Beyond Amazed: Brian Free and Assurance

GRADE:  B

  • Album:  Beyond Amazed
  • Artist:  Brian Free and Assurance
  • Label:  Daywind
  • Style:  Progressive, CCM
  • Release Date:  09/29/17
  • Digital Download:  Yes (Apple Music)
  • Running Time:  36 Minutes

SYNOPSIS:

This week we take a look at the new album from Brian Free and Assurance, Beyond Amazed.

Beyond Amazed is the second album since the group went back to a trio vocal configuration.  Brian Free and Assurance also continue their long recording career with Daywind Records.

The group continues their progressive Southern Gospel style and Beyond Amazed even drifts a bit further into the CCM spectrum.  Will it be too much for the general Southern Gospel listener?  Let’s find out.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Brian takes the lead on the album’s first radio single, “He Can Take It”.  Hearing Brian move closer to a lead vocal range and away from the sometimes shrill tenor vocal is an absolute must hear.  Long time listeners will get Brian’s famous tenor range in the chorus.  Enjoyed this song!
  • The most Southern Gospel friendly song on the album is a Lee Black/Aaron Wilburn co-write; “Everything He Forgot”.  Lead vocalist Bill Shivers works his usual vocal magic on this particular number.
  • Bill also gets the feature on the album’s opening track, “Anything Is Possible”.  This is the progressive Southern Gospel sound listeners have come to expect from the group.
  • Bill closes the album with a touching song, “Unheard”.  It is a nice reminder that no prayer goes unheard.
  • Baritone vocalist Mike Roger’s best feature is the CCM infused “The Voice Of Jesus”.  An all around fun song.
  • The songwriters found on Beyond Amazed is beyond amazing!  Song selection is the best you’ll find.
  • Strongest songs included in order:  “He Can Take It”, “Everything He Forgot”, “Unheard”, “Anything Is Possible”, “The Voice Of Jesus”, “The End Of Grace” and “Beyond Amazed”.
CRITIQUE:
  • While I thoroughly enjoyed “He Can Take It” and Brian’s vocal approach, I thought Brian had one of the weaker performances of his recording career on “At The Cross”.
  • The stylistic approach taken on Beyond Amazed may have gone a bit too far for the general Southern Gospel listener.
  • Weakest songs included in order:  “At The Cross” and “Sometimes You Need A Song”.

WRAP UP:

Brian Free and Assurance have been innovators of progressive Southern Gospel music in this modern era.  They continue to test stylistic boundaries on each new recording.  The Brian Free and Assurance you hear in 2017 is not what you heard in 2007.  You need to decide if the stylistic boundaries is too far for your listening pleasure.

SONG/Featured Vocalist – Songwriter:  1. “Anything Is Possible”/Bill – Lee Black, Kenna Turner West  2. “He Can Take It“/Brian – Jeffrey Bumgardner, Sue C Smith, Kenna Turner West  3. “Beyond Amazed“/Mike – Jason Cox, Dan Koch, Sue C Smith  4. “Leave With Nothing Left”/Bill – Lee Black, Dave Clark, Michael Farren  5. “The Voice Of Jesus”/Mike – Lee Black, Dan Koch  6. “Everything He Forgot”/Bill – Lee Black, Aaron Wilburn  7. “At The Cross”/Brian – Lee Black, Devin McGlamery, Sue C Smith  8. “Sometimes You Need A Song”/Mike – Marty Funderburk, Sue C Smith  9. “The End Of Grace”/Brian – Joseph Habedank, Sue C Smith, Tony Wood  10. “Unheard”/Bill – Lee Black, Gina Boe

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