Brian Free & Assurance have been leaders in developing what many people call the “progressive” style of Southern Gospel Music. Beginning with 2007’s Real Faith, which was also the first BFA project produced by Ricky Free (Brian’s son & the groups former drummer), the group has recorded some of their finest material. Nothing But Love is easily the best album released in 2012, and maybe the finest project BFA has ever released.
The recording kicks off with the title song, “Nothing But Love”, which features Free on the verses. The use of the horns gives the song a little bit of a Motown/60’s feel, that I personally love. The next song, “It’s Quite A Valley”, is the first to feature lead vocalist, Bill Shivers. Shivers is without a doubt, the finest lead singer in Gospel Music. He shines on this project on every song he’s featured on, which is nothing unusual.
“If The Lord Says Do It” features bass vocalist Jeremy Lile, who continues to develop into one of the best bass singers in the business. The group does a fine job on this song, as well. One of my personal favorite songs on this recording is “I Will Be Praying”, and features Shivers. The driving music, and powerhouse vocals from Shivers highlights whats so awesome about this group.
Ricky Free is not only a tremendous musician & producer, but is also becoming quite the songwriter. One of 4 tunes Ricky co-wrote is “Guard Your Heart”, which features Lile & Shivers on the verses. The last chorus of the songs displays some of the finest singing you will ever hear from BFA.
The second half of the recording starts with “There Is Power”, featuring baritone, Derrick Selph. Though many admire both Free & Shivers for their vocal abilities, Selph has proven himself as a capable soloist through the years, and provides some great moments on this project.
The next cut, “Calvary’s Cry”, is vintage Brian Free. Starts with tender delivery on the verses, then a strong delivery on the choruses. “You Can Be A Bridge” follows, and starts off with a distorted 4 part harmony part, before Bill Shivers kicks into the first verse. Once again, Shivers proves he can sing the fire out of anything you give him. He may not win the fan vote, but in my opinion Shivers belongs in the category of Best Lead Singer.
“I Want To Be That Man”, is the 9th song on the recording, and is also the first single released to radio. This is one of the best songs the group has ever released, some have mentioned that this song would have been perfect for the movie courageous, and I agree. The lyrics are very challenging, and there’s a lot of potential for this song to make a statement. The final song, “Revival” is another fine song, that may be a signature tune for Derrick Selph. The haunting guitar part and eerie introduction give way to a fantastic lyric, challenging Christians to return to the days of old, when God’s people cried out for revival to fall upon the land.
I’ve read a few reviews of this project. Some say it doesn’t stack up to the groups past recordings, but I couldn’t disagree more. Every song on this cd is great, there is no filler material whatsoever. The guys have done a great job of selecting songs that have a message, and say something significant. Others have expressed their dismay with the production and sonic elements of the project. The thing that makes distinguishes Brian Free & Assurance from the rest of their contemporaries is the production value, though compressed, I enjoy all the elements that make up a BFA project or Ricky Free production.
This is a 5 star project, and so far in my opinion the best project released in 2012. I highly recommend purchasing this project, you will have a very hard time skipping one song or hitting the eject button!
Brian Free & Assurance “Nothing But Love” – Daywind Records
Review copy not provided.