Review: The Dills – God Is In Control

This is the latest release from The Dills.  There are a couple of things that make this offering from Shawn, LeeAnn, Tim, and Bridget Dill a bit unique.  First, the tracks are done by two people.  Matthew Holt played piano on the tracks, and a gentleman named Gene Walden contributed all the other instrumentation.  Secondly is the approach to song selection.  Only two cuts on the CD are brand new songs.  The other cuts are a combination of obscure album cuts, classics, and requests.

Tracks:

  1. Rise Again – The CD starts off with this classic tune from the pen of Dallas Holm.  Tim Dill told me they didn’t want this to sound like every other cut of the song, and they succeeded in that.  The song is sped up to a solid medium tempo, and the intro is electric guitar driven instead of the classic piano introduction.  Shawn Dill takes the lead on this song and does a fine job on it.  The first chorus only has some background “oohs” from the rest of the group, while the successive choruses feature full group harmonies, which adds a little more color to the song.  Also, they’ve totally changed the ending of the song to feature a call-and-response type of tag that is different than any other version of this song.  It’s also the debut single from the CD and will be making its debut at #50 on the Singing News chart.  It’s a very well done and unique version of the classic tune.  Hey Tim, I still miss that 7th chord in the chorus!  🙂  8/10
  2. You Reign – Written by Mark Harris and Tony Wood, this song was originally recorded by the CCM group 4Him.  Bridget Dill takes the lead on a flowing 6/8 Praise and Worship styled tune.  I’ve always thought that this style really fits the Dills well, and my belief is reinforced by this cut.  The performance is great, the arrangement solid, and it’s one of the stronger songs on the CD.  8.5/10
  3. God Is In Control – This song was originally recorded by the CCM group Truth in the 1980s.  It is an acoustic guitar driven ballad that features Shawn Dill taking the lead, with some alternating duets with LeeAnn joining him, and some full group harmony lines in the verses as well.  While this song is 25 years old or so, the lyrics are possibly even more timely now than they were when the song was written.  It’s a great message of reassurance in these incredibly troubled time.  They released a video of the song on YouTube and use the video when they stage the song in concert.  Another really strong tune.  9/10
  4. If You Had Only Seen Me Then – This song was originally recorded by Mid-South in the early 1990s.  Penned by Robby McGee and Jerry Salley, this is an uptempo, country flavored tune that features Tim Dill on the verses.  Tim does a good job on the verses solo (with some harmony from the girls on the second verse), and Bridget and LeeAnn join him on the chorus.  The track features some nice dueling licks from Matthew Holt on piano and Gene Walden on guitar.  It’s a solid tune.  7/10
  5. The Church Will Remain – Written by Marty Funderburk and Matthew Grainger, this flowing ballad was originally recorded by Lordsong.  Shawn Dill steps up to take the lead on this song.  The song is a great message of encouragement to the body of Christ.  The vocals are very smooth, with some nice movements and chord progressions.  This is another nice cut.  8/10
  6. The Most Unlikely People – This is the first of only two brand new songs on the disc.  Written by Tony Wood, Joel Lindsey, and John Lemonis, this bouncy midtempo number features LeeAnn Dill.  Lyrically this song has a familiar theme of God using common people for extraordinary purposes.  LeeAnn’s vocal is spot on, the song and arrangement really fit her voice well.  The key change in the bridge is well done too.  This is a song that can easily get stuck in your head.  8.5/10
  7. These Hands – This is the other new song on the CD.  Ericka Harvey, Chris Binion, and Steve Marshall contributed this mid to uptempo tune.  This also has a bit of a P&W feel to both the lyrics and music.  Tim sings the first verse, the chorus features the full group, then Bridget takes the second verse.  It’s another solid song.  7/10
  8. The Prayer – This tune from the pen of Carol Bayer Sager and David Foster has been recorded by everyone from Josh Groban and Charlotte Church to David Phelps and Lauren Talley.  Shawn and Bridget have been singing this song for several years, but until now their only recording was on a quickly produced EP from several years ago.  The track by Matthew Holt and Gene Walden is very well done.  Shawn and Bridget turn in a performance that can stand up against any.  I’ve always enjoyed hearing them sing this song, and it’s nice to have it on CD.  10/10
  9. It’s Only The First Time – This is another flowing acoustic ballad that features Tim Dill.  Written by Kimberly McLean and Michael Puryear, this is another song that was originally recorded by Mid-South.  Tim does a nice job on this song, and the chorus features some really smooth, low harmony from the group.  It’s different to hear Shawn sing underneath Tim.  It’s a nice cut.  7.5/10
  10. End Of The Beginning – David Phelps’ popular tune is covered here by Shawn Dill.  This is another one that they have sung for quite a while, but other than the EP I mentioned earlier, they hadn’t recorded in an easily available form.  It’s a pretty formidable task to take on a song made popular by David Phelps, but Shawn turns in a very credible performance here.  There are some nice background harmonies from the rest of the group as well.  It ends the recording on a high note to be sure.  (Puns ALWAYS intended here!)  8/10

Overall:  8  The Dills took a bit of a different, experimental approach to this album.  They only recorded two new songs, and with the exception of “The Prayer” and “End Of The Beginning”, which they’d had several requests to make available on CD, and “Rise Again”, took the rest of the album to cover songs that would basically sound like new songs to most of their listeners.  It’s going to be interesting seeing what the response is to this approach.  While this project isn’t quite as strong as Story Of A Lifetime, which I consider to be their best album, they have still succeeded in creating an album that is a very enjoyable listen.  “God Is In Control” would make a great followup release to radio.  It’s also important to note again that the tracks are the product of two people.  Despite this fact, there is no slippage in the quality of these tracks versus their other efforts.  Kudos to both Matthew Holt and Gene Walden on producing some superb quality tracks.  The Dills, along with producers Matthew Holt, Gene Walden, and Eddie Harrison have produced a high quality CD that will provide some timely messages, solid vocal performances, and a lot of enjoyable listening.  Pick yourself up a copy!

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

One Response to Review: The Dills – God Is In Control

  1. Pingback: Saturday Catch-Up « Southern Gospel Review

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