CD Review: Not Alone (Greater Vision)

Rating: 4 (of 5)

Average Song Rating: 3.5 (of 5)

Producer: Lari Goss.

Song List: I Want To Know That You Know; You Were Faithful Yesterday; Meet Him At Calvary; It Pays to Pray; Share It With Jesus; He is Loved; I’ve Been to the Bottom; Born to Serve the Lord; The Source of My Song; You’re Not Forsaken.

Available from: Artist, ChristianBook.com.

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Virtually all groups care about both the lyrics and the music of their songs. But close observation of group’s song and arrangement choices suggests that some groups (Signature Sound, Gaither Vocal Band) focus particularly on how a song works musically, while others (Perrys, Inspirations) focus particularly on how it works lyrically. Lyrically dominant groups will occasionally select a lyrically strong song that might not be as musically memorable, and vice versa for musically dominant groups.

Greater Vision’s appeal to their dedicated fan base is partially explained in light of the fact that they are a lyrically dominant group and tend to attract lyrically dominant fans. That is to say, if they release an album with several lyrically strong songs, they can get away with realising an album that (like Not Alone) has only one fast song (“I Want You to Know That You Know”) and only one big ballad (“You’re Not Forsaken”). The rest of the songs on the project are recorded at slow or medium tempo.

The concept of lyrically dominant song selection is well illustrated by two of the songs on the project, “He is Loved” and “It Pays to Pray.” On first listen, a casual listener might think the tracks were among the weakest on the CD. But a careful listener particularly attuned to unique lyric ideas would be grabbed by the message of “He is Loved.” Word is that “It Pays to Pray” is getting some of the strongest responses that any of the songs on the project are getting before live audiences. The story behind the song—how Rodney Griffin wrote it about his father-in-law’s conversion two months before his father-in-law finally softened to the Gospel and came into the Kingdom—connects with audiences and perhaps leaves them more receptive to the song. But the appeal of both songs is predominantly in their lyrics.

This is Jacob Kitson’s first recording with the group; he is featured on three songs, “You Were Faithful Yesterday,” “He is Loved,” and “The Source of My Song.” He does well on all three, and “He is Loved” seems to do particularly well at bringing out some nice tones in his voice. This is despite the fact that the tracks were actually recorded before Jason was hired. (Thus, Kitson’s second project with the group will be the first to feature songs picked for his voice.)

Though Not Alone has several songs that should do well on radio, and several that should go over well in live concerts, the project is unlikely to turn the world of Southern Gospel upside down. But Greater Vision doesn’t need such a project; they have several concert programs’ worth of hit songs and favorites that didn’t get sent to radio. All they need is a song or two for radio, and enough good new material to keep their concert programs from getting stale. Not Alone hits that mark.


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14 Letters to the Editor

Southern Gospel Journal welcomes letters to the editor. We will post the most thoughtful and insightful submissions. Ground rules: Don't attack or belittle groups or fellow posters, or advance heresies rejected by orthodox Christianity. Do keep comments positive, constructive, and on topic.
  1. Daniel, it is a little scary for me to realize how much we think alike! I had already started work on a blog that directly addresses the lyrics of this CD and how they specifically touched me….. a “dedicated fan!” On the first few listens through the CD I was surprised at how many slower-tempoed songs were adjacent to each other (rather than the customary mixing up of fast/medium/slow songs). But as I have listened more and more to the content of the songs rather than just the music and harmony, it no longer matters to me because the meaning within the lyrics is what I listen to now! I love the new CD and I am sure it will get a lot of MP3 time from me!!

  2. That is funny! 🙂

    And I had this feeling you were a lyrically dominant fan. (I am, too. Unless I’m listening closely, as for a review, I might miss musical subtleties, but I’ll often especially appreciate unique turns of phrases.)

  3. One of my favorite “unique turns of phrases” on this CD is how God “will hush the angel praises just to hear what you are sayin’…..” in “It Pays to Pray.”

  4. So I just listened to it again … this time at home where I actually had good speakers and could appreciate the music. Jacob is great – they should never skip a beat in this transition.

    I’m gonna try to play it again for my family during supper tonight … 🙂

  5. Woops, I meant this to go in the concert review thread!

  6. Hello,

    I would like to add a correction to the review. It states that the song, “He is Loved” was recorded before Jason was hired. Actually that should state that it was recorded before Jacob was hired. Other than that, I saw them in concert last month and they did a lot of these songs, and I think the most stirring song was “It pays to Pray”. Hearing the story behind that made me get on my knees and pull out the old prayer sheet, and start naming names I hadn’t called out in a while.

    God Bless,
    Pastor Chris Perdue

  7. Daniel, you’re not doing bad on your Google links and search availability – I just got this album (more on that later) and ran a search on “Greater Vision Not Alone,” and you were second on the list!

  8. Wow! That’s just crazy.

    I double-checked, and you’re right. And when I put in “greater vision jacob kitson” I came in #1 – right ahead of the official GV website!

    Now I have to admit that I like that. 🙂

  9. I thought you would. 😉

    Keep up the good work!

  10. One thing I noticed on my first listen is that “Share It With Jesus” is off their very early album – The Journey, I think. The intro came on, and I was trying to identify which old hymn it was … I finally recognized it when they started singing. I wish they would re-release the title song from that album. It was fantastic. I still have to get the tape out and give it another listen now and then.

  11. Yes. I heard the song on Now and Then, even though I don’t have the actual debut.

  12. “On A Journey” was the album title and I really liked it a lot. The title cut, “The Love That Lifts Me”, “Share It With Jesus”, “New Wine”, “The Eyes Of Jesus”, “In The Shelter Of His Arms”…just a bunch of good stuff on that one.

  13. Greater vision fan here…..have been following the group since they started. I just wanted to make a few comments about “Not Alone”. First off, I absolutely love it. I was reading from some of you about the differences in having lyrical content and musical content and such. I beleive that GV does a great job at both and in alot of cases, combining the two.
    Jaccob sounds great……..heard him in concert before the cd came out.
    Now for my critical ear……..I havent researched it, but I would almost be 100% sure in saying that the vocals were reacorded somewhere different this time, OR, by someone other than the person who recorded the vocals on the past few cds. Often times in certain songs, especially the slower ones like “I was Born to Serve the Lord” where the “gate” does not open soon enough, causing the very VERY first part of the word being sung to get cut off. The “gate” is used to eleminate breathing or any other sounds the mic would pick up while the singer is not singing. And in the beginning of “It pays to Pray” you can hear the same thing during the opening instrumental…..somewhat of a “hiss” pops thrugh hear and there. As far as the sound quality of the vocals, I actually like these better than the past few albums. They are “stacked” the way I like them, very thick, sharp, and clear!
    All in all, I think its another winner from GV, and cannot wait for the next one when Jaccob is even more settled in and they pick songs around his voice! Hope they get back in my neck of the woods soon!!!

  14. After readin what I just posted, I realized that I could be wrong about who recorded the vocals, they were, at least, EDITED by someone different than before.