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The Latest

“Ready For Revival” – The Guardians

Categories: CD Reviews,The Latest

Wow. That’s about all you can say when you finish listening to the Guardians new CD, Ready For Revival. I had a preview of this album at the National Quartet Convention (NQC) a few weeks ago, and knew right away I was going to like it.  When you can get a crowd of 10,000 people on their feet, you know it’s good. Then again, when you can listen to the same music in your car, or, on your iPod and get the same feeling as being in that big auditorium…you know it’s really good.

Ready For Revival features 12 songs produced by Wayne Haun and John Darin Rowsey. When you listen to this album, get ready to hear some of the best lyrics and arrangements in Gospel Music today. The beauty of the ballads and catchy beats will cause you to become addicted to this music in no time.

After listening to these songs for a few weeks, I truly believe the album’s major theme is showing the church as a positive, strong organization that loves the Lord and seeks to give Him praise. Every lyric is positive. Instead of focusing on what’s wrong with the church, our nation or what’s on the news, this album talks about the blessings we have in Christ.  It talks about not living under worry and stress because God is on our side and how we can praise Him because we’re thankful for what He’s done. I don’t know about you, but that’s refreshing!


The Guardians

Tenor – Dean Hickman
Lead – John Darin Rowsey
Baritone – Neil Uhrig
Bass – Pat Barker


1 Ready For Revival
Tempo: Fast
Feature: Whole Group
Message: Revival. If you’ve been around Christian circles the last few years, you’ve heard about this topic.  Everywhere, people are crying out to the Lord to do a new work among His people, and that’s what the message of this song is all about.  The first verse speaks of an urgency for God to move. By the last stanza, His people are ready for change makes one wonder, what kind of change? The chorus goes on to tell us.  In just a few lines, the refrain describes a mighty army that’s bent toward victory. Their goal is salvation, hope, restoration and life. They’re called the church, and they’re on the move… The second verse echoes the sentiments of the first. This church is refusing to keep silent while the enemy spreads his lies. If there’s one thought that keeps them going, it’s the last line of the second verse, “If God is for us who can take us down?”
Other Comments:  I loved the arrangement of this song!  The intro bursts forth in a grand orchestration, followed by a choir singing a small piece of “Revive Us Again.”  This slower tune then kicks into a driving beat that carries the message and orchestration through the rest of the song. The lyric was written by Wayne Haun and John Darin Rowsey and has a great message. Lastly, the arrangement and orchestration is brilliant. This is by no means, an ordinary song…


2 Uncommon Praise
Tempo: Medium
Feature: Dean Hickman
Message: The first stanza begins as a prayer to the Lord. The one speaking goes through a list of God’s provisions; things like needs met, comfort in despair and unconditional love. You know, if we were to stop and think, really think, about those things, we’d conclude that what the Lord has done is in no way ordinary. The chorus bursts forth in praise, “Uncommon blessings are poured out each day, uncommon favor keeps coming my way!”  Everything that the Savior does is above and beyond our wildest dreams. With these thoughts in mind, the second verse explains what happens when you realize what kind of life we’ve been given in Christ – purpose, peace, joy, eternal life. Our response to such majesty? It should be uncommon praise…
Other Comments: Written by Karen Peck Gooch and John Darin Rowsey, this song is powerful enough your praise team could sing at church on Sunday morning, yet, it’s the big ballad that Gospel Music fans love to hear on a new project. The orchestration is beautiful. If you hear this one and don’t hit, “repeat” every time you hear it, there’s something wrong! I definitely see this one going down in SGM history!


3 God Fights On My Side
Tempo: Fast
Feature: Pat Barker
Message: The first verse of this tune kicks off by talking about life before Christ – when you’re desperate, caught in sin and full of dread.  But then, it goes on to tell of when Christ sets you free and turns your life completely around.  How? Just listen to the chorus! The lyric tells of all the things Christ does for you when He hits the front lines on your behalf.  And if you’ve heard this song, you know it’s quite a list! In contrast to the first stanza, the second verse describes life in Christ – victorious, without worry, having a bright future ahead and strength for the days when the battle rages hard and long.
Other Comments: Quartet barn burner…epic bass feature…the stuff #1’s are made of; all these things can be rightly ascribed to this song. John Darin Rowsey and Dianne Wilkinson outdid themselves when they wrote this one! As soon as you hear the brasswinds, your toes will instantly start tapping to the fun beat.


