Legacy 5 carries on the heritage of the great Cathedral Quartet. Founders Scott Fowler and Roger Bennett put together this quartet just over a decade ago, and from its inception, this group has risen to the forefront of Southern Gospel Music and remains there to this day. A Wonderful Life, L5’s 2011 release, brings a variety of ballad’s, easy listenin’ quartet music and thought provoking lyrics. The content on this project will bless everyone! Once again, I was very impressed with how the Cd’s title set a spiritual theme throughout the recording with these songs. Each song, really is about the “wonderful life” we hear about in track one. It’s amazing how all of these lyrics penned by different writers keep bringing back that one theme over and over again! As you read this review, look for the section entitled “the wonder of it all” to see how this works in each song. (Though, in each song there were many lines that qualified!) Musically, Legacy Five kept on with the sound that they are well known for – traditional SGM! If you haven’t already added this Cd to your collection, I highly recommend it! You don’t want to miss out on the ministry in this great music!
On this recording, you will hear vocals from…
Tenor – Gus Gaches
Lead – Scott Fowler
Baritone – Scott Howard
Bass – Glenn Dustin
1. A Wonderful Life
Message: This song focuses on the life we have in Christ and how wonderful it is! Beginning with the chorus’s opening lines, “It’s a wonderful life I’m livin’,” we continue to listen to just a few reasons why. One, we get to call Jesus (the Creator of the Universe!) our best friend. But it doesn’t stop there, the wonder continues as He pours upon us His love, blessings and mercy that doesn’t seem to have an end. With this life, every day keeps getting better and better…and if this life is great, who can imagine what heaven holds for us? The first verse rises with the sun (so to speak) and reminds us of God’s faithfulness, as we take a look at the simple joys around us, like family, friends, and the care of our Savior. What a blessed promise, that He will be there for us in every battle we face and victory we celebrate. In the second verse, we find ourselves at the end of the day, stopping for a minute to lift up a prayer to the Lord again. Tears come as we remember the positive things the Lord has given us – how can we not be grateful? Then, with joy, we can’t help but sing a song!
The Wonder of it All: “It’s a wonderful life I’m livin’ – every day is better than before.”
Other Comments: This number penned by Jim Brady and his wife Melissa, is the title cut for the project and the song that sets the theme for the rest of the recording as well.
2. God Had A Hand In It
Feature: All four parts
Message: This song captures the wonders of creation and declares the simple story of its origin – God had a hand in it! The first verse awakens our four senses to God’s creation in smell, taste, vision and hearing. These can be seen in smelling the fragrance of a rose, tasting the salt of the sea, viewing the stars in the heights of heaven and hearing the miracle of life in the cry of an infant. The chorus repeats the simple truth, “God had a hand in it.” His master plan is what brought about the beginning of everything we see in the earth. “There’s no big-bang about it,” confirms another line, though some doubt the belief in a six-day creation and deny God’s existence, He is the One who created all there is. The second verse addresses the fact that God created the world and all it’s marvels all in six days. One simple command, and tah-dah! – a rainbow! After a short piano turn around, the third verse takes our minds and travels to the Grand Canyon, Mount Everest, and even the Northern Lights – with those places of beauty in mind, the lyrics declare that all of those bear the fingerprint of the One and only God.
The Wonder of it All: “Every miracle in this world confirms, the Masters touch everywhere you turn.”
Other Comments: This is such a fun song! Each of the guys sing one of four lines in each verse – I like how this adds variety to a project and breaks up the monotony of only hearing individual solos and group features. The message of the song introduces a topic we don’t hear a lot of in the SGM world – the battle of Creation versus Evolution. I love how the verses give a simple, common sense approach to the topic – the fingerprints of God are on every single wonder in this world, it’s too complex to believe it simply made itself!
3. Ask Me Why
Message: This song traces the story of one woman and her journey with faith. We first see this character slipping through the entrance of a church door and finding a seat on the back row – her world was falling apart and all she had was questions. With remorse she listens to the minister who boldly declares that if any were in doubt – he had the answers. The chorus presents us with both the questions and the answers the minister was preaching about. Who? – Jesus. How? – His blood. Where? – The cross. Then we come to the most important and life changing question of all… “Ask me why, and I’ll tell you it’s Love.” In the second verse we fast forward in this lady’s life, to where many miles have been trod on the journey of faith. Through her long journey with the Lord – He has demonstrated faithfulness to His children in the heat of the battle, insomuch that the trials can be turned into testimonies to help others get through the same thing. I love the lines of the pre-chorus that state, “If you’re somewhere between doubt and believing, God has the answers to all that you’re needin’.” The bridge expounds on the love of Christ – love held Him to the cross (not the nails), love urged Him to come and pay for our sins. (That’s why love is so important in this song!)
The Wonder of it All: “Ask me why – and I’ll tell you it’s Love.”
Other Comments: This is an absolutely GORGEOUS song! Scott does an excellent job on it, and I love the way the last chorus builds some suspense by giving Gus the first line, then bringing everyone back in for the ending. I hope this one goes to radio – it’s one you’ll end up hummin’ and singin’ all day long!
