Prime Cuts: Find My Joy, Something Bigger than Me, Blessings
Overall Grade: 5/5
Those who grew up on 90s country will remember the multiple octave voice of John Berry. With hits such as "Your Love Amazes Me," "You and Only You," and "She's Taken a Shine," Berry has had a corner on country music. Even when he was in his commercial prime, he had a penchant to record songs that give expression to his faith. Songs such as "The Richest Man," "Salvation," and "My Heart is Bethlehem" are some that come to mind. Then in 2012, Berry partnered with Gaither Music to release his first full-fledged Gospel album "Real Man. Real Life. Real God." Ten years later, Berry follows up with his sophomore Gospel output, also released under the Gaither imprint.
Other than 3 original songs and one cover, "Find My Joy" finds the coroner putting his signature vocals on some of the most cherished hymns of the church. Berry gives his heartfelt best on the string laden "It is Well with My Soul." He is resolute in his worship on "How Great Thou Art." Pay attention to the gorgeous piano backing on "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus," it is purely mesmerizing. Then he peddles a countrified version of "I Surrender All," which is another highlight.
The three new songs all come from the pen of Steve Dorff. Having crafted George Strait's "I Cross My Heart," Clay Walker's "Hypnotize the Moon," and Kenny Rogers' "Through the Years" among many others, Dorff has a way with memorable ballads. Here he spins his magic with "Something Bigger than Me." Formerly recorded by Dolly Parton, "Something Bigger than Me" is a palatable reminder of how God looks after us even when we don't realize it. The title track "Find My Joy" is a popish-country ballad that would have been a #1 hit if it were released in the 90s.
The upbeat "Live Like You" is the weakest track among the new songs. Fortunately, it is redeemed by Berry's cover of Laura Story "Blessings." The song brings to shame those preachers who only advocate the view that God's blessings are only about our material prosperity and comfort. With words like What if Your healing comes through tears/What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near/What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise, this is such a theological and visceral treasure. In fact, the same can be said about the entire record.