DVD Review: Gaither Gospel Series – Circuit Rider

DVD Review: Gaither Gospel Series – Circuit Rider

img_0019Label: Spring House Productions
Director: Michael Merriman
Song Titles: Burnin’ (Guy Penrod); Circuit Rider (Russ Taff and William Lee Golden; The Raven (The Isaacs); Bluegrass Moon (Buddy Greene); I’m The Clay (Judy Martin, Charlotte Ritchie, and Tanya Goodman Sykes); Mine All Mine (Lynda Randle); We Go Alone (Woody Wright and Joy Gardner); So Many Miles (Reggie Smith); The Old Man (Benjamin Gaither); Refining Fire (Michael Sykes); Against The Grain (Mark Lowry)
Readers: Gloria Gaither; Bill Carter; Ron Johnstone; John Minick; Kay Cotton; Dr. James Lewis; Harry Powers; Joel Perales; Joe Hartwell; Robert Benson; B. R. Lakin
Host: Mike Huckabee
Creators: Woody Wright and Suzanne Gaither Jennings
Rating: 5 Stars

Don’t overlook the latest DVD release in the Gaither Gospel Series. Conceived by Woody Wright and Suzanne Gaither Jennings, Circuit Rider is not from the formula that typically features a group of familiar singers either sitting in a room singing to each other or performing for a live audience. This DVD is entirely different and well-worth your time.

Directing duties were turned over to Michael Merriman who is an established professional best known for producing music videos for acts like Brooks & Dunn, Rebecca St. James, Trace Adkins, Travis Tritt, Billy Bob Thornton, and others. Video footage was captured on location at Fiddler’s Grove Historic Village in Lebanon, Tennessee and Piney River Cattle Company in Nunnelly, Tennessee. The colors are warm and have a polished, golden tone.

On one level, Circuit Rider is a historical documentary of the early church in the United States of America. There are eleven segments featuring an unseen “reader.”  Former Southern Baptist preacher, politician, author, musician, and commentator Mike Huckabee is seen on camera setting up each of these segments. Each documentary segment features period artwork depicting the account being conveyed by the reader. These include letters, hymn texts, a circuit rider’s description of a revival, and more.

Between these accounts are eleven songs presented in a concept video format. The visual quality on these is impressive on a cinematic level. I recognized “Mine All Mine” (Higher Faith) from Gaither’s I’ll Fly Away DVD (2002), but the rest of the songs on Circuit Rider were new to me.

Singers wear period costumes and interact with their surroundings. My favorite is the title track where Russ Taff and William Lee Golden  each attend to their respective horses in the background as the other singer is featured on alternating verses. At the end of the song, Golden’s beard gets a little to close for comfort to a campfire that he extinguishes with a cup of water. It’s the attention to little details like this that elevates the appeal of Circuit Rider.

The only tiny criticism my nit-picking eye could see was the occasional singer out of sync with their audio. It’s not enough to budge Circuit Rider from a five star rating, though. Everything from the concept to the song selection screams quality. Everything from the cinematic quality to the history lesson adds lasting value.

You don’t have to take my word for it. You can check out several of the concept videos on Gaither’s VEVO channel on YouTube. Just keep in mind that there’s a lot more to it than the songs.

5 out of 5


5 out of 5
Category DVD Review, 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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1 Comment

  1. David Hildebrand
    Reply April 21, 21:49 #1 David Hildebrand

    I loved this DVD. I have listened to it many times. It just gets richer every time I play it. Bring us more like this so we can go back and reminisce with the early church. MORE

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