CD Review: How Great It Is (Inspirations)
Average Song Rating: 3.7 stars (of 5)
Song List: I Know What Lies Ahead; He Sought Me Again; The Rose; Another Chance for God to Move; We Are Not Home Yet; How Great it Is; He’s Still Settin’ My Place; I’m Safe; Come Spring; Amazing Grace.
Available from: Crossroads.
The Inspirations know what their fans want. Inspirations fans aren’t looking for “stylistic progression,” “artist development,” or other signs that the artist has changed from project to project. The group knows their fans want ten or twelve new and cover songs in the same style as the previous albums, and that is what they do.
As always, this album includes several covers. Jack Laws is featured on “Come Spring”; bass Mike Holcomb and tenor Archie Watkins are featured on the song “I Know What Lies Ahead” (most prominently recorded by the Oak Ridge Boys). Watkins is also featured on an acapella rendition of “Amazing Grace”; his fans will probably point to the track as one of the project’s highlights, while those who do not like his voice will probably view it as their least favorite track.
“The Rose,” penned by Joseph Habedank and Matthew Holt, was a good pick for their first single. While perhaps the most Inspiration-styled of the songs Habedank and Holt have published, it also contains enough of the style they typically write to make it an interesting mix.
“We are Not Home Yet,” featuring Mike Holcomb, is another strong ballad. (Seeing the song’s name on the song list got me to wondering what it would sound like if the Inspirations covered Steven Curtis Chapman’s hit song “Not Home Yet.” It would be interesting, to say the least.)
One highlight of Inspirations projects for many Southern Gospel fans is that the Inspirations always include several convention songs. This project does not disappoint, with “I Know What Lies Ahead,” “Another Chance for God to Move,” and “I’m Safe.”
Since the Inspirations maintain a very consistent style from project to project, the relative strength of their albums basically comes down to the quality of the song selection. If you didn’t like their style before this project, you will find nothing changed, but if you enjoy their brand of Appalachian Gospel, you will find this a quality addition to their discography.