davis’ classic is absolutely lit on fire and scorched by Chris Allman.  Nothing else I say will aptly describe this.  Can I give it a 15? 10/10
  5. He’s The Only Way – This is an uptempo number penned by both Griffin and Allman.  On an album where uptempo songs are a bit scarce, this is a good one.  Lyrically it pulls no punches, plainly stating that Christ is “the only way to life everlasting.”  In a world of so-called “tolerance, acceptance, and open-mindedness” the song serves as a much needed dose of truth.  It starts with two iterations of the chorus before the group takes the first verse together.  The second verse is done by Rodney Griffin.  After the subsequent chorus, the key changes and Chris Allman takes the third verse before surrendering the melody back to Griffin on the chorus.  A little interlude with each member taking solo lines a la “My Name Is Lazarus” precedes a key change and Allman taking the melody.  This is really good song and would make a good single for radio.  9/10
  6. Like I Wish I’d Lived – Penned by Rodney Griffin, this is the first single from the project.  Like others have said, the choice puzzles me a bit.  The song itself is fine, it’s a ballad that is sung by Chris Allman that calls the listener to live a holy life, or a life “like I wish I’d lived in the past.”  It’s a good message, and a good performance by Allman, but it seems really subdued for a radio song.  Still, a good song with a great message.  8/10
  7. But God – Rodney Griffin and Twila LaBar wrote this song that was originally recorded by Legacy 5.  Gerald Wolfe takes the lead on this song and turns in a typically solid, workmanlike performance.  Wolfe is one of the most consistent performers in SG, you know exactly what you will get from him, and you know it will be good.  This is another ballad that features good solos on the verses from Wolfe and some nice smooth harmony from the group on the chorus.  Though Wolfe tends to take the baritone part more often these days, Greater Vision still sounds REALLY good with Gerald on the lead and Rodney on baritone.  Another solid song.  8/10
  8. We Still Have To Pray – This Rodney Griffin ballad comes with an interesting message, but a good one.  Even when we are staying in a close walk with God, we still have to pray and keep that close communication open.  Prayer isn’t just needed in the hard times, but when things are going well too.  Griffin gives a tender and poignant vocal on a really strong set of lyrics.  There’s not anything flashy here, no high ending, no “fancy” harmonies, just good singing that puts the focus squarely on the lyrics of this song.  8.5/10
  9. Eternity’s About To Begin – Chris Allman wrote this song that picks the pace back up a bit after the previous three ballads.  This one has a bit of a black gospel feel to it.  Rodney Griffin takes the melody after Allman gets things started.  This is a really catchy tune that would probably do very well as a single.  9/10
  10. Heaven Can’t Be Far Away – This Steve Hurst penned tune was done previously by the group and is revived here.  Gerald Wolfe reprises his lead vocal from the original.  It’s a solid cover, but not quite up to the original.  8.5/10
  11. Another Child’s Coming Home – The disc ends with this ballad from Chris Allman.  It’s a take on story of the prodigal that Allman sings very tenderly.  Like Wolfe, Allman is a great communicator of a message in song, and he shows that ability on this song.  Like “We Still Have To Pray”, there’s not a whole lot of flash or pizzazz to this arrangement, but it’s a good lyric that is presented very well by Allman and the group.  8.5/10

Overall:  9  Since Chris Allman returned to Greater Vision, fans have been waiting for their new “mainline” style project to see what kind of an influence Chris would have in their future direction.  That has been settled with this project.  The group has been given a breath of fresh air, and Gerald Wolfe produced a tremendous album.  Wolfe is one of our most recognizable voices, and carries his part with an air of precision and excellence.  Rodney Griffin gets a lot of attention for his songwriting, and deservedly so, but Griffin has developed into quite an effective vocalist in his own right, and as the years have gone by, he’s taken more and more of the higher lead notes while Wolfe has deferred to the baritone part.  Rodney is a solid singer as well as one of our top songwriters.  As I have said previously, Chris Allman stepped out of a time machine set on about 1995.  He has seemingly lost none of his range, and if anything his voice has matured and improved over the last 15 years or so.  He really brings a fresh energy to the group, almost as much for his songwriting contributions as his vocals.  I do wish there had been more uptempo songs included, as the project seems to drag some after “The Only Way”, but that’s a minor complaint.  Greater Vision fans, and SG fans in general, do not want to miss out on this project.  It’s a great effort that will provide a lot of listening enjoyment and some timely messages.

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About Wes Burke
I'm a .NET developer and Southern Gospel music fan. Married with a wonderful family.

2 Responses to Review: Greater Vision – The Only Way

  1. David J. Stuart says:

    Thanks Wes for the review. It is a very good project, i ordered it when they had the pre-orders cds.

  2. Josh says:

    I love “Like I Wish I’d Lived”. If it’s the worst song on the album, this album must be excellent.

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