This project boasts 13 tracks – 10 of which, were written by group members Rebecca Isaacs Bowman, Sonya Isaacs Yeary and Jimmy Yeary. (Quite a task, if you ask me!) Every single song points us to emotions, events and questions we face on a day-to-day basis. This is a CD made for “life” so to speak. You’ll encounter themes like: forgiveness, love, heaven, healing, joy, trust and purpose. My favorite are the songs written around events that took place in the Bible! Every one has a special message that can be applied to our lives daily. They are truly unique. Also, there are a lot of hard questions addressed on this project, and I have a deep respect for that. The questions that are raised in songs like Why, Why Can’t We, I Still Trust You, and I’m Gonna Love You Through It are ones that have been contemplated for centuries. The angle the Isaacs took point us back to the Word – the best place to look for answers to questions like these.
The music put to these songs are most enjoyable and many have that classic Bluegrass sound. Almost every track has a good turn-around where violins, banjos, guitars and mandolins fill our ears with some good “picking!” Each number and ballad have an arrangement that unite the lyrics and music in a way that is just right for each song. You will not listen to this CD and think, “I didn’t like the instrumentation on that one.” Nothing is too strong and nothing is too weak – all are perfectly balanced. On the other hand, you wouldn’t have to specifically be a Bluegrass fan to enjoy this project. I believe that anyone who wants to listen to “truth in song” would love a project like this, regardless of the genre. So with that said, lets take a look at the songs!
You will hear vocals on this recording from:
Rebecca Isaacs Bowman
Sonya Isaacs Yeary
1. Hallelujah Turnpike
Feature: Ben and Sonya
Message: The lyrics in this song describe the journey to heaven as “rolling up the Hallelujah Turnpike,” and is the main theme. The verses talk about traveling down this road of life full of joy that not even the Devil can slow down because Jesus Christ “paid the toll.” The second verse encourages those who are not traveling down this road to “turn around and go the other way,” before it’s too late! Make your plans for heaven – get in the passing lane! The chorus simply talks about where the Turnpike leads to – heaven, home.
Other Comments: Very Bluegrass! There is a little instrument solo with mandolin, banjo and violin in between the chorus and second verse and another violin solo towards the end. A very pleasant, enjoyable Bluegrass tune!
2. Waiting In The Water
Message: The first verse recalls the story in the New Testament where Jesus healed the blind man by telling him to go wash in the pool. The one who people called helpless and ignored by the populace caught the attention of the Messiah. Why? Because He saw beyond the outward frame into the worth of a soul…so he placed clay on the blind man and instructed him to go wash in a pool of water that very day and he would be healed. Funny isn’t it, that the Lord would ask someone who couldn’t see to go do something like that! Surely there were many times when the blind man lost his footing and tumbled onto the ground, but that didn’t stop him. Wonder if the words to the chorus of this song didn‘t run through his mind, “Every step I take is a step of faith – when I can’t see what’s in front of me, I’ll walk on and just believe.” The Father hears our prayers, and when we get to the place where He wants, we’ll find a miracle waiting for us. For the blind man…it was waiting in the water. The second verse compares our experiences in life with the story of that man. We walked in a different kind of darkness, one where loneliness and hopelessness abounded. Maybe you are in that place now? If that is the case, we can believe that every word He tells us is true and cling to the promise that He will never leave us nor forsake us. Just like that blind man, we may stumble and fall along life’s journey, but we’re gonna get to the water, “even if we have to crawl!” The bridge sums up the theme of the song and declares that the Lord knows each situation we face and no matter how confusing it may be at the time, it fits right into His plan…all we have to do is press on!
3. Four Men
Message: This song takes us back to the days of Daniel and tells the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in unique way! The first verse recounts the events that led up to the fiery furnace – Nebuchadnezzar making an image and demanding that everyone bow down to it, and the three brave men who refused to do so. Angered, the king had these men thrown into the furnace with a sneer, “Let’s see if your God will deliver you.” The chorus continues the story: the three men were bound and thrown into a furnace, seven times hotter than normal, those watching saw each man alive…actually, they saw four men instead of three, and asked the question, “But who is that with ’em in the fire below?…they threw three men in but there were four men walking around!” The next verse tells of the king’s reaction to the what happened. When he saw that they were still alive and not harmed in any way, he ordered them to be taken out, because, “there is no other God who can deliver like this.” After another round of the chorus and little instrumental solo, we come upon the bridge, and find an application for our own lives in the story. When we feel like we’re in the fire that is controlled by the enemy, just remember the example of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. “the ropes that tied them were the only things burned.” (God will carry you through the fire!)
Other Comments: On paper (or your computer screen!) what is written may not sound like riveting song…but I assure you, on this recording it is all that and more! There is something about the simple message married to the melody that makes this number addicting! This is a bluegrass tune you are bound to enjoy and be humming all day long!
