There is no vision greater than singing about the Cross of Jesus Christ. When the Gospel is central, there is a glowing beauty that you don't need to reinvent the wheel to get attention. This is thus the drawing power of Greater Vision's latest album "For All He's Done." If you have been following their music since the trio's formation in 1990, "For All He's Done" does not charter new ground. There are no glittering polytechnics utilized to glamorize these cuts. There are no peculiar detours to unfamiliar territories of styles and genres. These 10 cuts warmly rest in what we have come to love about Greater Vision: harmonized melodically-rich Southern Gospel with a strong progressive country tinge. There are no added tinsels of the latest beep or whistle, yet the songs are so alluring. This could easily be one of the best Southern Gospel record released this year. Before we peel off the wrapping to examine the treasure within, it's proper to say a word about Greater Vision. Consisting of the current line up of Rodney Griffin, Chris Allman and founding member and producer Gerald Wolfe, Greater Vision is very much a self-contained trio. Unlike many Southern Gospel quartets who are fond of recycling material recorded by other artists, Greater Vision is responsible for the bulk of their repertoire. Save for "Seeking for Me," all the songs here come from the various group members.
One of the reasons why these songs have a way of finding their ways from our speakers into our hearts is that they are Christ centered. Three of them are a class of their own and they deserved mention: first is the Rodney Griffin and Natalie Harp penned ballad "This is Mercy." This is more than just a song. Rather, Greater Vision brings us right to the foot of the Cross of Jesus as we gaze once again inscription on top of our Savior's Cross. Here Griffin wonders if he had his way what he would have written on that plaque; the song concludes with Griffin confessing that the sacrifice of Jesus was so magnanimous that not enough words could ever fill that piece of wood. While "This is Mercy" finds Jesus on the Cross, "I Will Care for You" has the Cross transferred on or shoulders. "I Will Trust You" is a heartfelt prayer of trust in Jesus despite the toils associated with following Him. Title cut "For All He's Done" finds the trio in the power ballad terrain on this gorgeous hymn-like song of praise to Jesus for his blessings culminating in his finished work on the Cross.
Another reason that adds to the tally of this disc's greatness is that Greater Vision often adds a fresh twist to familiar themes. The "storm" as a metaphor for our trials is as old as the Bible, and prodigious songs have utilized it calling upon God to deliver us from them. "I'm Looking for Grace" actually questions if it's the best thing for God to deliver us from our storms. Or should we be praying more for knowing God and his grace in the midst of the torrents. Touted by Gerald Wolfe as the "Waylon Jennings" song, the countrified "Preacher Tell It Like It Is" is an upbeat romp where those who preach God's word are taken to task. This is a much needed plea today for pastors never to compromise when it comes to Biblical truth.
Greater Vision is certainly right in reviving "The Blood Hasn't Ever Changed' a song they recorded in the mid 90s. "The Blood Hasn't Ever Changed" has the stamp "classic" written all over it: its hymn-like melody bolstered by a power packed performance, this is going to go down as Greater Vision's signature song. "Seeking for Me," the only cover garnered from the Cathedrals, is a relaxing string- laden ballad belling the desperate cry of Jesus trying to get our devotion. For ardent fans, there may not be any pop-up surprises when it comes to "For All He's Done." Nevertheless, it is still a stellar record to listen to: soothing to the weary, piercing to the indifferent and affirming to those who are wavering.