Personnel: Chris Leuzinger, Adam Lester (guitar); Jim Johnson (steel guitar); Dan Muckala (hammer dulcimer, keyboards, programming, background vocals); Jessie Hale (fiddle); Barry Bales (upright bass); Will Salles (drums); Thad Cockrell, Natalie Hemby (background vocals).
Audio Mixer: F. Reid Shippen.
Recording information: Echo Mountain, Asheville, NC.
Photographer: Joseph Anthony Baker.
In the world of contemporary Christian music, releasing an album that you could easily apply the descriptor "understated" to is a rare thing indeed. Yet that's just what Brandon Heath has done on his fourth full-length. In place of the brash histrionics and overwrought production that mark the work of so many of his peers, Heath keeps things tempered, only allowing the dramatics to wander in for, well, dramatic effect. And the single most glaring moment of bombast actually works remarkably well. Over the course of the song "Dyin' Day," the singer/songwriter builds on a vision of inviting the broken and sinful among us into his home for dinner. It all builds to a rousing finish of string-soaked, distorted guitar and splashing cymbals. This is the song to incite the congregation to action. The rest of the album, though, feels downright muted in comparison to that one brief minute of action. Even the most radio-friendly near-rocker, "Jesus in Disguise," stays resolute with the chorus slinking in where most would have it explode upon the listeners. Heath sounds particularly great when he ratchets things way back, as on the alt-country-tinged title track and the folksy ode to his grandfather, "Paul Brown Petty." ~ Robert Ham