4 He Loves
Tempo: Slow/Medium
Feature: John Darin Rowsey
Message: The message of “He Loves” portrays the comforting heart God has for His children when they’re hurting. As the first verse says, He speaks peace to our hearts in every hurt, loss and trial. The chorus goes on to describe all the ways the Father loves us through such times.  In a few lines, it tries to explain how He’s in tune with our hearts – through things like knowing, caring, seeing, hearing and moving on our behalf. As the last line says, “There’s nothing that my Father wouldn’t do to prove to you and me, He loves.”  If that isn’t beautiful enough, the second verse goes on to remind us that the God of Abraham, Isaac, David and countless others, is the same God who is pursuing you with His unconditional love.  Wow!
Other Comments:  If you think the message is beautiful, just wait until you hear the music.  Soft strings, piano, acoustic guitar and a few brasswinds; it all provides a smooth background for the lyrics.  With John Darin singing the verses, it’s a perfect combination.


5 Just Getting Started
Tempo: Medium
Feature: Pat Barker
Message: When you talk about testifying of the Lord’s goodness, there’s only one response from the child of God – and you can find it in the title of this song!  The first verse is spoken from the viewpoint of a saint who has walked with the Lord for many years. Things like answered prayer and the result of walking by faith instead of sight are just a few things this faithful follower could tell you about in conversation! The chorus continues that thought by exclaiming how God never ceases to work.  And…how His work is always amazing! If you’re wondering why, well, just find a seat to get cozy in, ‘cause the child of God is just getting started. The second verse attempts to give a list of just a few things we can testify about. Things like the blood, healing, freedom, and the list goes on!
Other Comments: This tune kicks off with a fun Jazzy/Big Band feel – that means you’ll hear some brasswinds, a bouncy beat and neat riffs on the lead guitar.  Though Pat is the main guy featured on the verses, the rest of the guys come in on a few lines too. You’ll hear John Darin in the pre-chorus, then Dean and Neil share the bridge.  A fun, catchy tune that has the potential to get stuck in your head for hours!


6 When America Falls
Tempo: Ballad
Feature: John Darin Rowsey
Message: If you remember the lyrics to “America The Beautiful,” you’ll quickly hear how the writers of “When America Falls” used the same metaphors in their opening stanzas to describe how creation declares the glory of God. Because America has been blessed by God’s favor, the enemy has sought our destruction.  But there’s something those dark forces don’t understand… When America messes up, falls and makes mistakes, we can bow our knees and call upon God’s forgiveness, blessing and power. This is the message of the refrain, and it’s filled with hope. No matter what the critics, world powers or politicians say; when we stand together, or more appropriately, kneel together, there is no nation God can’t heal.  And that includes ours. Just pray!
Other Comments:  The orchestra used a few lines from “America The Beautiful” as an intro to the ballad.  Though the background track engulfs the listener in a beautifully arranged piece, the lyrics drive it home. John Darin Rowsey and Terry Toler did an incredible job of taking our nation’s spiritual state and putting it in a positive light that offers hope.  How the lyrics to “America The Beautiful” were alluded to in the first verse and then the music integrated into the arrangement was genius. Absolute genius!


7 Turn Around
Tempo: Slow
Feature: Whole Group
Message: This lyric has a simple line of thought that’s written in the form of a chorus, yet, has different lyrics when repeated. The theme of the song is to turn to the Lord, the One who is walking beside you and guiding your footsteps. Regardless of whether you’re walking with the Lord already, or, have strayed away from Him, we all should look to the One who truly loves us before walking into each day, path or new direction. He’s a faithful friend – don’t forget to look to Him!
Other Comments: You may remember this melody from Glen Campbell’s, “Turn Around, Look At Me.”  Here, the tune written by Jerry Caphart was altered to “Turn Around, Look At Him” to reflect our spiritual journey.  You’ll also enjoy the track, that has full orchestration and “fat sound” from days gone by.


8 Name Above All Names
Tempo: Fast
Feature: John Darin Rowsey
Message: I’ve always loved a good compare and contrast and the lyrics to “Name Above All Names” is just that! The first verse tells how we could count the names of famous kings, inventors or doctors and think on all the contributions they’ve made to the world.  Yet, when you think along those lines, there’s one name you just can’t keep to yourself. Jesus. The chorus proclaims that He is, indeed, the Name above all names. Might, victory, glory, you name it, He’s got it! In fact, the second verse goes on to list things the name of Jesus has done. Just in case you weren’t convinced, listen for the bridge – it will tell of even more miracles performed by our Lord.
Other Comments: What a fun song!  Coming from the pen of John Darin Rowsey and Wayne Haun, it has a peppy beat and a great lyric.


