Third Day’s roots go back to Marietta, Georgia. They released their self-titled major label debut on Reunion Records in 1996. They have won an impressive 4 Grammy Awards and 24 GMA Dove Awards. Their two worship albums, OFFERINGS: A WORSHIP ALBUM (2000) and OFFERINGS II: ALL I HAVE TO GIVE (2003), were their best-selling albums. Today Third Day is: Tai Anderson (bass), David Carr (drums), Mark Lee (guitars), and Mac Powell (vocals). Their twelfth and latest studio album is LEAD US BACK: SONGS OF WORSHIP (2015, Essential). Jonny Macintosh and JT Daly, who are known as The Sound Kids, produced it. Terry Hemmings served as executive producer.
‘Spirit’ is a song of humility: “Oh, Lord, fill us with Your Spirit/Guide us by Your presence/How we need You, God/Oh, Lord lead us to Your Kingdom/Bring us back to freedom/How we need You, God (2X)”. ‘Soul on Fire’ was written by the group along with Brenton Brown and Matt Maher. It features All Sons & Daughters and is a catchy pop song of passionate pursuit: “God, I’m running for Your heart/I’m running for Your heart/Till I am a soul on fire/Lord, I’m longing for Your ways/I’m waiting for the day/When I am a soul on fire/Till I am a soul on fire/Lord, restore the joy I had/And I have wandered, bring me back/In this darkness, lead me through/Until all I see is You”.
‘Your Words’ features nice complementary female vocals by Harvest Parker. These lyrics remind us just how powerful God is: “Let us speak Your words/More than ours, more than ever/Let us share Your love with all the world/Your words give us life that’s never ending/Your words bring us love that never fails/Everything else will fade away/But what will remain are Your words/The grass will wither and the flowers will fall/But the Word of our God will last forever”. ‘Our Deliverer’ is a great light rock song written by the group and JT Daly. It offers believers in Christ great hope: “Every burden one day will be lifted/And every broken heart will be redeemed/The Lord Almighty is coming to our rescue/Salvation’s waiting for all who will believe/Our Deliverer is coming/With salvation in His wings/Our Deliverer is coming/Here to set His people free/Our Deliverer is coming/Coming back for you and me/Our Deliverer is coming”.
‘He is Alive’ is one of eight songs written by the band alone. It shares the Good News with one and all: “He is alive/Death is defeated/Sin has retreated/From the power of the Son/And He is alive/The enemy is faded/The battle still rages/But the war has been won/The stars in the heavens rejoice/With the sun and the moon/And with all of the earth/Let all of creation now lift up their voice/Singing ‘He is alive! He is alive.../Jesus is alive! Jesus is alive!’” ‘In Jesus’ Name’ is a good adult contemporary track featuring the vocal talents of CCM stars Michael W. Smith, Natalie Grant, and Michael Tait. It has a very biblical chorus: “Name above all names/Savior and our Lord/Every knee will bow/And every tongue confess/No other name is given/By which we can be saved/Let us find our life and love in Jesus’ Name”.
The title track, ‘Lead Us Back’, is short at just 1:20. It simply calls out to God for help: “Lead us back where we belong/Call us as Your very own/Lead us back/Safe into Your arms”. ‘Maker’ is a lively folk/pop song of confession: “We built our idols just to see them fall/And our false gods brought us nothing at all/How foolish we have been/Forgive us for our sins.../And on our own, we have nothing but shame/But by Your grace, we all can stand again, yeah/How foolish we have been/Forgive us for our sins”.
‘Victorious’ uses strings and percussion to good effect. Sarah Macintosh contributes backing vocals. This song extols Christ: “In all the heavens, there is One/Who conquered death alone and brought our freedom/Your throne will last throughout all time/Let all the nations bow and bring You praise/Victorious, You reign victorious/Over sin, over death, over all, over all of us”. ‘I Know You Can’ makes some bold requests of Christ: “Give me the words to say/Bring me the strength to stand/Take all the doubt away/Jesus, I know You can/For if I’m to follow You/It’s only by Your hand/Help me to make it through/Jesus, I know You can”.
Michael Gungor sings backing vocals on ‘Father of Lights’. This one is a joyful song of praise: “Great and marvelous are Your deeds/Oh, Lord God Almighty/Just and true are Your ways/So we praise You and You alone/We magnify Your Name/ We lift You up and praise/We magnify Your Name/Lord, God Almighty”. ‘The One I Love’ is a soft song that finds Christ assuring us: “Oh, you of little faith/Why do you let the wind and the waves distract you?/Oh, you of little faith/Don’t you know that when you’ve fallen, I’ll be there to catch you?/And when all your world is gone/And you cannot sing your song/I will help you carry on/The one I love”.
Third Day’s Christian music career has been similar to that of Petra. They have put out a great catalogue of albums that prove they are a great rock band with clean lyrics. In addition, they have provided the church and individual Christians with some terrific praise and worship albums and songs. LEAD US BACK: SONGS OF WORSHIP is contemporary, relevant, and points people unashamedly to God. I recommend this project to fans of Michael W. Smith’s SOVEREIGN (2014) and modern praise and worship music in general. Mac Powell’s vocals are nicely added to by a variety of talented background vocalists. I’m rating this album 95%. For more info visit: www.thirdday.com.