Some artists spend the most time trying to lasso the latest trends. As a result they become indistinguishable from the next burgeoning artist out there. While others try to cudgel the loudest sounds into the heads of listeners thinking somehow that would suffice in lieu of a strong melodic hook. But for the Crist Family, it is apparent that they have had spent most of their time picking the best songs they could find. The 11 cuts of "Because of Love" oscillate back to the orbit of country music of the 90s. The epoch where Garth Brooks, Shania Twain, Tanya Tucker and Patty Loveless were ruling the airwaves with their songs that trump on their unforgettable melodic structures and their indelible hooks. Frankly, fans that enjoy their Christian country with no throwaway filler tunes will have a field day with "Because of Love." Though this family group started singing together in 1987, they only started out ministering full time in 2004. Signed to Horizon Records, the Crist Family has recorded 11 CDs and 2 Live DVDs. They have had amazing chart success with every song released to radio. In 2009, they won a Singing News Fan Award for Horizon Group of the Year. They have also had several Top 5 and Top 10 nominations in categories including Mixed Group of the Year, Favorite Soprano and Favorite Young Artist.
Save for their Christmas record, "Because of Love" is the Crist Family's first album since 2010's "Oasis." The almost three-year interval has certainly paid off as this new CD is packed with some of their most deliciously solid songs --- they are meaty without an ounce of fat. And part of such sturdiness is the result of songwriter Kenna Turner West who has co-written seven songs here. West, as many would recognized from her patented last name, is the daughter-in-law of the late legendary Dottie West. This younger West has had also her name appearing on the writer's credits of countless Southern Gospel records, most recently on the latest releases by the Talleys, Gordon Mote, Marty Raybon, Adam Crabb, and Brian Free and Assurance. West's showcases her mettle with the insidiously catchy "Where It All Comes From" which will get one humming to its melody long after this record has stopped. A careful exposition of James 1:17, "Where It All Comes From" affirms God's sovereignty in our lives despite our setbacks and disappointments. The Crist Family shows that they can be a spark-plug in the power-charged "Through the Roof." Again co-written by West, this time with Belinda Smith and Jason Cox, "Through the Roof" is a lesson of sacrificial love exemplified by the Biblical story in Mark 2.
Another song that has a way of driving into our memory is "Everywhere." If you have ever been moved into a new town without the knowledge of a single familiar face; if you have been in times when you don't have a single acquaintance and all you have is Jesus; "Everywhere" will bring tears of identification to your eyes. The presence of Jesus has not been more powerfully celebrated than in this song. The lead single "The Closer I Get to the Cross" will get us weeping for a different reason. Often the farther we move away from Christ, the less we feel the heinousness of sin in our life. The sympathetic but dramatic reading of this gorgeous power ballad that exalts the Cross will get us weeping over sin again. Continuing on the big balladry style is the Crist Family's take of Rebecca Peck's "Live" which is an urgent cry to enjoy life and all the opportunities God has given us.
Few are the songs on heaven. Part of the reason why we don't sing too often of heaven is that we don't really believe that heaven is indeed a better place. To many Christians, it is just our inevitable end. "I've Got Forever in My Mind," written by Karen Gillespie and Mary Each, is one of the best songs on God's abode that is realistic, Biblical and a sweet candy to the ears. While the family takes on an acoustic Alison Krauss-sounding route with the title cut "Because of Love" that again displays the beauty of this record. And truth be told, this CD is just a pure joy to listen from start to finish. It's refreshing, meaningful and all the songs are just so melodiously addicting.