Tenth Avenue North has had a great year, recently landing the Gospel Music Association’s Dove Award for “By Your Side.”

But that song and the breakout hit “Love Is Here” are from the band’s debut album, “Over and Underneath.” The question is whether they can keep the momentum rolling with their new album, “The Light Meets the Dark.”

The new album is filled with reflections on God, man and their relationship.

It opens with “Healing Begins,” a wonderfully melodic and comforting call to breach the walls we erect to keep God out of our lives — the point “where the light meets the dark,” as the album likes to say.

That’s followed by the upbeat “Strong Enough to Save,” which asserts that we’re too weak to face life’s struggles on our own. And “You Are Mine” discusses how people can be emotionally crippled by the fear that they’ve fallen too far to be loved.

It reassures with lyrics like: “You are more than the sum of your past mistakes.”

Other standouts are “House of Mirrors,” which explains how some get caught too deeply in a selfish brand of introspection, and soft ballad “Oh My Dear,” which offers comfort to a friend feeling guilt and anguish.

While none of the songs soars quite like “Love Is Here,” Tenth Avenue North’s momentum doesn’t slacken much.

On the Web:


MercyMe is known for meaty, yet uplifting songs. It doesn’t seem quite right to hear the band sound downright bubbly.

Their new album “The Generous Mr. Lovewell” bounces among myriad musical influences as it tells the tale of an imaginary philanthropist named Mr. Lovewell. It opens with the upbeat “This Life.”

The song explains that life on earth is just a precursor to eternal life and believers are “meant to shine, not just survive.”

That’s followed by the light “Overall,” which encourages believers to act.

And the title track seems to draw musical inspiration from bouncy ’60s pop music.

However, like the other songs, the lyrics are solid — explaining how Mr. Lovewell is so thankful for the difference God has made in his life that he can’t help but give love away. “Move” seems to aim for a ’70s dance beat.

About halfway through the album, the tempo subsides — and so does the overall energy.

While the lyrics offer plenty to ponder, the music seems to range from super light to ponderously dull.

And none of it seems quite in line with the band’s awe-filled hit “I Can Only Imagine.”

On the Web:


It’s been more than three years since we’ve heard from FFH and much has changed.

The new album “Wide Open Skies” reveals a smaller group — just husband-and-wife team Jeromy and Jennifer Deibler — and one that’s faced some struggles. The band — whose name stands for Far From Home — went on hiatus in 2006 to spend time ministering to a church in South Africa. Soon thereafter, Jeromy was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a diagnosis that turned their lives upside down.

“Wide Open Skies” is filled with reflections on these times and trials. Songs like the ballad “What It Feels Like” show an appreciation for the challenges and lessons of life as the lyrics explain, “This may not be the road I would choose for me but it still feels right somehow.”

Other thought-provoking songs include the ballad “What If Your Best,” in which Jennifer explores letting God take charge even when life isn’t unfolding as we would choose.

Another is “Stop the Bleeding,” which asks God how long pain must be endured.

One of the most pleasing songs is the title track, which offers a strong melody and a soaring chorus that reveals a yearning to escape the hectic pace of modern life and a return to roots.

Musically, there’s much that’s pleasant but the real power lies in the lyrics’ beautiful imagery and deep concepts.

On the Web:

Today’s Praise focuses on the contemporary Christian music industry.

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive a daily email of today's top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign Up Now