FFH released their major label debut I WANT TO BE LIKE YOU in 1998. STILL THE CROSS (2004, Essential) was their fifth major album. It peaked at #10 on the Billboard Hot Christian Albums chart. The group’s roster at the time was: Jeromy Deibler (lead vocals, piano, guitar), Jennifer Deibler (lead vocals, background vocals), Brian Smith (bass guitar, background vocals), and Michael Boggs (guitars, background vocals). The album cover is made up of small pictures of a bunch of different styles of crosses. In the liner notes the group writes: “No matter where you’ve been or what you’ve done, the message of the cross is still the same. It’s a message of forgiveness, a message of hope”. A Sinner’s Prayer is included in the CD booklet as well.
‘You Drive I’ll Ride’ is one of three Jeromy Deibler/Brian Smith compositions. It is an upbeat pop/rock song of dedication to the Lord: “I’ve nothing left, but repentance and a guilty plea/I’ve learned my lesson/No one ever handed me the keys to my own story/I just took them for myself/OK, I’m sorry/You take the wheel, I will work the radio/And You take the wheel/We’ll go where You want to go/And You take the wheel/Take it fast, take it slow/Whatever You choose I’m fine/You drive, I’ll ride”. ‘You Love Me Anyway’ praises God for His faithfulness: “Your love’s amazing/It’s never changing/Whenever I need You/You’re right on time/You love me constantly/Even in spite of me/When I mess up time after time/And You never abandon me/You just keep loving me/When I try to run and hide”.
One of the co-writers on ‘Without You’ is Aaron Benward. It is a happy, breezy pop song: “Without You, there’d be no sunrise/Without You there’d be no light/Without You, there’d be no answers to the questions in my life/You bring joy in the morning/You bring comfort in the night/In Your hand You hold the heavens/You make everything alright”. The title track ‘Still the Cross’ was penned by Jeromy Deibler, Scott Williamson, and Donna Smith. It uses a 15 person choir and The Nashville String Machine and was nominated for a Dove Award for Inspirational Recorded Song of the Year. Here are some of the wonderful lyrics: “When it all comes crashing down/The cross still stands alone/And on this our faith is built/And our courage is made strong/When the world falls apart and you fear for your heart/There’s a tower of peace/It’s still the cross/So bring your sick and your poor/And your longing for more/To the place of relief/It’s still the cross/There is hope for the lost/It’s still the cross”.
‘You and Only You’ is a pleasant pop love song: “I try to make something of my day/But I hopelessly drift away/To the place where we can be alone again/I’ll never be the same again/All because of you, you and only you/You and only you can take grey skies, make them blue/You and only you”. ‘The Long Haul’ is a great ballad about romantic relationships: “So many people just packing it in/They don’t give it half a chance/Not me and you, we’ve got it all/And it’s gonna last/Oh yeah, bring it on ‘cause/I’m in for the long haul/Bring on the fight/I will, I will stand tall/With all my might/And face the wind and face the rain/And even the pain/Through it all/I’m in for the ride of my life”.
Jennifer Deibler sings lead on ‘In This Moment’. It tackles loneliness: “Stuck here on this highway in a river of red lights/For at least another mile, there’s no relief in sight/Feeling all alone/But from the radio comes a singer to remind me something I already know/In this moment You are here with me/In this moment You are closer than the air I breathe/You’re the God who reigns in heaven/It’s amazing indeed/That You are here with me in this moment”. ‘Cover Me’ places trust in God: “It hit me from the blind side/It’s getting hard to breathe/It hit me from the blind side/The hurt, it feels so deep/And I don’t have any answers/Your ways are higher, Your love is stronger/And through this pain You’ll cover me/Your grace is greater/When there are no answers/And through this pain You’ll cover me”.
‘All Part of the Walk’ is a bouncy pop song that uses a baseball analogy to make its point: “I finally got in the game but got thrown out at second base/Oh well, at least I tried/I can’t dwell upon these things/What’s done is done/It can’t be changed/I’ll do my best next time”. Michael Boggs wrote ‘Another Day With You’, a great love song: “Baby, it could never be commonplace/To put my arms around you and be swept away ‘cause/You are beautiful under this wonderful amazing sky/That I’m sure the Lord made just for you/And you are everything that I could ever dream about/And I thank God for another day with you.../It might sound crazy but my heart still skips a beat whenever you are sitting next to me”.
STILL THE CROSS is a modern and relevant snapshot of one walking out their Christian faith. The songs express both a love for and commitment to God and one’s romantic partner. Though life is not always rosy, God is always at the ready to help us through. Fans of the pop and adult contemporary sounds of Avalon, PFR, and earlier era Point of Grace will enjoy this album. It is uplifting and encouraging! This is one you’ll want to listen to time and again. I’m rating it a perfect 100%. For more info connect with FFH on Facebook.