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Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews

Greater Than Us All

  • reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2008 1 Feb
  • COMMENTS
Greater Than Us All
Sounds like … the Southern-influenced, pop/rock worship style of bands like Pocket Full of Rocks, MercyMe, Echoing Angels, Sonicflood, and to some extent, Casting CrownsAt a glance … Greater Than Us All does have some great moments, but too often the Daniel Doss Band sounds stuck in a pop-worship style that is growing increasingly formulaicTrack Listing Great God God in Me Hold On Abba Father Blessed Is the One Lord Reign Light Is Shining Love Like Rain Sing Your Name Great Dreamer I Need You

There's much to appreciate about the Daniel Doss Band. Their namesake frontman has a genuine heart for the church, serving as a worship leader for several congregations since senior high. When he made the decision to become a professional recording artist, Doss selected a band that was not only skilled and experienced (drummer Joe Stevens toured with The Crabb Family, bassist Bryan Wolski is a member of a renowned Eagles tribute band), but also a good fit personally and spiritually. And after the band garnered enough industry attention, Sparrow gave them a record deal and assigned award-winning producer-in-residence Ed Cash (Chris Tomlin) to helm their national debut, Greater Than Us All.

Unfortunately, this recipe for potential success is artistically the formula for "more of the same." There is nothing unique or distinctive about this album, virtually identical to the music of MercyMe, Pocket Full of Rocks, Echoing Angels, Sonicflood, and so many others. It's as if this U2-gone-Southern-pop worship sound has developed into a style unto itself. The problem is not that it's Southern or worshipful, but that it doesn't try anything new, following the pattern of what's worked many times before in terms of radio-friendliness, chord progressions, and lyrics.

And in fairness, parts of Greater Than Us All do indeed work, even if it is all quite predictable. The band plays dutifully enough as Doss sings with a pleasant voice reminiscent of Bart Millard, Michael Farren (Pocket Full of Rocks), and Jesse Butterworth (Daily Planet). The congregational friendly "God in Me" plays out like Tomlin's "Famous One," except with a fine chorus about keeping the Lord at the center of our lives: "You are the song of my life/You are the dance in my feet/You are the voice of my heart/You are God in me." One of the album's better rockers is "Great Dreamer," which uses interesting phrasing to illustrate God's artistry in Creation, and "Light Is Shining" couples melodic beauty and simplicity with celebratory lyrics to make it a favorite with churches, as does the tender ballad "I Need You."

Still, how many songs have we heard about persevering through uncertainty and hard times that are worded (and titled) exactly like "Hold On"? Though certainly just as well intentioned and grounded in Christian truth as "Hold On," songs such as "Lord Reign," "Abba Father," and "Sing Your Name" are nearly as clichéd in their music and worshipful theme. While the album will definitely appeal to fans already in love with this style of worship music, it is simply a carbon copy of Christian pop from the last five to seven years. All of which suggests that Greater Than Us All is either following a musical trend already past its prime, or else it's part of one growing so indistinct that it merely blends in with others. Sorry, but worshipful intent and top-notch production are not enough to make a worship album worthwhile.

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


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