9 How Big Is God Medley
Tempo: Ballad
Feature: Pat Barker
Message:  Three songs are used in this medley: “How Big Is God,” “How Great Is Our God” and “How Great Thou Art.”  You know the lyrics of all three, but let me tell you what portions are used in this medley. “How Big Is God” comes first and features the first verse and chorus before transitioning to the chorus of “How Great Is Our God.” That chorus is repeated once more and then goes into the chorus of “How Great Thou Art” before jumping back into “How Big Is God” for the ending.
Other Comments: The first time I heard this arrangement was at NQC. At first, I just thought the arrangement would be similar to the one Pat sang with the Dixie Echoes and Mark Trammell Quartet, but little did I realize that this was no ordinary medley.  All I can say is that John Darin Rowsey outdid himself on this arrangement! It’s a great medley that takes a song Pat has been known for, and makes it distinctly, “The Guardians.”


10 What The Church Is Doing Right
Tempo: Medium / Fast
Feature: Neil Uhrig
Message: If you’ve been around the church for any length of time, you’ve probably heard your share of complaints and negative comments.  Well, this tune wants to share with the listener not what is bad, but what is good. If fact, the first verse goes over what we just talked about – it warns of the naysayers who consistently point out what’s wrong with the church. Now, we can agree the church isn’t perfect, but we shouldn’t overlook the good the church is doing. Listen on, and you’ll hear a complete list of what those things are in the chorus! Things like spreading the gospel, being a light in the dark world and lending a helping hand are just a few of the acts of love mentioned. Though the church accomplishes a lot collectively, the second verse reminds us that each Believer’s influence in their corner of the world is considered a work of the church as well.  For example, when a mother prays for her children, or, when a godly man who simply refuses to give up on the Lord when walking through a dark trail. At the end of this tune, you’ll see that the church isn’t as uninvolved as you think!
Other Comments:  I love the positive nature in this tune! It’s so good to be reminded of what the Lord is doing through His people in the world. It has a snappy beat and if you enjoy hearing someone tear up the piano, you’ll love the intro!


11 He’s Blessing Me
Tempo:  Medium / Fast
Feature: Dean Hickman
Message:  “He’s blessing me…over and over again…” Those are the first words you’ll hear from this track, and my, how true they are! As the chorus goes on to say, you’ll find God making a way every time you turn around.  The first verse reminds us of how faithful and consistent the Lord is. Always true. Always good. Along those lines, the second verse shares how we can experience an unexplainable joy instead of worry and doubt. Why? Because He is always present, walking with His children!
Other Comments: Another bouncy tune written by John Darin Rowsey! Throughout the whole album, you hear great orchestrations that include a bit from the brasswinds sections, and “He’s Blessing Me” is no different. The brass adds a little snazz to the track and gives it a fun feel.


12 You Can Depend On Jesus
Tempo: Ballad
Feature: Pat Barker
Message: Have you ever placed your faith in something that let you down?  Something that made you feel betrayed? Don’t let fear take a hold of your heart. As the chorus reminds us in five simple words, you can depend on Jesus. Unlike the faltering promises made by man, the second verse assures us that when God makes a promise, He keeps it.  When we depend on Him, we develop endurance to stand strong in the trials of life.
Other Comments: What a song to end a project with!  Not only is the track beautifully arranged with strings and soft piano, but the lyrics are a perfect send off to whatever task is before you. We’ve all heard Pat sing “power ballads” like “How Big Is God,” but if you’ve never heard Pat sing a tender ballad like this one, well, that’s one more reason you need to get this project! A great rendition of this Rusty Goodman and Terry Toler ballad.

Conclusion: If you haven’t picked up on it by now, this is a great project!  Lyrically? Strong. Musically? Excellent. John Darin Rowsey and Wayne Haun did an amazing job on this CD.  So good, that I’d be hard pressed to say which was the “best song” of the project. In fact, there are several competing for that spot!  “Uncommon Praise,” “God Fights On My Side,” and the “How Big Is God Medley” are the ones (I believe) this project will be known for in years to come and take the Guardians to the next level. No matter what your taste is in Gospel Music, this project is a must have.  The lyrics and arrangements reach a place in your soul where it doesn’t matter what “type” of music you enjoy, if you’re a born again child of God, these songs will resonate with you and have you praising Him for hours! Happy listening and be prepared to hit repeat again and again!

“Ready For Revival” is available now! Purchase yours here: Guardians Website

Author: lynnschronicles

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