A Glowing Showcase | Posted March 19, 2012
Phillips, Craig & Dean mark their 21st year together with the release of their 11th album, Breathe In. Produced by Bernie Hermes and Nathan Nockels, the trio’s newest release for Fairtrade Services follows the successful Fearless project, which included the No. 1 hit, “Revelation Song,” also made popular by Kari Jobe. On Breathe In, Randy Phillips, Shawn Craig, and Dan Dean illustrate why they’ve enjoyed longevity: They consistently produce quality music and well-written songs while remaining musically relevant.
“Great and Glorious” kickstarts the record with fervor. Drumbeats and group vocals open the track. The powerful unison singing on the choruses matches the rock band backing. If you haven’t listened to these guys in a while, you could mistake this for a MercyMe song. The momentum continues with another worship rocker, “Our God is Here,” which speaks of the might of God that is employed on our behalf if we have faith unhindered by fear: “Mountains move. Giants lose. Dead men walk out of empty tombs!”
“Great I Am” sings praises to Jesus, expressing the desire to be near to God’s heart and witness Him moving through our lives. It’s a suitably big arrangement with a sweeping, orchestral-like ending that serves as a good bridge into the gorgeous lead single,“When the Stars Burn Down (Blessing and Honor).” Written by Jennie Lee Riddle (who wrote "Revelation Song") and Jonathan Lee, and recently recorded by Rebecca St. James, this standout song is already having chart success. With stirring lyrics, the vivid imagining of Heaven is supported by dynamic music with varied movements that contribute to the song’s mystery and awe.
The drum-heavy “Speechless” is not the Steven Curtis Chapman tune. It’s a straight-ahead worship song you’ll find yourself singing along to as the trio declares, “There is no one like You, God.” PCD shines on “Tell Your Heart to Beat Again.” This emotional song speaks of rebirth in Christ and the need for self-forgiveness: “Yesterday’s a closing door, but you don’t live there anymore / So say goodbye to where you’ve been and tell your heart to beat again.”
Each member gets a chance to solo as they alternate verses on “Great, Great God,” another solid worship number praising God’s power. The uplifting “I Choose to Believe” will be a comfort to listeners walking through darkness. God is always in control, even when we can’t see or feel Him working in our lives. As an effective added touch, the tune ends with the refrain from “‘Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus.”
Energy abounds in “These Bones,” which references the Valley of Dry Bones from chapter 37 in Ezekiel. Beginning with keyboards, bouncy percussion, and claps, it’s immediately infectious. The group is clearly enjoying themselves as they profess that hope is not lost, for “these bones are gonna rise / these bones will live again.” I adore this song, and it’s sure to be a crowd favorite at live shows.
The trio concludes the project with “All is Well.” Boasting a melodic piano intro, this piece celebrates Jesus’ victory in the cross:“Praise the lamb. All is well / He holds the keys of Death and Hell / Jesus reigns and all is well.”
Breathe In is a glowing showcase for time-tested musical trio Phillips, Craig & Dean. The three solidly demonstrate musical relevance, songwriting skills, and vocals that sound better than ever. The group is clearly still having fun after all these years!
Highlights include “Our God is Here”, “When the Stars Burn Down (Blessing and Honor)”, “Tell Your Heart to Beat Again” and “These Bones.”