It's easier to build strong children than to repair broken men. We live in a culture of the absentee dad. Whether it is the physical or emotional absence of a father, more and more children today are growing up without the influence and instructions of a dad. Social science has caught up with what the Bible has been saying all these years: a child (especially a male) growing up in a splintered home without a dad is more likely to lead broken and troubled lives. According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, boys without fathers are twice as likely to drop out of school, twice as likely to go to jail and nearly four times as likely to need treatment for emotional and behavioral problems as boys with fathers. Thus, to hear Jeff Easter (of Jeff and Sheri Easter) singing together with his 81 year-old dad James Easter (of the Easters) is more than just an exercise in sentimentalism. Rather, listening to how the father and son interact with each other trading lines that exalt the Lord Jesus Christ and the wholesomeness of Godly parenting is itself an object lesson for all of us. For there is nothing more important for us than to cement a foundation of Godliness for the next generation to build upon.
Sheri Easter who normally sings with Jeff as one half of Jeff and Sheri Easter is not absent from the record. She wrote the cornerstone track of the record "Like Father, Like Son." Paced as a three quarter time country waltz, this beautiful paean details the relationship between both father and son. With a transparent honesty, "Like Father, Like Son" doesn't just depict a rosy bond between the two. Rather, with a smirk of humor the difference between the two (James being a suit and tie guy; while Jeff prefers donning his jeans) is unabashedly noted. Yet, the greatest value of the song is the Godly advice the duo give to us with regards to raising a Godly family. Normally, singers who are at James Easter's age would keep a thousand mile distance from any song that even remotely hints at death. Yet, the album's sophomore cut "I'm Ready to Go" not only speaks clearly of death, but it even finds the duo singing with a joyous confident that death is not to be feared if we have Jesus as Lord.
Two of country music's greatest writers Paul Overstreet (Alison Krauss & Kenny Chesney) and Don Schlitz (Kenny Rogers & Randy Travis) get represented by the delightful fiddle-led stepper "I've Got No Rocks to Throw." The song is a wizened parable of how we need to be gracious in the way we view others. With the brilliance of the parables of Jesus, the song unfolds along a conversation between an older and a younger man and their varying perspectives of how each would deal with a troubling situation. Other notables found on the record include Jordan and Jonathan Wilburn. The Wilburns add their glowing harmonies on the bluegrassy "Way Up on the Mountain" which boasts lots of infectious banjo licks. A couple of Easters' songs have been re-recorded with imagination: "Hero for Jesus" and "Wounded Soldiers" are seamlessly tagged on to each other back to back giving hope to those of us who have grown weary in our vigilance for our Lord's return.
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The battle theme continues with the Camp Meeting Medley which closes off the album. The medley comprising of "He Set Me Free" and "When the Battle's Over" finds a jubilant father and son rejoicing with a danceable harmonica frenzy spirited stomper that makes us want to see them performing this track live. In our highly individualistic culture where we care more for our own advancement rather than the generation past, "Like Father, Like Son" is a treasured trove. Here we get to hear how a son gets to sing with his dad on tunes that not only celebrate their relationship but also songs that possess anecdotes of spiritual wisdom for each of us to take into our own homes.