CD Review: Worth It (Brian Free & Assurance)

bfaRating: 4 stars (of 5)

Average Song Rating: 3.6 stars (of 5)

Song List: There is a Kingdom Coming; Go Tell the World; Die Another Day; You Must Have Met Him; Preaching to the Choir; Worth It; Nothing Takes You By Surprise; Not One; I Am Redeemed; A New Thing; When the Mountains Will Not Move.

Available From: Artist.

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Worth It is Brian Free & Assurance’s second project with the lineup of Brian Free, Bill Shivers, Derrick Selph, and Jeremy Lile. It is Lile’s second project with the group; since the group’s previous bass, Keith Plott, left during the recording process of Real Faith, this is the first project where the group had the chance to arrange songs for his voice.

Speaking of arranging songs for Jeremy Lile’s voice, Lile is featured on the title track, “Worth It.” Most fans of traditional and middle-of-the-road Southern Gospel styles will view this as the project’s standout track. Lile has the solos on the verses, and Brian Free carries the melody on the choruses. The Dills also cut this on their most recent release, Story of a Lifetime (reviewed here). Though I believe the Dills’ project came out earlier in the year, the two cuts were more or less concurrently released, in a situation something like when Gold City, Legacy Five, and the Talley Trio all cut “Truth is Marching On” several years ago.

Fans of traditional and middle-of-the-road Southern Gospel will also enjoy the project’s opening acapella track, the stunningly beautiful “There is a Kingdom Coming,” and “I Am Redeemed,” a big ballad featuring Brian Free.

“Die Another Day” was a great pick for the project’s first single. The song features Brian Free and has a memorable lyric and a great hook.

The project continues in the vein of It’s So God and Real Faith, two projects that have helped redefine the group’s sound. But the project has something for everyone, not just fans of the progressive part of the genre. And yet the project does this while maintaining consistency between tracks—no small accomplishment.

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15 Letters to the Editor

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  1. “Die Another Day” was a great pick for the project’s first single?
    Uh, Daniel, have your taste in music changed? To me, this song is only Southern Gospel lyricly, musically when this song gets to the chorus it is so contemporary and processed that I couldn’t add it to our playlist.

  2. What? Why does the style of the music make have to make or break a song? It is just incredible and I hope it can get the play on the radio it deserves.

  3. Well Noah, just because a song is “incredible” doesn’t make it Southern gospel, the “style” of music is what makes it Southern gospel. To me it doesn’t fit the Southern Gospel format and needs to be sent to contemporary radio instead. 🙂

  4. No, my tastes in music haven’t changed. There were only two or three songs on this project in a style I personally prefer (“There is a Kingdom Coming,” “Worth It,” and maybe one other).

    Generally, I couldn’t stand a song in the style of “Die Another Day.” But I thought the lyric was so catching that I could tolerate the soundtrack. It’s a rare exception, but every now and then I do find a progressive song that is just simply so good that I don’t mind it. 🙂

  5. Good review Daniel everyone one has a different taste either musically or lyrically. I lean towards middle of the road and moderately progressive and I consider this album to be just on the edge of moderately progressive. I really enjoy this album lyricall, musically I think it is very good but maybe a little too progressive. My favorite cuts are in no particular order “Worth It” “Not One” Nothing Takes You By Surprise” “Die Another Day” “I Am Redeemed”, “There Is A Kingdom Coming” and “Go Tell The World” That’s over half of the album. As you can tell I have a very diverse taste, Considering I like groups ranging all the way from Legacy 5 to Austins Bridge. 🙂

  6. I don’t hear anything remotely “contemporary” with “Die Another Day” that would fit along side today’s current crop of radio stars like Natalie Grant, Brandon Heath, Casting Crowns, or Jeremy Camp.

    That song fits just right alongside current singles from the Talley Trio, Austins Bridge, Karen Peck & New River or Crabb Revival. Is it a traditional song along the lines of Greater Vision, Kingdom Heirs, or Dixie Echoes? No, but it fits on a SG station very well, IMHO.

  7. Fantastic review, Daniel. Very fair and very good coming from a more traditionally-minded blogger. 🙂

  8. DJPhil, have you ever played anything from the Crabb Family, Talley Trio, or maybe “Testify” by the Booth Brothers? If you have, your “Litmus Test” for radio singles is extremely inconsistent.

  9. Well Tyler, one of the marks of Southern Gospel music is the pure vocals which all those other songs have and which this song does not have. When the chorus starts the voices are run through a processor that distrorts the voices…you didn’t notice that?

  10. I hate to tell you guys, but if you don’t push the envelope we are going to die. What about “When God Ran” a huge SG song as well as CCM. We have to draw people to the solid lyrics, if it takes a litte extra drums and guitars to do it, I say Do It! And I strongly agree with Tyler, lets be consistent. And don’t blame Daniel it’s his blog and he can review to his taste. Thanks for the clean site.

  11. Tyler (#7) – thanks!

    Stac (#10) – you’re welcome! I would say that we need to always push the envelope in terms of quality – quality of songs, quality of recordings, quality of stage presentation. If we don’t do that, we’ll die. But we don’t have to have our sound become more contemporary to survive.

  12. I don’t deny some of the more progressive, cutting edge production work on “Worth It.”

    My broader point was that various other groups (including “Testify” by the ever-popular Booth Brothers) sound exactly the same, or at least very similar. Just throwing out the concept of consistency. 😉

  13. can i have the lyrics to your song die another day?
    could you email them to me?

  14. Thought I might as well mention here that I really enjoyed the song “Die Another Day.” Of course, I can tolerate a more contemporary style in general, but I just thought this was a good, powerful number. However, I think I prefer Phillips, Craig & Dean’s “Crucified With Christ” along similar lines.

    As for the processed vocals… there may be some processing going on there, but I think that’s just how the group sounds. You get exactly the same effect with “I Am Redeemed” and “I Believe God.” Unless they’re doing exactly the same distortion process on all those numbers, I think it’s just their trademark sound.