Formed in Georgia, Third Day has been a mainstay on the CCM stage since the release of their self-titled Reunion Records debut back in 1996. Over the years they have performed adult contemporary, worship, and Southern rock music equally well. Many Christian rock bands have came and went during this time with varying levels of success, but Third Day has remained a fan and radio favorite. On their latest record REVIVAL (2017, Essential) Third Day is: Mac Powell (vocals), Mark Lee (guitars), and David Carr (drums). Other instrumentalists used include: Scotty Willbanks, Tim Gibson, Trevor Morgan, and Ken Lewis. Monroe Jones produced the album, while Terry Hemmings served as executive producer. The band was blessed to record at the famed FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Mac Powell says REVIVAL is an old school gospel record. The band still wants to use music to share their faith after all this time.
First up is the title track and lead single ‘Revival’. It’s one of nine songs written by the three group members. Cheryl Rogers, Alfreda Gerald, and Brittany Shewbridge provide backing vocals on this rousing song that sounds like it’s ripped right off of Bob Dylan’s SAVED (1980) which isn’t a bad thing! Get your gospel toe-tapping shoes on for this song with an old school, but much needed message: “Anybody here looking for revival in our own hearts and across the land?/Anybody looking for a real revival?/Lift up your voice and say ‘Amen’ (2X)/Ain’t gonna find it in a politician/Not from the government or any law/Can’t get it going by your own religion/Only by the Spirit and the Word of God (2X)”. ‘Gonna Be There With Me’ is one of two songs on which Trevor Morgan, Scotty Willbanks, and Tim Gibson are co-writers. It has a bar room feel to it musically, complete with piano, and offers these words of comfort: “From the deepest part of the ocean to the farthest galaxy/Anywhere that I would roam/Lord, it’s always good to know/That You’re gonna be there with me”.
‘Leave this World Behind’ is a terrific Christian rock song with a great electric guitar part. These lyrics anticipate heaven: “When I leave this world behind/Don’t worry for me/When I leave this world behind/Cause I’ll be in glory/Don’t you shed a tear for me/I’ll be doing fine.../All my tears and all my pain/Will be gone in Jesus’ Name/I’ll be free and I will sing forever”. Chris Rodriguez sings background vocals on ‘Let there Be Light’, a modern worship number sure to become a favorite: “Let there be light where there is darkness/Let there be hope when there is none/Let there be peace in the midst of sorrow/Let there be love to bring us back home.../There is one light/There is one Savior of the world/There is one hope/His Name is Jesus, Jesus”.
‘Faithful and True’ is a laid back ballad that uses violins, viola, and cello. It places full confidence in God: “There’s never been a reason not to believe You/There’s never been a season when You didn’t come through/In every situation You’ve been my salvation/Your love is faithful and true (2X)”. Scat Springs provides backing vocals on ‘Gather Round Now’, a meaty and mighty modern spiritual: “Oh, I will sing about my Jesus/Oh, I will sing about my Lord/The King of all creation, of every tribe and nation/One day He’ll return to take us home”.
Solomon Olds, Rebecca Olds, Seth Philpott, and Mac Powell wrote ‘In Your Hands’, an adult contemporary song of testimony: “When I’m all dried up and I’m all worn out/You runneth over my cup/When You pour love down/When I’m lost and alone/All by myself, barely breathing, yet I find You there/You have always been there”. It’s quite a pretty track. Next up is Paul Simon’s 1973 composition ‘Loves Me Like a Rock’. Here it is given the country gospel treatment with group claps and The Oak Ridge Boys contributing vocals. It’s a catchy story song: “When I was a little boy and the Devil would call my name/I said ‘Now who do you who do you think you’re fooling?/I’m a consecrated boy/Singer in a Sunday choir/Oh my mama loves me, she loves me/She get down on her knees and hugs me/Oh, she loves me like a rock/She loves me like the Rock of Ages’”.
Tanya Smith is a backing vocalist on ‘New Creation’, a spirited Americana style song about conversion: “Well, if you’re sad and lonely, don’t know what to do/You give your heart to Jesus, He will get you through/And if you’re feeling tired, with nothing left to lose/You give your life to God/He’s gonna make everything new, yeah”. ‘Nobody Loves Me Like Jesus’ sings His praises with a pleasant sound: “Nobody in this whole wide world gonna give what I’m looking for/Listen right now, gonna say it more/Nobody loves me like/Nobody else gonna to live that life or gonna make that sacrifice/The only thing I can’t deny/Nobody loves, nobody loves me like Jesus”.
‘Anything is Possible’ is an inspiring gospel number that’s upbeat: “We all have our troubles, we all have our trials/But I know that we can make it with a faith that’s like a child/When you see you’re outnumbered/And you’re feeling overwhelmed/Let the Spirit lead and just believe/That anything is possible”. ‘Great God Almighty’ offers this advice in a funky, folksy musical style: “So if you think that you can’t make it/And you feel like no one cares/You just turn your eyes to Heaven/And you whisper out this prayer/You say ‘Great God Almighty won’t You save Your children?/Lord in Heaven won’t you lend a hand?/Ain’t no way we gonna do this without You/By Your Spirit I know we can”. Last up is ‘Devotion’, a ballad that uses strings and is prayerful: “Lord, I really want to know You just as You are/To give You all that You deserve/Lord, fill me up till Your love surrounds me/Lord, give me grace for all those around me/Lord, give me faith that’s simple and true/Lord, make my life a devotion to You”.
REVIVAL is a folksy, rootsy gospel rock album that is very down to earth. These songs will take you to church. They make you feel you are at an old time camp meeting or sitting around a campfire singing about God. These are Holy Ghost inspired songs. Besides gospel, Southern rock and old country sounds can be found here. Various instruments used to flavor this unique Third Day record include: B3, clavinet, melodica, Wurlitzer, and resonator. Mac Powell’s vocals are full of feeling. Themes include: a desire for revival and God’s presence, songs that testify about Christ’s power, love, and the peace He gives, heaven, prayers, and encouragement. This is a flawless, unique, uplifting album which I’m rating 100%. Young and old alike should enjoy this one.
The Deluxe Edition of REVIVAL includes five bonus tracks. The first two are new songs. ‘You Redeemed Me’ is an adult rock song that testifies: “My debts have all been cancelled/My ransom has been paid/You turned my fears and failures to a story of Your grace/You gave me a brand new life/Now I am forever changed”. ‘The Return’ is a sobering song of sorts: “In the blink of an eye/Like a thief in the night/The sky will be torn open.../Are you ready for, ready for, ready for the return?” Last up are three tracks collector’s will appreciate: ‘Revival (Radio Mix)’, ‘Let there Be Light (Original Cut)’, and ‘Faithful and True (First Take)’. For more info visit: www.thirdday.com.