4. Nobody Ever Loved Me Like God Does
Message: This number about the faithfulness of God’s love begins with the chorus, which confidently announces that God’s love cannot be matched by any man. He’s there to pick us up when we stumble and fall, and no matter what our past holds, His unconditional love is ever towards us. Those thoughts usher us into the first verse, that lays a foundation of a few things we get to enjoy as Believers. He imparts grace so we can become better people and looks on our hearts – we are His children…and as such He doesn’t see us anymore by our sins, but saints, through His Son. After the refrain, the second verse reiterates the thoughts of the opening one and continues to talk about God’s forgiveness. We all know that over time friends come and go, but the friendship afforded us by the Almighty is not anything like what we experience among men. We can also go before Him in prayer…anytime we want to!
The Wonder of it All: “He’s always there when I need Him.”
Other Comments: The chorus repeats itself twice at the beginning of the song.
5. There’s Only One Well
Message: This up-beat song also begins with the chorus! Here, the theme is centered around the Living Water of God, and how only it satisfies. The lyrics of the refrain stress the fact that there is only one well, only one that never will dry up. God doesn’t give us an alternative if we don’t “like” it – “there’s only one well, one way, Jesus Christ.” The first verse opens with a round of questions…are you thirsty? Do you need water that you can count on to quench that thirst? If that is the case, the writer exclaims that he has found that source, and it is one that will not only satisfy your needs, but will provide life for your soul. The second verse paints a picture of wells that mankind have dug for themselves. Indeed, they do have water, but once that cup is empty…you’re thirsty again! Not so, when your cup is filled with water from The Well – even one drop will satisfy your thirst when it comes from Christ, the Living Water! The bridge urges the listener to bring their cup to this well and be filled.
The Wonder of it All: “Just one drop will do, when it’s from the Lord!”
Other Comments: There are two songs that fight for the “favorite” spot for me on this project – and this is one of them! Though it’s a fast song, the music naturally builds in intensity as the number progresses. I think the words play into it too. This is a perfectly “politically in-correct” song, claiming that there is only ONE WAY, and that is through Jesus.
6. Just Because Of You
Feature: Bass and Tenor
Message: Beginning with the chorus, we see in the lyrics someone praying a prayer of thankfulness to the Father from their heart. They have a hard time knowing where to begin, for His blessings are so bountiful, but they’re going to make the attempt anyway, because there are so many good things they enjoy because of Him. The first verse thanks Him for the simple gifts centered around the home. Things like sharing a meal with the family, tucking a child in bed at night and hearing his voice say, “I love you.” The second chorus, continues with a list of spiritual things they are grateful for. Release from the bondage of the past, priceless treasures that will last forever, the change He’s made in their life, completely transforming them. Last but not least, they have peace, joy and love – all things that they enjoy, that we have also, just because of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Wonder of it All: “Just because You changed my life and made it all brand new!”
Other Comments: This song just meditates on the joys in life that we pass up so often. It’s a great reminder of the blessings God has given us through His Son.
7. God Cares For Me
Feature: All four parts
Message: The first verse begins with quoting John 3:16’s “for God so loved the word.” He’s demonstrated this so many times, though it’s in the cross we see the ultimate evidence. Our travels in this life may be hard in spots, but the Lord is always true to His word, so without a doubt we all can say, “God cares for me!” The chorus expresses the same thought and takes us down through a list of reasons why. When trouble arises, we know we’ll be ok as long as He’s in control. He’s dependable to get us to the other side of the challenges we face, He’s our protector and moves mountains when we trust Him to do so. Just like the last line says, “Every day, in every way God cares for me.” The second verse begins with another Bible verse, “Fear not, for I am with you.” Jesus said this Himself, and we know that He “sticks closer than a brother.” The rest of the verse is narrated as if Jesus is talking, and He uses the illustration of being the Light that will get us through every valley and dark day.
The Wonder of it All: “Even in your darkest valley, I’m the light that you can see.”
Other Comments: You’ll enjoy this old-fashion sounding quartet song!
8. Living In The Palace
Feature: Baritone and Lead
Message: This is another great song with a message about the hope we have in Christ no matter what our earthly circumstances are like. We’ll meet two New Testament characters in this piece, and both of them have the same problem. In the first verse, we get a glimpse of the woman who entered the house were Jesus was dining with His disciples. Even though she wasn’t invited, she didn’t come for food – she just wanted to worship the only One worthy of praise. Though, even then she didn’t have a whole lot to offer. The others weren’t so appreciative of her actions and said that she wasn’t creditable to be there – but, no matter what they said, she found the love of Christ…and well, “you should see her now!” The chorus takes us to the courts of heaven, where we can “see” her, (same goes for the man in the next verse) in a way. What are the privileges she has there that she lacked on this earth? Well, she’s singing with angels, walking with the Lord by the River of Life and most of all, this time, she’s dining with the King. In the next verse, we recount the brief parable of Lazarus and the rich man. Lazarus was both without home and food. Oh, how he desired for just the crumbs from the table! I love the line that says, “But Jesus loves the faithful, even when they’re down and out – He sent the angels down for Lazarus and you should see him now!” The chorus sums up the song and finds a way to personalize it for the listener. It reminds us of when we were broken, just like those two Bible characters – and what did we find? The same thing they did – love and forgiveness.
