Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Inspiration for times like these

Times Like These
Artist: Austin’s Bridge (
Label: Daywind Records
Length: 10 tracks/38:19 minutes

After winning a 2008 Dove award for “He’s in Control” (Bluegrass Song of the Year), Austin’s Bridge is back with their sophomore release Times Like These. The CD is produced by Jay DeMarcus of Rascal Flatts.

For those unfamiliar with the band, their music is modern country, a blend of country, pop, rock and a little bluegrass. A full sound is accented by a few chugging riffs and some piercing guitar solos. Two acoustic tracks, “There is a God” and “Hold on to Jesus” standout like a pleasant oasis. Mandolin and dobro add beauty to the former.

The middle tracks are highly motivational. “Dash Between the Dates” was probably inspired by the book, The Dash. The song highlights that it’s not the year we were born or the year we die, it’s how we live our lives in between that counts.

“Times Like These” and “Love is on the Way” speak to our current dilemmas with hope and encouragement. The former projects a resolute stability, while the latter is filled with infectious energy that complements the idea that we need “to turn this thing around.”

Mercy is personified in the first single, “Mercy Never Leaves”: “Mercy never leaves when others walk away / Mercy’s there for you so you don’t ever have to be afraid / When you’re feeling hopeless, abandoned and lost / Mercy pleads your case before the cross / Mercy never leaves.” It’s a comfort to think that mercy is always available; we need never fear. However divine these attributes might be, these are actions that we can model towards others.

“Good Time” brings this to a close with southern-sounding, swamp blues reminiscent of Lynyrd Skynyrd. It’s just another example of the slight style changes you find throughout.

Many of the musicians are well-known session players. The songs are finely-crafted coming from a variety of writers. Group members Justin Rivers and Jason Baird wrote “Hold on to Jesus” and “Good Time,” with Rivers also co-writing “Dash Between the Dates.” Their main contribution, however, and where they shine, are the vocals and harmonies. Jay DeMarcus co-wrote the title track and “Angels.”

This is a highly accessible fusion of country and contemporary Christian styles. Though it does not break new ground, it’s a near flawless production. Their talent and positive Christian message will find a receptive audience.
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