Prime Cuts: Like I Wish I'd Lived, Faces, A Pile of Crowns
Greater Vision never opts to be minimalists. Even their band titular, Greater Vision, spells vastness, foresight, and boundless optimism. The last twenty five years have evidenced that the team have lived out their mandate in at least three ways. First, while some fans of artists have to wait years and years for their heroes to drop a new album. Over the last twenty five years, Greater Vision have perennially blessed their pundits with album after album; there were even some years when the trio have released more than one album. To date, they have given us such a vast repertoire of recorded material, that you can never fault them for being thrifty in their outputs. For this new album compiled by Daywind Records, there are 25 songs spanning across 2 CDs. Each of the song come from each subsequent year from their sui genesis in 1991 to 2015.
Second, Greater Vision are never minimalists when it comes to their sound. Never one to be coy in their worship of King Jesus, the trio have often chosen songs that go the nine yards in terms of their vocal expressions of praise go. You can never fault Greater Vision for being laidback or understated. Often using a lush orchestration with full-bodied harmonies, they are known to be belters of majestic anthems such as "A Pile of Crowns," "There is a River," "Heaven's Hero," and "I Know He Heard My Prayer." If you like those traditional Gospel sounds that begin soft before layer and layer of instrumentations and voices are ended until they escalate into the heavenly heights, there are plenty here to bring us up to heaven's penthouse.
This doesn't mean that the big and bombastic are the only sounds. This 2-CD also take us onto those times when Greater Vision do take some sonic detours, especially in their latter works. "Preacher, Tell It Like It Is" brings us into more rustic country pastures heavy imbued with steel guitars and fiddles. While "Like I Wish I'd Lived," a gorgeous prayer to tread on the old paths of holiness, finds the boys in their balladry best. "Faces," one of Greater Vision's biggest hits on Gospel radio, is another sublime piano ballad with lyrics that still pack a punch to this day: A song that seeks to encourage hearts that have grown weary from serving Christ, "Faces" speaks of the often unseen results of lives changed by how God worked in us.
Third, and most importantly, Greater Vision never takes the minimalist approach when it comes to the Gospel. They have never shy hiding their rhetoric behind ambiguous pronouns and expressions. Rather, they have often spoken boldly through their songs about the redemptive work of Jesus. In this regard, "He's Been Waiting by the Well," "Who Moved, and "The King Came Down" are all faithful renditions of the Gospel set to music that pulverizes. Twenty five years is a long time and not too many groups have that tenacity. But when you sing about the Cross, you can never run out of things to sing about.