Producer: Wayne Haun
Label: Stow Town Records
Song titles: So Amazing To Me; Living In The Moment; Oh, The Thought That Jesus Loves Me; No Sin Greater Than God’s Grace; Peace In The Midst Of The Storm; Walking With My Eyes On Jesus; I Can’t Do This By Myself; Where The Gold Begins; When Love Whispers Your Name; Your Love Comes Shining Through; Over For Good
Beyond The Ashes is a trio that has been on an upward climb in Southern Gospel music for the past couple of years. Started by Anthony Facello, former tenor of groups such as the Heaven Bound, The Down East Boys, The Journeymen, and Mercy’s Mark, the group has steadily built a fan base since around 2007. The group started under the name Anthony Facello & Crossroad before changing their name to Beyond The Ashes in 2008. With their release on Vine Records, Treasures Unseen, the trio began to make a name for themselves with successful radio singles such as “Whenever We Pray.” After signing with Ernie Haase & Wayne Haun’s Stow Town Records, they released an independent project made of covers entitled Loving What’s Begun, which was also the first project to feature the current lineup of tenor Facello, lead Dustin Doyle, and baritone Kellan Monroe. This lineup gets their first real chance to show themselves with this release.
As I’ve mentioned in other reviews, I appreciate a group that has a distinctive sound. Facello’s is a tenor voice that is instantly recognizable, but Beyond The Ashes is comprised of voices that set them apart even from the other groups he has been a part of. Each voice has a similar soulful quality that meshes well with the others. This is used to good effect on close harmony songs like “So Amazing To Me” and “Oh, The Thought That Jesus Loves Me.” You may have guessed that the latter is a cover of a Collingsworth Family song, and BTA’s version holds its own in a way that doesn’t make it feel like a cover. Facello himself gets a standout track on the project with a song from his own pen, “No Sin Greater Than God’s Grace.”
Speaking of distinctive voices, this album is a highlight reel for new lead singer Dustin Doyle. Doyle gets the lion’s share of features here, and his singing style lends itself well to the “traditional Gospel with a twist” feel of “Peace In The Midst Of The Storm,” as well as the Jason Mraz pop tune “Living In The Moment.”
In reviewing this album, I discovered that Beyond The Ashes may have established a knack for picking catchy songs; I’ve had a harder time getting most of these songs out of my head than possibly any other project I’ve reviewed. Songs like the bouncy “Your Love Comes Shining Through” and the aforementioned “No Sin Greater Than God’s Grace” or the title track have a way of embedding themselves in your head, and you’ll more than likely find yourself humming them from time to time. For any Christian music, this can be a good thing; the message in these songs is important, and they’ll be grasped more if the listener catches on to the music well. If Beyond The Ashes can continue picking songs of that nature, it certainly won’t hurt.
Treasures Unseen may have put the foot in the door for Beyond The Ashes, but Living In The Moment has the all-around quality that can potentially solidify their place on the Southern Gospel map, and that’s why it receives 5 stars.