The Inspirations “God’s Word Will Stand” Album Review

The Inspirations

Prime Cuts: I've Found a Faithful Friend, News From Heaven, The Last Song

Here is true Southern Gospel classicism in display.  Instead of allowing the zealotry of overwhelming backings, such as the clattering rhythms of guitars or the bombarding cacophony of percussion, to be the drawing power of the record, "God's Word Will Stand" places its cynosure on the soothing harmonies of the sextet.  With the gentle rustic sounds of organic instruments (such as steel, fiddle and piano) never cluttering but merely enhancing, the Inspirations draw us rightly on to the words of these 10 newly recorded paeans.  As the album titular "God's Word Will Stand" details, the themes of these songs are not only deeply grounded in the Bible.  But they also show how that the Bible is still authoritative in giving compass towards the well being of our country ("God's Word Will Stand"), our society ("News From Heaven"), our personal belief system ("I Believe'), our own need of a Savior ("I've Found a Faithful Friend"), and our eternity ("The Last Song').   

The Inspirations first started in 1964 when Martin Cook, a teacher at Swain County High School, invited several young men to his home for evenings of singing.  Later they began to call themselves the Inspirations traveling around the area and singing at various venues.  Over the years, the Inspirations (also affectionately called the Fraternity) have released over 60 albums with over 60 charting hits such as "Shoutin' Time In Heaven", "When I Wake Up To Sleep No More", "A Rose Among The Thorns", and "We Need To Thank God."  They have also won every award imaginable, including "Favorite Quartet of the Year" multiple times at the Singing News Fan Awards. Celebrating their 50th year as a group, "God's Word Will Stand" marks the return of two longtime alumni, fan favorites Melton Campbell and Matt Dibler.

The title cut "God's Word will Stand" and "News From Heaven" set the spiritual direction of the set.  In our current climate where the Bible is often deemed as antiquated, these two songs right affirm that when God's word is ignored whether it's in our schools or our homes or our churches, no social reform will ever get rid of all the ills in our society.  Narrowing down from societal issues into our personal lives, "The Last Song" is a stirring ballad for those who persistently refuse to come under the saving power of Jesus.  Written by the aforementioned Mark Dibler, this song wisely reminds how transient life is: we never know when our last song will be.   Yet for those of us who have found eternal life in Christ through faith and repentance, the future can be sparkling bright as evidenced by the effervescent harmonies of the sextet on the jubilant "It's Not Long Until Forever" and the confident "I Believe."

Yet, the album's lodestar has to be Leonard Fletcher's "I've Found a Faithful Friend."  This deftly crafted ballad has both a hymn like structure that calls to mind Joseph Scriven's "What a Friend We Have in Jesus" as well as a contemporary country feel that gorgeously bring out the faithful companionship of Jesus. This is the perfect song to listen to when we are feeling the blues.  Speaking of hymns, be prepared to be awed by the Inspirations as they offer an a cappella version of "Farther Along."  Thanks to producers Jeff Collins, Martin Cook and Scott Barnett, the vocals are so up front in the mix that you feel like they are singing right in front of your speakers.  "God's Word Will Stand," thus, is an important record.  Not only do these men affirm the authority of Scripture, but in their creative splendor, they also show us how God's truth still speaks to our lives' issues.    



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