Rating: 4 stars
Producer: Gerald Wolfe
Label: Daywind Records
Song titles: He Didn’t When He Could’ve Passed By; Safe Within His Hand; No Longer Chained; I Know A Man Who Can; He’s The Only Way; Like I Wish I’d Lived; But God; We Still Have To Pray; Eternity’s About To Begin; Heaven Can’t Be Far Away; Another Child’s Coming Home
Buy Project Here
Since the release of Not Alone in 2008, the group has undergone a period of transition that saw the return of the trio’s original tenor, Chris Allman. Though Allman’s voice has been heard on the Jubilee 2 project, Welcome Back (a collection of studio re-recordings of recent Greater Vision songs), and a spectacular independent Christmas release, this is his first “true” mainline release since his return to the road. This is also the first mainline project in a number of years without Lari Goss producing; that task went to lead singer Gerald Wolfe this time around.
Unless you have been living under a rock since around April 2010, you’ve heard the buzz that Chris Allman has generated (and continues to generate) with his vocals, that have only improved with time. Those are a highlight reel all throughout The Only Way, with tenor features ranging from the prayerful “Like I Wish I’d Lived,” to the upbeat “Eternity’s About To Begin,” to the Kirk Talley signature that has gone over very well for Allman in concert settings, “I Know A Man Who Can.” Though the latter is usually done with just piano and bass guitar accompaniment when sung live, the studio version is no less spectacular. He also closes the CD with a song from his own pen that could go very far for him in terms of garnering attention for his songwriting skills, “Another Child’s Coming Home.”
Allman and Rodney Griffin got the lion’s share of songwriting done on this project; Griffin has four songs (one of which he co-wrote with Twila LaBar, “But God”), Allman has three, and the two co-wrote one. “He Didn’t When He Could’ve Passed By” could be a good radio single, and I predict that “No Longer Chained” will become another “Rodney Griffin signature” song. Gerald Wolfe revives “But God,” a tune that the late Roger Bennett of Legacy Five sang on his final project, Live In Music City, and though the delivery is different between the two, Wolfe’s emotion shows throughout and makes it an equally well-done rendition. While I prefer the original recording of “Heaven Can’t Be Far Away” (as recorded by the original Greater Vision), it is a nice inclusion here, though it could have been left off without a real gap in the music.
Greater Vision’s sound with Allman’s return is solid, and this project affirms that very well. Another thing this project accomplishes is giving a taste of what the production value will be when Lari Goss can no longer sit in the producer’s chair; Wolfe did a fine job with it on this effort. The Only Way receives a solid 4 stars.