3:1 CD Review: Nothing But Love (Brian Free & Assurance)

Nothing But Love - Brian Free & Assurance

3:1 Reviews offer three highlights of an album and one area that could have been improved.

1: I Want To Be That Man: This song is a tribute to the power of a father who lived what he believed. Brian Free, whose father passed away two years ago, converts a passion for the lyric into the album’s strongest vocal performance.

2: Guard Your Heart: The number of songs address the theme of guarding our hearts are few enough that a new song on the topic inevitably draws comparisons to earlier ones. If you lined up this song in the sonic equivalent of a blind taste test with Steve Green’s 1989 track of the same name, a majority would likely lean toward the 1989 track.

All comparisons aside, though, this is a strong track on its own merits. An imperfect rhyme in the chorus is particularly well-phrased: “So, believer, don’t forget Whose you are / Guard your heart.”

3: Nothing But Love: The first two or three spins through the song, I had to resist the temptation to just press skip. By spin five, I couldn’t get it out of my head! It’s progressive enough to not be for everyone, but it’s actually quite catchy. 

:1: Almost…: The group’s previous album, Never Walk Alone (2010), was a monumental tour de force, earning a five-star rating in our glowing review. Albums of that caliber are almost impossible to top. While Nothing But Love isn’t an exception to the rule, it is almost as strong. It certainly has its moments of brilliance.

Traditional or Progressive: Very progressive, with some middle-of-the-road moments.

Credits: Group members: Brian Free, Bill Shivers, Derrick Selph, Jeremy Lile. Produced by Ricky Free.

Song List: Nothing But Love; It’s Quite a Valley; If the Lord Says Do It; I Will Be Praying; Guard Your Heart; There is Power; Calvary’s Cry; You Can Be a Bridge; I Want to Be That Man; Revival.

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17 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. I am intereted to find out how many different group have used that circle as a front cover. I know the Florida boys used a golden version of the circle and the rhythrm maststers used the circle on one of thier albms. Has any othe groups used it?

    • That’s a fascinating question! I don’t think visually, so it hadn’t even occurred to me to ponder it.

  2. Just went to Youtube to figure out what the song Nothing But Love is, and now I have it stuck in my head! Lol
    I still think Never Walk Alone is their best album, I listen to it all the time, but this new one is almost my new favorite of theirs…..almost. 🙂

  3. It’s a little progressive for my taste, but “Guard Your Heart” is a tremendous message I would recommend to anyone. Their performance of it at NQC was powerhouse.

  4. I picked this up at NQC and like you, I skipped Nothing But Love the first couple of times. Now its one of my favorites. Even though the songs may not be as strong as they were on Never Walk Alone, I think the production was better. To me the voices were mixed very well. I was a little worried at the first line of You Can Be A Bridge. It is very computerized and I was worried the whole song was going to be that way but luckily its just an effect at the beginning. I have nothing but love for this cd 🙂

  5. Interesting, I didn’t think “Nothing But Love” was that progressive…certainly not compared to “You Can Be a Bridge,” “I Will Be Praying,” or some of their older songs like “Praying Man.” So, Daniel…is that a five star review? 🙂

    • No – if I say an album is not quite as strong as an album that I’ve rated with five stars, that does mean that it’s not a five-star album.

  6. I hadn’t read your review till this morning but ,this is the one i chose from the projects i purchsed at NQC to listen to for the first time last night.I thought that it was very good,as well.The ones sticking out to me this morning are Guard Your Heart and Calvary’s Cry.Can’t wait to give it another listen!!!

  7. Favorites from this great cd: “I Will Be Praying,” “Revival,” “You Can Be A Bridge,” and “Nothing But Love.”

    You know, I can purchase multiple cds at NQC, but it is rare that they have the staying power of a BFA release. I will spin them a few weeks, but not for months. There are a few exceptions like a new Gold City or Kingdom Heirs release.

  8. I just recently purchased “Nothing But Love” and “Never Walk Alone” at a BFA concert. Interestingly, I came to the same conclusion – while I really enjoy both albums and thought them both excellent, I prefer NWA slightly more.

    Just a side note, I don’t think I’ve ever heard a clearer presentation of the Gospel at a concert than I did at BFA’s. Not to say others don’t, but it was refreshing to experience!

  9. I had my dad bring back some CDs from NQC. Nothing But Love was by far the best of the collection. In fact, for me, it’s the best CD I’ve heard this year. I love “Revival” on this album. Derrick stepped up and nailed this one. “I Will Be Praying” is great, too. I can say I loved it from beginning to end from the first time I listened to it. And you can catch my own review on it on episode 25 of the Southern Gospel Gardener (shameless plug, I know). Think I’ll go and pop this one in the player right now.

  10. the more I listen, the less progressive this is…. I think its an AWESOME CD.. the songs are all STRONG.

    • It’s still a progressive CD. Your ears have just gotten acclimated (used) to it. 🙂

  11. 13 Comments is a pretty low number for a cd review. Do you think the SoGo world is losing interest in BFA?

    • Actually, 13 isn’t shabby for a non-controversial CD that isn’t either the group’s best or its worst.

  12. Good point. I just hope BFA isn’t losing Southern Gospel fans. They may be close to contemporary except their songs don’t sound like every other CCM song and BFA has stronger messages in their songs.

  13. IMO, I believe Nothing But Love is the best project the group has ever recorded. When it comes to song selection, vocal performances, lyrical content, and overall production, Never Walk Alone & Nothing But Love seem to stand head and shoulders above their other projects. I just connect more with NBL as a whole.

    And as far as BFA losing fans, I don’t think thats an issue. I know plenty of old school, SG Fans, who love BFA as well as young people, so I think they’re fine.