Chris Rice’s first studio album in two years lays out joyful, hope-filled musings about life, love and God.

Chris Rice’s first studio album in two years lays out joyful, hope-filled musings about life, love and God. (EB+FLO)

When you’re happy, you want the world to know it. Judging from the new album “Amusing,” singer Chris Rice must be ecstatic.

Rice’s first studio disc in two years lays out joyful, hope-filled musings about life, love and God.

It’s an optimistic view that Rice plans to share with the family members of soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division. Rice is working with DaySpring Greeting Cards to create a special card thanking military families for their service and sacrifice. Rice will include a special CD for the families that will feature his new songs “I See The Moon” and “The Best Song Ever.”

Rice said the package, which will go out in September, was “born out of my appreciation for what our troops are doing around the world. I have several friends who have just returned or are still over in Iraq.”

Rice said he carries a plastic soldier in his pocket to remember to pray for the troops. The card is meant to remember the families at home.

“Sometimes we forget that there are people waiting at home and they are in many ways giving so much for our country. … I appreciate it so much,” Rice said.

Rice is appreciative of quite a lot in life and he shares his feelings on this new CD.

“Amusing” is primarily a laid-back, acoustic work. Although electric guitars break in occasionally, the accents are more likely to be provided by strings — and even harps.

However, you wouldn’t know that from the opening tracks, “Prelude” and “Love Like Crazy.” Guitarwork by “King of Twang” Duane Eddy propels the tracks into an energetic challenge to take risks in showing your love to the world. “You gotta love like crazy, the way he loved you and me.”

Many of the following tracks sound much more like love ballads, some with a ’60s and ’70s flavor. “When Did You Fall” asks when a woman fell in love. One of the best songs is “Breakfast Table,” which Rice based on conversations with those who have lost loved ones. It’s a love song that looks forward to joining a spouse with God in heaven, saying, “Save me a walk down the streets of gold.”

The point of the disc is probably best revealed in “Lemonade.” It’s an unashamedly joyful song about life’s simple blessings. “Life gave me lemonade and I can’t imagine why.”

The songs included in the tribute to military families are “I See The Moon” and “The Best Song Ever.” The first song definitely falls into the easy-listening category. It’s a mellow track asking God’s blessings on someone who’s in a distant place. The second song is an upbeat description of how everyone seems to know that the future holds something great and we’re just waiting for it to unfold.

If you’re amused by the little joys of life, this disc will put a smile on your face. It’s a great soundtrack for a lazy day with the one you love.

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Today’s Praise is a roundup of news and reviews from the contemporary Christian music industry. It appears on the religion page.

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