Prime Cuts: He Who Counts the Stars, Pull Up a Chair, Man from Galilee
Overall Grade: 5/5
"There's an empty space beside me, pull up a chair" are the words of invitation of Tribute on their new song "Pull Up a Chair." If you do RSVP their invitation, you will be blessed with an unforgettable tour re-tracing how Jesus has been working in the lives of various believers. Whilst many artists only treated their album titulars as obligatory monikers, this is not so with Tribute. Throughout these newly recorded 10 songs, they do become tour guides offering us opportunities to "live the stories" of Jesus Christ re-told with Biblical perspicuity and heart-hitting creativity. On their well-planned itinerary, we get to hear countless stories of how Jesus still performs miracles today ("The Healer Hasn't Lost His Touch"), how he still changes people's lives ("The Stories this Water Could Tell"), how Jesus still wants us to walk on water ("Fear Not"), and more.
"Living the Stories" is Tribute's much anticipated Daywind release and it is the first to feature new member Gus Gaches. Of all the stories this album tells the most poignant has to be album closer "Man of Galilee." A piano ballad that gorgeously recounts, with loads of heartfelt emotions , the story of Jesus. On all accounts whether it is the song's emotional nuances or the song's intricate attention paid to details, "Man of Galilee" is pure gold. More cathartic moments come with tear-inducing "He Who Count the Stars." Fans of piano ballads will really treasure this intimate tale of the protagonist trying to counsel a friend who has been buried in the mount of anxieties to once again look to Jesus.
"There's Still Power in the Blood" makes a vital stopover at Calvary and ponders anew our redemption found in Jesus. Never ones to relegate Jesus to just the pages of history, "The Stories the Water Could Tell" tells of how lives are still being transformed by Jesus today. Also in the same thematic ballpark is lead single "The Healer Hasn't Lost His Touch;" a hit to the heart for those who think that miracles are relics of a bygone past.
Sonically, the album is impeccably executed. The majestic album opener "Only One" is surrounded by a bevy of lush orchestrated strings that is nothing short of stunning. Meanwhile "Somebody Tell" takes a more jaunty country turn. "Somebody Tell" is the raison d'être of the record: it articulates the rationale why it is important to live out the stories of Jesus. Never ones to be aloof, the aforementioned "Pull Up a Chair" is an inviting call to let Jesus reign in our lives told in a beguiling country waltz pace. Perhaps the only song that really doesn't strike the same level of appreciation is the upbeat and cliched "Fear Not."
With songs that have ear-grabbing melodies and lyrics that are creative and heart-tugging, these songs have a drawing power to hook us into the unfolding of their various plots. And we get to know the characters not just as acquaintances but as fellow pilgrims in the path of faith. In short, these songs are more than just narratives. Rather, as the album titular indicates, this is an album that invites us in to makes these stories our own.