Prime Cuts: Brave, Not Even for a Moment, Passing It On
Overall Grade: 4/5
It's been a long and well-worth wait. Save for their Christmas offering released late last year, it has taken the Browns almost five years to follow up their 2015 Stowtown Records "Aim Higher" with a new record. Though this record "Brave" only contains 7 songs, it's a neat and tight package that ought to satisfy fans and draw in new ones. Produced by label chief and multiple GMA Dove Award winner Wayne Haun, the album features six new tunes and the group's cover of the late Andre Crouch's "Take Me Back." "Brave" hits all the right buttons. Stylistically, it covers the whole gamut from country-pop sounding radio hits to moving dramatic ballads to rootsy American Gospel shout-outs. Thematically, these songs canvasses through themes we all need to hear including missions, hope, heaven, and God's providential care.
The title cut "Brave" opens the record on a strong note. Featuring layered harmonies of the Browns singing together, the acapella intro of the "Brave" is worth the money of this download itself. Punchy in its beat and challenging in its message, "Brave" holds back no horses in its challenge in taking risks for God's kingdom. Bound for the summit of the charts is the Wayne Haun, Jimmy Yeary and Sonya Isaacs' "Better Off There." Surrounding this track with lush orchestration, this ode to our heavenly home has never sounded more majestic. Meanwhile, the stripped down and extremely country sounding "Passing It On" --- a song about not holding God's blessings to ourselves --- has to have one of the most delightful melodies.
After the title cut "Brave," the obligatory-sounding "Little Fires Everywhere" which canvasses a similar theme is redundant. Fans who like their Gospel music more rootsy will appreciate the brassy-sounding "Shelter of the Rock." Tugged towards the latter half of the record is the album's apogee. Coming from the pens of Wayne Haun, Joel Lindsey and Jeff Bumgardner, "Not Even a Moment" is one of those dramatic big ballads that builds and builds until it explodes with worship at its crescendo. But it's not just drama for the sake of drama. Rather, the song tells of how God has already gloriously orchestrated each of our lives; a message that speaks with so much hope and promise.
The Browns give us a treat with their cover of Andre Crouch's "Take Me Back." This ode to return to our first love for Jesus, enhanced by the song's humming B3-organ, jazzy piano licks and the fearless vocal deliveries, showcases the Browns' excellence in tackling a Gospel classic. For fans of the Browns, the advent of this EP has been a long time coming. And with the record's diversity in sounds and themes compounded by the excellence of the songs chosen, the wait is definitely worth it.