CD Review: God is In Control (The Dills)

God is In Control (The Dills)Through their years with Crossroads, The Dills kept steadily improving. In fact, their final Crossroads project, Story of a Lifetime, was so strong that it received a 4.5 star rating in this site’s review. Though they recorded a hymns table project last year, this is their first mainline since leaving Crossroads.

It starts off on familiar turf, with a cover of Dallas Holm’s “Rise Again,” a song covered by the Cathedrals and many other groups through the 1970s and early 1980s. Two other songs will be familiar to Southern Gospel audiences; “End of the Beginning” was a David Phelps solo hit, while “The Prayer” is a cross-genre hit recorded by the Talley Trio in 2000 and by Andrew Ishee as a piano solo during his Palmetto State Quartet days. (Yes, it’s the same one with the discussion-provoking line “we are all God’s children.”) The remainder of the songs are either new or new to the genre.

The album covers an even wider stylistic spectrum than their Crossroads-era projects.  The drum loops on “If You Had Only Seen Me Then” might raise a few eyebrows—but at the same time, fans of middle-of-the-road Southern Gospel will love the magnificent ballad “The Church Will Remain.”

The Story of a Lifetime, and the Dills’ earlier Crossroads projects, were recorded—and featured song selection—with an eye towards establishing the Dills as a professional-tier Southern Gospel group. (They succeeded.) God is in Control seems to be recorded without some of these considerations in mind; the songs include several that their audiences may have heard before, but not so many times as to be tired of them. Perhaps the Dills just took the advice which virtually every Southern Gospel reviewer has handed out at some point or another: It’s far better to revisit a good song that has been previously recorded than to record a mediocre new song just to say that the album is 100% previously uncut songs.

If you’ve loved the Dills’ previous projects, you’re sure to find at least several songs you will love. Even if they are experimenting with new stylistic territory, they aren’t going so far or so fast as to lose their core fan base.

Group Members: Tim, Bridget, Shawn, and LeeAnn Dill. • Review copy provided. • Song list: If You Had Only Seen Me Then; God is In Control; End of the Beginning; Rise Again; These Hands; It’s Only the First Time; The Most Unlikely People; The Prayer; The Church Will Remain; You Reign. Average song rating: 3.7 stars. CD rating: 4 stars.

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