4. Why Can’t We?
Feature: Ben and Rebecca
Message: Forgiveness. That one word sums up this whole ballad. Not just the forgiveness we receive from the Lord, but the kind we have to give ourselves from time to time, and those around us. If you’ve ever laid awake at night and thought of all the things you wish you had never done, you can relate to the man in the first verse – cause that’s exactly what he’s doing. He just can’t forgive himself…even though God has. The chorus is series of questions designed to stir the mind in thoughtful contemplation of the subject at hand. If God can extend His love, find something good in us, let the memories go, and forgive us over and over again…why can’t we? Verse two focuses on our lack of forgiveness towards others. We get hurt, then refrain from giving second chances and as the lyrics say, “took grace into my own hands.” Yet, Jesus reminds us that we all have done wrong. The bridge takes our mind back to the time when ultimate forgiveness was shown – when the Lord was dying on a cross, yet, with compassion said, “Father, forgive them…”
Other Comments: This is the song that the recording is named after…and what a song it is! It’s beautiful! – Yet, carries a very important message. Whether we need to forgive ourselves for something, like the man in the first verse, or someone else, like the one in the second verse, we learn from the perfect example of what it means to forgive – Jesus Christ.
5. God Still Has A Plan For You
Message: The theme of this song is directed to those whose children are grown and out of the house, leaving the parents wondering if they’re still useful to the Lord or not. The first verse actually brings us to that exact setting: pictures cover the halls once filled with children, the children are pursuing their dreams, and sometimes the parents feel forgotten and left behind. Yet, the chorus sings a different story. God still has a plan for your life! Even if you feel like you can’t do the things you use to. I like the line that says, “As long as you’re still here, there’s still a work for you to do.” The second verse voices the same questions, just in a different way. This time, instead of focusing on the memories in the hall, you’re standing in front of a mirror wondering how the years flew by so quickly. Though thankful for each and every blessing and the wisdom learned along the way, the question still lingers, “Was my purpose fulfilled yesterday?” The bridge encourages you to live in the now and not dwell in the past – every person is valuable to the plans of God!
Other Comments: This is a very unique song! There are many songs out there that center themselves on God’s plan for the lives of His children, but how many specifically focus on the generation spoken of in the song? Not many. The lyrics are perfect for the SGM audience.
6. You Can’t Take My Joy
Message: This song is about claiming the joy of the Lord no matter what, and most importantly, not letting the Devil take it away! There is just no way to re-phrase the verse, only quoting it will do! “You can take my home and all the money in the bank – turn my reputation into something that I ain’t. You may take my job and everything that I have left – but Devil, let me tell you, you can’t have my happiness!”…Then the chorus tells us why! Faith is fastened in the Lord Jesus Christ, and from Him we receive peace of mind though Satan can make life hard sometimes. Yet, we have to make the choice to not let him get us down and shake us – we have to tell him, “You can’t take my joy!” The story of Job is recalled in the second verse as a reminder of how strong one can be under trials and troubles. Though we may not be able to match Job’s strength, we can pray, and One stronger than even Job will be there to help us, God Almighty. The bridge brings to mind that our treasure is not upon this earth but in Jesus Christ, and He is the reason why the Devil can’t take our joy!
Other Comments: I love this song! It is by far my favorite from the project! This is what the church needs to hear today!
Message: This ballad is like a list of questions that the author wants to ask God because the things they see seem so unfair. The first verse raises questions in search of a reason why people have to suffer through natural disasters (tornados, earthquakes, hurricanes, etc), die because of terrorist attacks, why do innocent children have to endure pain when they should be enjoying their young life running around?…especially when God could snap His finger and put an end to it? The chorus turns the tough questions of life into trust in God. We know that in the end He has a purpose for everything, and though it hurts to see others go through trials…there is a reason why. The second verse digs even deeper into the hard circumstances that some have to live through – couples who long to have kids are barren and those who don’t want children can conceive, others are forced to live with shame they can’t get rid of, the elderly are developing Alzheimer’s, the young die before they live a full life. The last line desperately cries, “Surely, it must break Your heart, the way it’s breaking mine.” The bridge brings about a heavenly scene when finally, we’ll get to ask the Lord why, and He will help us understand.
Other Comments: Honestly, this can be a hard song to listen to, as I’m sure it must have been hard to write. The lyrics are very heavy, but they are that way because there are people all over the world thinking these same thoughts. What a privilege to know that one day we will stand before the One who knows why!
8. I Still Trust You
Message: This is another song that turns questions into trust, and points us to Lord for every need in our lives. The first verse simply talks about seeing the righteous suffer and the wicked prosper, asking the Lord for happiness and receiving pain instead. Though it doesn’t seem right, the lyrics hold onto the promise that God’s love is sufficient. The opening words to the chorus, “I still trust You, Lord,” cling to the assurance that He will lead us through the path that is scorched and empty, and when we come to the place where we don’t know which way to go, we can still sing, “I still trust You, Lord,” and hold tightly to His hand. The reason why we can have such confidence in the Lord Jesus is spoken of in the second verse. His faithfulness in the past, the promises in His Word, “I will not forsake you,” and “Lo, I go with you,” are the ground on which we place this trust.
