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Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews

Austins Bridge

  • reviewed by Andree Farias Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2007 1 Mar
  • COMMENTS
Austins Bridge
Sounds like … Little Big Town, Rascal Flatts, Sugarland, 33Miles, and other groups mixing pop, country, and neo-traditionalist elements.At a glance … Austins Bridge is hands down the best new "guy group" in Christian music's growing country-pop ranks.Track Listing He Will Carry You
Dry Bones
His Burden's Light
He's in Control
I Am Free
This Is Love
I See Daylight
Life's Too Short
Native American Prayer
History Turned the Page
What I Still Believe
Jesus You Are

Austins Bridge, the self-titled debut by Nashville-based trio Austins Bridge, hit the scene at around the same time as 33Miles, the self-titled album by country-pop threesome 33Miles. Judging by appearance alone, both rely on the same qualities: boyish good looks, form-fitting t-shirts, and perfect hair, as if aiming squarely at the Rascal Flatts set—all of this at the zenith of Christian music's country revival.

The comparisons end there. Where 33Miles is polished and nearly twangless adult contemporary pop, Austins Bridge is as country and Southern gospel as you can get, and then some. While there's certainly still a pop element in what Austins Bridge does, it's merely a reference point in the music, not the essence. For three young guys who have only been together since early 2006, their vocal synergy, sense of classicism, and Southern roots are so strong, it sounds as if they grew up singing together.

The familial bond is due in part to some of their contributors. Representatives from The Crabb Family and some of Southern gospel's most notable musicians and songwriters give credence to the album, but Austins Bridge takes ownership of their songs, even when performing other people's work. Take for example the excellent Gerald Crabb-penned "History Turned the Page," an ominous retelling of Christ's crucifixion that Austins Bridge delivers with eyewitness conviction.

Neo-traditionalist to the core, members Justin Rivers, Jason Baird, and Mike Kofahl have a knack for solid Southern songcraft. Straight-up country renditions ("His Burden's Light"), joyful barn burners ("I Am Free"), haunting Americana mourners ("He's in Control"), and worshipful pop numbers ("Jesus You Are") are all effective results of their songwriting efforts, as well as a testament to the group's well-defined grasp of their artistic identity. Hands down, they're the best new "guy group" in faith-based country-pop.

© Andree Farias, subject to licensing agreement with Christianity Today International. All rights reserved. Click for reprint information.


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