Thursday, March 29, 2018


Raymond Howard 'Ray' Boltz was born on June 14, 1953 in Muncie, Indiana.  He released his debut album 'Watch the Lamb' back in 1986.  In 1990 he won Song of the Year at the Dove Awards with 'Thank You'.  In 1994 he won Inspirational Recorded Song of the Year with 'I Pledge Allegiance to the Lamb'.  Fast forward to 1998 and he released his ninth studio album and tenth overall, HONOR AND GLORY (Word Records).  It was produced by Steve Millikan and Ray, and executive produced by Ray and Lois Veenstra.  In the liner notes, Ray writes: "I would like to thank every American veteran for your inspiration, your dedication and your service to America.  This gratitude is alos extended to those public servants who are willing to put themselves in danger to keep the rest of us safe.  To those men and women who have given their lives for these ideals (and to their families) are not forgotten".

1. Starting things off is 'Dare to Believe', one of several songs penned by the duo of Ray Boltz and Steve Millikan.  This one was inspired by a sermon Boltz heard in Calcutta, India.  It's an uplifting adult contemporary song all about trusting in God: "I dare to believe that miracles happen, yeah/And that mountains still move and demons must flee/For the God that we serve/He is much more than able, yes He is/So don't be afraid/Stand up and say/'I dare to believe'".  Sandy Williams does a good job on guitars here.

2. 'Scars' is one of a few songs penned solely by Ray.  This is a beautiful easy listening song about intimacy with Jesus: "I said 'Lord my scars are deep/I don't want You to see them/So many of them were caused by things I chose to do'/He said 'Look again at the ones that I am wearing/Don't you know I chose these scars too?'/I saw His scars/No, He didn't try to hide them/He said 'Come and look inside them/They're a window to my heart/Don't forget I love you just the way you are'". Shelly Harris provides backing vocals.

3. 'The Last to Be Chosen' is an adult contemporary ballad of encouragement with Jerry McPherson on guitars: "The last to be chosen are the first He will call/And what He does through them will amaze one and all/It won't be the hero that carries the ball/The last to be chosen are the first He will call".

4. 'The Call' is a lovely orchestral instrumental featuring a spoken word piece by Ronald Reagan.  'An Honor to Serve' is a moving anthem written by Boltz and inspired by a prisoner of war (Jeremiah A. Denton Jr.) during the Vietnam War.  Here are some of the words: "It's an honor to serve/To join in the fight/To lift up my voice/To lay down my life/Giving glory to God/Seeking none in return/It's an honor, an honor to serve/Now the day he was captured/They locked him in chains/And though weeks turned to years/Still his faith stayed the same".  Craig Combell plays the penny whistle.

5. Marshall Hall is one of the many backing vocalists on 'Does the Light Still Shine', while Dennis Kertela plays drums.  It's a sentimental, inspirational ballad: "Does the light still shine? (2X)/Is it bright enough for the lost to find?/Does the light still shine?.../When you touch someone in Jesus' Name/There shines the light of love".

6. Next up is 'This is America'.  Randy Melson plays bass on this patriotic country/pop number: "This is America/This is the land I love/Sweet liberty/Land of the free, home of the brave/And when the day is through/Give me the red, the white, and the blue/Wherever I roam/This is my home/This is America".

7. Steve Millikan plays acoustic piano and B-3 on 'Fallen Not Forgotten', a patriotic anthem of remembrance: "They left behind their families/The towns where they were born/For the rice paddies of Vietnam and the sands of Desert Storm/They were soldiers in Korea/And WWI and WWII/They paid the price/Some gave their lives/And they fought for me and you/Fallen, not forgotten/They were the heroes who stood so tall and forever we will remember/With honor and glory/They gave their all".

8. 'Jesus Real Loud' finds Ray playing the resonator guitar and harmonica.  It's a quirky country/pop song inspired by the faith of his kids: "It's ok sometimes to whisper/But hey, listen to me mister/The way we act, can anybody tell?/Lift your voice a little higher/Smell the smoke, and feel the fire/Ain't it time somebody started to yell?/What if I said 'Jesus' real loud?/What if I said 'Jesus' real loud?/What if I just lifted up my voice and did it now?/Would you think I was a prophet?Would you still want me around?/What if I said 'Jesus' real loud?"

9. 'The Bells are Ringing' makes good use of twelve backing vocalists and runs over six minutes long.  It's a great Easter anthem: "Now Jesus was born the Messiah/A man sent to save other men/And Scripture proclaims/He is the High Priest/Who offered Himself for our sins/And cold was the tomb where they laid Him/And there only silence was found/But on the third day/The stone rolled away/And the whole world woke up to the sound/The bells are ringing/He's alive!/Oh yes, the sacrifice is worthy".

10. An awesome Carman like story song about Jesus' resurrection, called 'Defeated', follows: Yeah, Jesus is defeated when you look at the grave/Until you see that the stone's rolled away/Jesus is defeated/When you look at all the pain He had to feel/And then you read Isaiah 53/And it says that's the way we were healed".  Eric Darken plays percussion.

11. Last up is the quite, reverent 'The Sinner's Prayer'.  It includes these words: "Jesus, I believe that You are there/And You're listening to this sinner's prayer/Touch this broken heart and make it new/I believe in You".

HONOR AND GLORY encourages us to believe in and to love God whatever the devil or other people may say.  The main way God demonstrated His love for us was through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  God cares for us. He wants us to share Jesus with those we come into contact with.  Love for one's country and respect for the military are also spoken of here. It could have come across as tacky, but it doesn't here at all.  The main musical genres here are adult contemporary, inspirational, and country pop.  Slower paced songs outnumber faster paced ones by about three.  Ray has a nice voice to listen to.  I'm rating HONOR AND GLORY 99%.  For more info visit or connect with him on facebook.