Other Comments: Claim His promises and trust in Him!
9. He Knows All About It
Message: The message in these lyrics are just what we need to hear today! They don’t propose, “if” – they claim, “when”…When we cry, when our hearts our heavy, when we feel like hope is gone – don’t worry or get down, because Jesus Christ knows. I love the words to the chorus so much I just have to quote them. See if they don’t shed a spark of light on your day! “Jesus knows all about it, yes, He knows all about it! So don’t give up, or get down and out, ‘cause Jesus knows all about it, He already knows all about it…oh, yes.” The second verse affirms that when you pray in your “valley of despair” – He hears you. So keep praying, keep believing because He is right there with you…I promise! The bridge runs through a quick list of things that Jesus “knows about,” that can bring encouragement to us in our valleys.
Other Comments: I like how this accapella song begins slow, and then speeds up for the chorus. Great message – great “build!”
10. Get On Board
Message: The first word of the first verse tells us what the subject of the song will be – Noah. In true Bluegrass fashion, the first verse re-tells the story of Noah and the Ark: Noah was righteous, obedient to God’s call to build a boat, and did everything the way God told him to. The most important line of the first verse may be the last, where God says, “And tell your wife and children I’ll be sailing with you…” (Most of the first stanza was written from the Lord’s viewpoint.) The chorus has a fun and simple lesson – “it’s gonna rain, you better get on board!” Trust in the Lord before it’s too late because when He shuts the door, your opportunity is passed. While the rains poured on the earth and destroyed everything, the second verse tells us, but Noah and his family were safe in the Ark, praising the Lord that saved them from the Flood. The third and final verse calls for us to apply the moral of the story to our own lives – is the Lord communicating with you like He did with Noah? If you don’t feel He is, you may be missing the purpose that He has for your life – get on board!
Other Comments: A true Bluegrass number! I love how fun this song is! It brings a story to life that we know by heart, yet, it’s one we’ll not tire of hearing in the musical genus of this arrangement – both musically and lyrically.
11. That Is Why I Sing
Message: This ballad is written from a singer’s point of view and offers us the reason and testimony of why they do what they do. Verse one begins with a question, “Do you want to see me smile? – Make my efforts feel worth while?” The line goes on to say that the artist wants us to share with them how their ministry has touched our lives. Turning to a different angle, the singer reasons that what they do is worthless if they don’t get across that “God is love, and He deserves my all.” The refrain softly declares the reason behind their voice – to point to Jesus Christ and glorify Him. The next verse explains what the singer is NOT there to do – receive fame and/or fortune. All earthly things are loss, so the singer performs for something that will gain an eternal value. That is why they sing…
Other Comments: Every now and then it is good to be reminded of the “whys” in this life. Keeping the heavenly focus in the forefront of our minds will help us enjoy concerts and Gospel Music more and more. This song did that perfectly.
12. I’m Gonna Love You Through It
Message: The story of a family whose wife/mother has just been diagnosed with breast cancer and the beautiful relationship between the spouses is the theme of this inspiring, yet, sad song. In the first verse, the wife receives the phone call and breaks down, her husband is there by her side and comforts her. Cancer is no respecter of persons – you can be young and have a family, but it’ll still come. I love the husband’s words that make up the channel into the chorus, “I know that you’re afraid and I am too, but you’ll never be alone, I promise you…” The chorus is like a continuation of the husband’s assurances: he’ll be strong when she is weak. He’ll hold on. He’ll dry her tears. When she feels scared, he’ll take her hand and say, “Together we can do it – I’m gonna love you through it.” The second verse skips to surgery, which she makes it through all right. The doctors say they found it just in time. Yet, through the loss there is an unsatisfactory tint to life that forces smiles and limits her wardrobe. Just when she thinks she can’t do it any longer, he says, “That’s what my love is for.”
Other Comments: This song is a tear jerker for sure! My Great Aunt passed away from Breast Cancer a year and a half ago and my Uncle was just like the man in this song. Here is a song that will minister and find a home in many hearts. It’s touching, inspiring and very heartfelt.
13. I Believe In A Hill Called Mount Calvary
Feature: Ben and Beckie
Message: We are all familiar with this great classic, I Believe In A Hill Called Mount Calvary, and this arrangement features the kind of sound that the Isaacs are well known for. The short verse sung talks about the things that the Christian believes in and reaches its climax with the line in the chorus – “I’ll still cling to the old rugged cross.”
Other Comments: This short hymn was the perfect way to close the project! Beginning accapella with the chorus and then picking up a few instruments here and there in the verses, the feel is almost reverent, yet, refreshing!