CD Review: Greater Vision – My Favorite Place

RATING: 4 STARS

Label: Daywind
Producer: Lari Goss
Website: www.greatervisionmusic.com
Song Titles: “Everyone, Everywhere, Everytime,” “My Favorite Place,” “All Is Well,” “The Voice I Could Not Resist,” “Far More,” “God’s Got A Bigger Thing Going On,” “We Are So Blessed,” “I Will Glorify The Lord,” “Paid In Full (Through Jesus, Amen),” “Heaven’s Hero” (featuring “Champion Of Love”),” and “Your Story”

Greater Vision follows their tried and true formula on My Favorite Place. All the elements you’d expect are here. Songs written by Rodney Griffin and classy three-part male harmony are underscored (literally) by an internationally renowned orchestra. This time around, the group chose Lari Goss to produce their their tracks and arrange the orchestrations. The orchestral accompaniment is provided by the Czech Republic based Prague Symphony Orchestra, which traces its roots back to 1934. Other players on the project include well known session musicians David Johnson, Steve Brewster, and Craig Nelson, with Goss playing all the keyboard parts himself.

With a couple of exceptions, My Favorite Place is made up of new songs written by Griffin (who wrote or co-wrote nine tracks) and Phil Cross (who hand a hand in three, including two collaborations with Griffin). The exceptions are the Gaither classic “We Are So Blessed” and a song by Joe Diquattro titled “I Will Glorify The Lord.” The most notable track by Cross on this project is “Heaven’s Hero,” which quotes a chorus from Gerald Wolfe‘s signature song “Champion Of Love” (also written by Cross). Griffin shines both as songwriter and singer on an expressive ballad titled “The Voice I Could Not Resist.” Griffin’s excellent writing on “God’s Got A Better Thing Going On” and “Paid In Full” also deserves to be mentioned. A mouth harp and the subtle touch of Goss on the organ makes the former stand out while a banjo on “Paid In Full” adds a musical element that isn’t found on the other tracks.

Other highlights on My Favorite Place include the mid-tempo “All Is Well,” which is accessible even for amateur vocalists. It would be a great addition to a hymnbook of modern gospel songs. I was also impressed by the opening track “Everyone, Everywhere, Everytime.” It’s an easy going song with a timeless sound showcasing the orchestra. The cover of “We Are So Blessed” sits well alongside other classic songs Greater Vision has covered in the past like “Redemption Draweth Nigh” and “It Is Well.”

Greater Vision has another solid recording with My Favorite Place. Looking at their output from the last six or seven years, Far Beyond This Place, Perfect Candidate, and Quartets remain the very best this group has offered. Other recordings in that same time span including their Atlanta live recording, the CD being reviewed here, and 2004’s Faces sit just a notch or so under those three. The guys do a great job vocally on My Favorite Place and the production of Lari Goss gives this CD a great sound. I do feel like Griffin should have retained two or three songs for Greater Vision that he instead allowed other artists to introduce over the past year, though. For example, imagine My Favorite Place minus a couple of the less memorable tracks plus the ear-grabbing “Don’t Let The Sandals Fool Ya” (Triumphant Quartet) and the extremely well written “More Than You’ll Ever Know” (Mark Trammell Trio). Assuming the production and performance value matched the rest of this CD, that would easily be a five-star project.

Category CD Reviews

David Bruce Murray

David Bruce Murray is a church music director in Ellenboro, NC. He is the author of Murray's Encyclopedia Of Southern Gospel Music and the owner of both SGHistory.com and MusicScribe.com. David plays piano for Southern Sounds Quartet and the Foothills Community Choir.

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