As a female quartet Point of Grace had 24 consecutive #1 hits on Christian music’s singles charts, which was unprecedented and celebrated by the two CD collection 24 in 2003. Some song titles you may recognize are: ‘I’ll Be Believing’, ‘The Great Divide’, ‘Circle of Friends’, and ‘The Song is Alive’. During this period the group performed adult contemporary and inspirational music in the vein of 4 Him. Today the group, now a trio, is comprised of: Shelley Breen, Denise Jones, and Leigh Cappillino. Their latest release is DIRECTIONS HOME (SONGS WE LOVE, SONGS YOU KNOW). It came out this year on Word/Curb. Shelley says: “The thing that propels us on is that we love God and we love to serve people. I think that’s one of the things that’s given us longevity and invitations to come back”.
‘A Life that’s Good’ starts things off. Andy Leftwich plays fiddle and mandolin and Byron House plays upright bass. It is a folk ballad of gratitude: “Sitting here tonight by the fire light/Oh, it reminds me, I already have more than I should/I don’t need fame, no one to know my name/At the end of the day/Lord, I pray I have a life that’s good/Two arms around me, heaven to ground me/And a family that always calls me home”. ‘Only Love’ was originally recorded by Wynonna Judd. It reflects on one of the most pleasant and powerful forces on this earth: “Only love sails straight from the harbor/And only love will lead us to the other shore/And out of all the flags I’ve flown/One flies high and stands alone/Only love/Peaceful waters, raging sea/It’s all the same to me”.
The title track, ‘Directions Home’, was written by Stephanie Chapman. Here, it is a duet with the legendary Vince Gill. Jeff Taylor plays accordion and pump organ on it. It is a sentimental country ballad: “I’m at the end of a gravel road/Full of pot holes and old regrets/You’re gonna think you know where you are/But you’re not there yet/So I left you a trail of tears/Cause I figured after all these years/You might need directions home”. A terrific, powerful cover of Carrie Underwood’s recent hit single ‘Something in the Water’ is next. It is a song of testimony: “I was all out of hope and all out of fight/Couldn’t fight back the tears so I fell on my knees/Saying ‘God if You’re there/Come and rescue me’/Felt love pouring down from above/Got washed in the water, washed in the blood/And now I’m changed, and now I’m stronger/There must be something in the water.../Jesus met me in the water”.
Wayne Watson co-wrote ‘Friend of A Wounded Heart’ with Claire Cloninger. Originally recorded by Wayne, it won ‘Song of the Year’ in 1999 at the Dove Awards. Point of Grace delivers it in an easy listening manner, with Andy Leftwich playing fiddle and mandolin, and Rob Ickes on dobro. The song points to Christ as the Great Physician: “Jesus, He meets you where you are/Jesus, He heals your secret scars/All the love you’re longing for/Is Jesus, the Friend of a wounded heart/Joy comes like the morning/And hope, it deepens as you grow/And peace, beyond the reaches of your soul/Comes blowing through you/For His love has made you whole”. ‘Lord, I Need You’ is a pretty song with dulcimer and penny whistle among the instruments used. It declares full reliance on Christ: “Lord, I come, I confess/Bowing here I find my rest/And without You, I fall apart/You’re the One that guides my heart/Lord, I need You/Oh, I need You/Every hour I need You/My one defense, my righteousness/Oh God, how I need You”.
‘Home’ was originally recorded by American Idol winner (Season 11) Phillip Phillips. It is a rootsy, foot-stomping song of encouragement: “Settle down, it’ll all be clear/Don’t pay no mind to the demons/They fill you with fear/Trouble, it might drag you down/If you get lost, you can always be found/Just know you’re not alone/I’m gonna make this place your home”. Trace Adkins originally recorded ‘You’re Gonna Miss This’. It is a country ballad that uses violins, acoustic guitar, piano, and cello. Matt Slocum plays the latter. This song reminds us not to rush through life and not to take what we have forgranted: “You’re gonna miss this/You’re gonna want this back/You’re gonna wish these days/Hadn’t gone by so fast/These are some good times/So take a good look around/You may not know it now/But you’re gonna miss this”.
Cindy Morgan and her mother Lola wrote ‘Two Roads’. It features Ricky Skaggs (vocals, mandolin) and has a cool old country twang to it. It reminds us we have free will to live as we wish: “Two roads stand before you/Which one will you choose?/You got one eye on the devil/But God’s got His eye on you/Wide is the way of the wicked/Bright is the way of the truth/In the end, sink or swim/The choice is up to you”. Last up is ‘The Climb’ which MIley Cyrus popularized on HANNAH MONTANA-THE MOVIE SOUNDTRACK. It is a modern inspirational classic: “I, I gotta be strong/Just keep pushin’ on/There’s always gonna be another mountain/I’m always gonna want to make it move/Always gonna be an uphill battle/Sometimes I’m gonna have to lose/Ain’t about how fast I get there/Ain’t about what’s waitin’ on the other side, side/It’s the climb”.
DIRECTIONS HOME is most definitely worthy of your purchase! This female trio has never sounded better on solos or in harmony. The trick to doing a great covers album is not to mess around with the original melodies, making the songs pretty much unrecognizable. Point of Grace has breathed new life into these songs without tampering with what made them great to start with. In the photos of the trio accompanying this project, the ladies look beautiful. They have aged well. I’m rating DIRECTIONS HOME 90%. For more info visit: www.pointofgrace.net and www.wordlabelgroup.com.