Prime Cuts: I Am a Soldier, God of All Our Days, I Will Rise
Tribute's "Journey of Hope" is not one of those boring GPS directed routes. Rather, it's a scenic bummel that leisurely cruise controls through the sonic rolling rustic meadows ("Everybody Needs to Jesus)" to the exotic Jamaican reggae-rasta getaway ("Those Who Know Me") to the cinematic bombast of intricate sophistication ("I Am a Soldier"). More importantly, this collection of 11 songs is choked full of songs that are going to drive the spiritually reticent to cliff hangers on one hand. And on the other hand, they are going to bring comfort to those who are spiritually rugged and worn. Formed in 2006, the Tribute Quartet set out to keep the Southern Gospel tradition alive by paying "tribute" to the genre's finest legends and songs. However, in the ensuing years, they have not only carved for themselves their own identity, they have also recently scored their first chart topper with "Good News from Jerusalem."
Comprising of lead singer Gary Casto, baritone/pianist Josh Singletary, tenor Riley Harrison Clark and Bass vocalist Anthony Davis, Tribute seems to have dropped the word "quartet" from their moniker evidenced most prominent by the album cover. Nevertheless, this has by no means depreciated their sound as "Journey of Hope" is a consistently rich record following last year's "Hit Play Again." Charging out of the fray is the full-bodied harmony sound of "He'll Do It Again," a song that reminds us that as it was the Lord who held the driver's seat in the Bible, He is still the one that steers our life's direction.
"All Made It Ashore" is a page turning narrative song that sets to music the shipwreck narrative of the Apostle Paul. What's amazing is though Paul's tempestuous voyage to Rome spans across two chunky chapters in the book of Acts, yet "All Made It Ashore" is one of the few (or perhaps the only) songs that give exposition to the issue. Written by the legendary Kyla Rowland "I Am a Soldier" is the CD's buzz. Featuring a cinematic reeling of orchestrated music that feels like the exhilarating music made for an epic-movie, "I Am a Soldier" is one of those songs that ought to get out of our comfy lounges to fight for the Lord. The key changes, the dynamic chorus, and how the song crescendos into a hymn are all material deserving of many standing ovations.
Never ones to be stymied to one patented sound, they go all Caribbean with the conga-styled "Those Who Know Me," a simple and concise testimony of the Cross' saving prowess. Those who like their journey marked with lots of contemplative moments will love the Dianne Wilkinson and Rebecca Peck's "I Will Rise." The Christian hope could not have been more poetically put than on this song of trust in the Lord's sovereign help. Utilizing what's paramount to the genre, "God of All My Days" strings together two stories (one about a man who has lost his job and one about a man plagued with illness) in order to show us that God is not a God in the abstract. Rather, he enters our own journeys and walk with us all the way to glory. On an album that speaks of our journey of hope, there's no way better to exit the record than a track like "God of All My Days."