Prime Cuts: Wounds, Saints Are Born, Everlasting Arms
There's a fine line between a good song and a great song. A great song often involves the added third dimension whereby it's more than myriad of words and notes. Rather, you know you are listening to greatness when the characters of the song come alive and they take on their own persona. And they are not afraid of interacting with us through our life's circumstances and then drawing us back to the counsel of God's Word. In the light of such a definition, there are spades of such great tunes on 11th Hour's latest release "Picture This." On this CD, you will hear the story of how death is personified ("No Death"), how the archives of an old country church spring to life ("Saints Are Born") and how the Biblical tale of the 10 lepers takes on a 21st Century spin ("Wounds").
11th Hour Amber comprises of Amber Eppinette, Jaquita Lindsey, and Grant Gibson. And unlike many of the trios and quartets of Southern Gospel music, 11th Hour does attempt to co-write some of their songs on this Crossroads release. Teaming up with acclaimed writer Dianne Wilkinson (Hoppers, Legacy Five, Cathedral Quartet), Amber Eppinette has had a hand in crafting the album's lead single "How Will You Plead." Pay attention especially to versatility of the vocals as the trio effortlessly transforms from a chilling lonesome sound to a full-fledged vocal display on this crescendo building power ballad. Speaking of ballads "Saints Are Born" is definitely worth a listen. Functioning as our touring curate, 11th Hour breathes meaning and history into each furniture of an old church as each piece tells of stories of God's transforming ways. Sung with such heartfelt honesty, there's not a hint of tackiness on what may otherwise be a mawkish offering.
Creativity again takes the center piece with the toe-tapping "No Death." Here 11th Hour tells an arresting story of how a personified death is denied entry into heaven's rest. Such narrative ingenuity continues with "Picture This." Like a zooming camera, "Picture This" reels in on the vignettes of Jesus' life and ministry that gorgeously sums up our Lord's life mandate perfectly. "Wounds," on the other hand, takes with seriousness the story of Jesus from Luke 17:11-19 and giving it a contemporary spin. If you think that today's songs have been deprived of strong melodic hooks, take a listen to the frenzied paced "Everlasting Arms." This is so infectious, it will get you humming all day.
"Picture This" is the much anticipated follow-up to 2012's "Steppin' Out." And it's well worth the wait. This is more than just a collection of good songs; rather what you get are friends coming alive through these songs ready to minister, comfort, challenge and encourage us in our walk with the Lord.