Audio Review: Russ Taff – Believe

by | Nov 5, 2018 | CD Reviews, Reviews

Believe is the first solo release by Imperials/Gaither Vocal Band alumnus since 2011’s Faroe Islands. Believe came to life at music dealer Sweetwater’s recording studio with Phil Naish and Mark Hornsby handling production duties. The release of Believe came just a few days after Taff’s new biopic movie I Still Believe landed in theaters. Billed as Taff’s first worship album, Believe features a mix of modern favorites, the familiar hymn “There Is A Fountain,” and a remake of Taff’s own classic “We Will Stand.”

The opening track, “Your Love Never Fails,” institutes a rock setting reminiscent of Taff’s 1980s-era solo recordings. I should clarify that this first selection is a cover of the 2008 Jesus Culture song, not Jeremy Riddle’s “One Thing Remains (Your Love Never Fails)” (which, Jesus Culture also covered). As long as I’m sorting songs that share titles, I’ll go ahead and mention that “I Still Believe” is not the same song Taff recorded on his self-titled album in 1987. Also, “Be Still My Soul” is not the traditional hymn lyric that is often sung to the tune of Sibelius’ “Finlandia.” Instead, we’re treated a new version of “Be Still My Soul” that Taff first recorded with the Imperials on their Priority album in 1980. Great song!

I’m disappointed that “Don’t Try So Hard” is billed as a duet with Amy Grant, but Grant can only be heard harmonizing with Taff on the choruses. Thankfully, the duet with David Crowder on “I Am” is more equally shared.

My favorite track is “There Is A Hallelujah.” It’s a rather standard worship song with a predictable chord structure, but I like the pounding rhythm and how Taff sings so comfortably over it all.

It’s good to have Taff back in the studio again making great music. Over the years, I’ve been impressed by how Taff has always been able to stand out even when doing something entirely different than you’d expect. Examples of “different Taff” include his 1992 Christmas album and his stint with the Gaither Vocal Band. (Who really saw that coming after Mark Lowry left the first time?)

It’s a shame Taff’s demons (by now well-publicized) limited the quantity of his potential music output over the years, but we should celebrate the fact that he’s making music of this caliber after all he has endured. It’s a miracle he’s still making music at all.

November 2 – Russ Taff – Believe (CD)

Producers: Phil Naish and Mark Hornsby
Song Titles: Your Love Never Fails; I Still Believe; Don’t Try So Hard (with Amy Grant); Same Power; I Am (with David Crowder); Be Still My Soul; No Longer Slaves; When I Hear Your Name; There Is A Fountain; There’s A Hallelujah; Isn’t The Name; We Will Stand
Release Date: November 2, 2018
Rating: 4 Stars

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David Bruce Murray

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 and David plays piano for Southern Sounds Quartet and the Foothills Community Choir.

1 Comment

  1. Donna

    Russ Taff’s testimony is powerful and much needed. It is time for Christians to be real and use their testimonies to encourage the lost and the struggling to help them realize that we all fall, it’s getting up and moving forward with Jesus that matters. I hope Russ will get back into writing and recording and ministering through music to this lost world. People need him to step out again.


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