The bloggers featured in this review are Daniel Mount, Wes Burke, Brandon Coomer, Nate Stainbrook, Phil Boles, and myself. The project released today (June 1, 2010) and was produced by Lari Goss.
We hope you enjoy reading this review as much as we enjoyed writing it!
Song 1: A Higher Throne
Daniel: A few hours before this CD arrived in my mailbox, I was pondering Lari Goss’s iconic introduction to the Cathedrals classic “Champion of Love.” It’s an instantly recognizable riff—and not just because it is the melody of a line whose lyrics we remember. It’s inherently unforgettable on its own merits. I was pondering whether Goss would ever offer another intro of that caliber.
Now Declaration isn’t even in bookstores yet as I write this, so it’s far too early to declare this intro iconic. But incipiently iconic or not, the introduction instantly grabs your attention. A soaring trumpet crescendo is answered by swelling strings and woodwinds. The trumpet sounds again, and the orchestra answers. The band kicks in, and trumpet, orchestra, and band set a fittingly majestic backdrop for a lyric depicting Heaven’s throne room.
Though Declaration is so full of strong songs that there will be stiff competition for radio slots, this song should unmistakably go to radio. Though it’s 5 minutes 25 seconds long, a tempo on the fast side of midtempo makes it seem to go by faster.
Wes: What a great choice to open the disc. I love the anthemic feel of this song, and right away this cut shows that the partnership between Lari Goss and the Booth Brothers is going to exceed every possibility you’ve imagined since it was made known.
Nate: Agree totally with you guys about this song. I can’t help but get excited when I hear this song. I love it from the opening to the ending. It ends with a breathtaking, sweeping, epic ending. You mentioned the beginning being a great opening stanza, but the song also ends on a great note. Great song that Lari Goss struck gold on again. And I can’t wait to see this song get staged live.
Daniel: I knew the song was good on its own merits. But not until several weeks later, when I came across the original, by Keith & Kristyn Getty, did I fully appreciate what Goss had done with the song. I should say that I rediscovered the original, to be precise, since I had already heard it. But the arrangements are so different that I hadn’t connected the two until searching for the songwriter.
Goss deserves to be named in the same breath as Beethoven, Bach and Mozart. It would take a talent of that level to take the original and give it this level of treatment.
Song 2: God Did it All
Daniel: This Ronnie Booth feature starts simply enough. A lush orchestral track featuring the woodwind section accompanies a beautiful, lilting melody about Creation. By the chorus, the song becomes a powerful statement of God’s sovereignty. The song builds into a huge ending that should equally captivate live audiences and radio DJs (though Daywind should cut the encore before singling it, as 6:10 is too long for a single.)
The melody for this Rusty Golden / Dianne Wilkinson collaboration has a fascinating provenance: Wilkinson wrote the lyric and composed a melody for the chorus. She brought up the song during a collaboration session with Golden, who proceeded to come up with a melody for the verses—without having heard her chorus melody. Then she showed him what she had for the chorus—and they realized it was a perfect fit.
Nate: This song is very well written and very well performed. I love Ronnie Booth’s voice. This song makes you take notice of just how good of a singer he really is. I love the message to this song. It should challenge you to get ready, and to tell others that “God Did It All.”
Wes: This is the first big ballad you hear from Goss and the Booths, and it doesn’t disappoint. Ronnie Booth turns in a tremendous performance. This should be a single, the length not withstanding. Actually, the Kingdom Heirs singled “He Had To Hold To Calvary” back in the mid 90s, and it was 6:01.
Daniel: It wouldn’t be more than a minute of work to cut out the encore. They’d be wise to single it without the encore (even if they leave the alternate version on the radio compilation disc for any DJs who want it).
Song 3: I See Grace
Nate: This song written by Jim Brady along with Barry Weeks and Tony Wood, is a song that the Booth Brothers have been staging for several months now. It is one of my favorites on this project. It starts with a epic sounding intro, that settles into to a great medium to fast tempo song, that is very well orchestrated. Jim Brady gets the lead on this song.He never ceases to amaze me with his vocal versatility and range, and he really shows it here. He has Michael Booth stacked above him for part of the first verse, making for some nice harmony. I love the end of the second verse that says “Those who have come through unbearable loss not defined by the past but defined by the Cross.” That is a great line that really defines this song and makes it a potential radio hit. I have been told that this song has been going over particularly well in concerts, and I can see why.