The Wonder of it All: “But Jesus loves the faithful, even when they’re down and out.”
Other Comments: This is my second “#1” favorite from this Cd! I love the angle that the songwriter took on it – these people didn’t have much to offer the Creator of the universe, but that didn’t seem to bother Him, because He sure had something special to offer them! I love the contrast between the idea of “dining” and “living” in the verses and chorus. Their living conditions weren’t so great, then, we had one who didn’t come to “dine with the King,” and one who was so hungry he would take anything. Both of them ended up living in His Palace and dining with Him, the King Himself. Awesome song!
9. Destination Known
Message: This easy-listen number talks about the Believer’s final destination – paradise (heaven). The first verse makes casual conversation with the listener and explains that the drive behind life is rather simple…we know where we’re headed. On the day that either you or I accepted Christ as our Savior, He gave us a promise called heaven! Because of that promise, we can know for certain where our destination will be after passing through this life, just like the refrain says. Nothing can compete with that home we’re headed to – waiting loved ones, the Savior’s arms open to welcome us, and unspeakable joy – we can say for sure, “Destination known!” Though it’s true, as the second verse tells us, that we become tired on this earth, we know that with every sunset we’re one day closer to reaching that blessed “destination.” And it is true too, that none of us have ever been to heaven before, but for the redeemed, our hearts feel it as our eternal home, that one day, will be forever ours! The bridge wraps up the theme and tells us why we’re so looking forward to heaven: because, for the first time, we’ll see our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
The Wonder of it All: “Though it’s true I’ve never been there – it’s where my heart belongs forever.”
Other Comments: This solo is a perfect fit for Howie! It’s just one of those “easy listening” songs that keep you moving forward.
10. I’m Still Amazed
Feature: All four parts
Message: This song looks at the day of the writer’s salvation (and silently beckons us to do the same) and all that has transpired since then until now. Only one thought can explain their conclusion, the same as mine – I’m still amazed! The first verse goes back to that day of salvation, it sees the burdens that were rolled away and comes to the conclusion that though many years have since passed, He is still as precious today as He was then! The chorus marvels at the grace of God, that it would save someone hanging from their last thread – That it would pay such a high cost at Calvary so we can know for certain where we‘re going when we die – That He would be everything we need all the time.. That’s something to be amazed about! Because of that amazing love, a day doesn’t go by that I don’t think of what He saved me from. After everything He’s given, how could I ever doubt Him in any way? The Lord foresaw what a sinner could become with His grace, and thank the good Lord, that even now, He’s still working on me! The bridge is actually an old hymn, blended nicely into the music!
The Wonder of it All: “He knew well who I was, but He saw who I could be.”
11. For What Earthly Reason
Message: I like questions…and this song is full of them! Especially the verses, that ask, what kind of reason would the Father have in sending Jesus to this earth? Is there a reason on this earth worthy of Christ enduring the cross and all of it’s horrors? Surly, one could easily mourn the answer – “that earthly reason was me.” The chorus continues to give more answers to the questions of the first verse. If there was just one reason for Him to die – it was for me. I was the one guilty, yet, He was the sacrifice…I walked away free while He stayed and died, etc. The second verse talks about the cost that Christ had to pay. It was a high price indeed, for not even the angels, no matter how powerful, would be sufficient for this task. The only One who could enact the salvation plan was the Lamb of God… and He had only one reason – me. (That line really tugs at our hearts!)
The Wonder of it All: “And His only reason was me.”
Other Comments: This is another great song borrowed from the Cathedrals. What a treasury they have to draw from! Gus does a marvelous job on this moving ballad – and in concert, it’s even better, if that’s possible!
12. God Is Still In America
Feature: Baritone and Lead
Message: The track begins with orchestrated strings softly playing America the Beautiful, lead us into this stirring ballad that proves the Lord’s existence through the lives of His people in this land. The first verse speaks about individuals across the U. S. A. that won’t comprise their faith in Christ – with perseverance, they take their stand…and that is what makes the words in this refrain…truth. The chorus utters the simple statement, “God is still in America!” He never ceases to lookout for us, and though at times it’s hard to believe, our nation is still a piece in the puzzle of His great plan. From the Pacific to the Atlantic, and in every single city in between – Christians live. And as long as that is the case, the Lord is still here also! The second verse reminds us of the tragedies that have shook our nation: Ground Zero in New York, even the ones we don’t see every day, like loved ones going off to war, though my favorite line is, “The flood down in New Orland’s couldn’t wash Him away” He’s not going anywhere! Amen?! The bridge goes onto explain that God has never left the faithful, He still is in the business of freeing damaged lives…because of these truths, we can testify that God has never left us – as Believers or as a nation.
The Wonder of it All: “He’s been our strength and comfort, and I know He’s here to stay!”
Other Comments: This is the best Gospel song about our country that I’ve heard to date! Like most patriotic songs, this one just stirs the soul and causes that pride that accompanies the land of ones birth to rise up within us and be proud of our country…and the faithfulness of the God we serve.
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