It is a bittersweet moment for all Watermark fans around the globe. After eight years and four critically-acclaimed releases, Nathan & Christy Nockels, the husband-and-wife duo that is Watermark, decided to end their musical career with a "best-of" album, entitled A Grateful People. Instead of going the easy way out and issuing a standard hits package, Grateful, for the most part is a live album, which was recorded in the couple's home church in Tennessee last year. The set includes five number-one hits along with seven other favorites.
Things start off right with "Take Me There," a track that makes you feel as if Christy is singing in the next room. "Who Am I," featuring Point of Grace, benefits a lot from having multiple-female harmonies being showcased equally alongside Christy's. "In the Garden," is the last superb live-track, with the album quickly shifting into soft mode from there. Not that the softer music is not good, but they could have done a lot better in placement of tracks on the album to balance out the opposing styles.
The only real problems I had with this record, albeit they are small ones, dealt with the audio presentation of the concert. All of the female vocals are very clear, but the male vocals feel distant compared to that of Christy's crowd-drawing voice. It also would've been nice to hear some of what was said at the concert by all parties involved. Instead, the tracks immediately fade from the end of one song to the beginning of the next, with the entire concert lasting just under an hour.
In addition to the 14-song concert (12 tracks), two new tracks have been recorded in-studio. The up-beat "Light of the World," the albums' first single, is an almost guaranteed number-one, especially given the circumstances. "Jesus, Light of the World, Shine on Us, Shine on Us…," sings Christy during the chorus. It is a fitting career-ending track, as well as a great concert-ending song, as I am sure it will be used as such when Watermark embarks on their "Farewell Tour" in the spring. The final song on the record, "Elliana's Song," is much more forgettable, reminiscent of Watermark's early album themes dealing with parenting.
In this case, Watermark made the right choice by releasing a live album as their final release. Though I am sure there will be some disagreement regarding the song selection, the overall experience properly tells their story from beginning to end. Overall, A Grateful People is a fine release by a group that will be sorely missed.- Review date: 1/3/06, written by Andrew Shaw
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