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JFH Music Review

Third Day, Revival

Third Day

Artist Info: Discography
Genre(s): Rock / Gospel / Southern Rock
Album length: 13 tracks: 46 minutes, 38 seconds
Street Date: August 4, 2017


After more than two decades together, millions of albums sold and countless awards won, Third Day has clearly entered the "do what we're interested in" stage of their career. Rock and roll veterans like Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Paul Simon (who Third Day covers here) and Bob Dylan regularly sway around the career path, indulging whims and long-term passion projects (cover albums, genre excursions like a Blues album or a Country album, collections of Show Tunes, etc.), and with Revival, the guys from Georgia scratch their Gospel Music itch with a Deep-South soaked batch of sweaty, funky soul music tunes that sound like a Sunday morning fifty years ago in Baton Rouge.

Recorded at legendary Muscle Shoals Studios in Alabama (where legendary albums by The Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin and Lynyrd Skynyrd were made), Revival is more than just a vanity project by this legendary Christian rock band. It's a labor of love that the guys clearly wanted to make for many years, and one that finds the band recalling the peak years of their performing and writing powers (on such albums as the back to back Conspiracy No. 5 and Time).

With vintage instruments in tow (harmonicas, tambourines, rusty electric guitars and plenty of finger snaps and hand claps) the band states their purpose right out of the gate with the title track; a groovy, swinging Gospel Music number that ambles along on a bed of soulful backing vocals, tinkling piano and a honking saxophone. The lyrics here are a spot on in their mentioning of what brings true revival: "Ain't gonna' find it in a politician / not from the government or any law / can't get it going by your own religion / only by the Spirit and the Word Of God". Mac Powell's distinct baritone is in fine form throughout the album, and booms out wonderfully on the title track.

"Gonna Be There With Me" ups the Gospel Music ante, with a soulful set of mariachi horns (a la Johnny Cash's "Ring Of Fire") and a wailing set of back up singers. The saloon piano break and old timey guitar solo in the bridge brings the good vibes to a musical head. The menacing guitar intro of "Leave This World Behind" is an old school Third Day delight, and the song adds a needed "rocking" surge of energy.

The middle third of the album leans more towards recent Third Day radio pop, but still maintains the spirit of the more overt old-school Gospel material. "Gather Round Now" makes a great use of a Blind Boys Of Alabama type vocal backing group, and marries a hard rock feel with a swinging Gospel groove, making for a delightful-yet-dangerous combo.

The band maintains the pace and quality of the Soul Music vibe all the way through Revival, and it's obvious that the band's love and respect for this type of influential American music has been there all along. The band has been playing with Gospel music choirs since their beginning (see "Worship Song" on their debut album, "Have Mercy" from their second album or "King Of Glory" from their fine worship album, Offerings), but they have not gone "whole hog" until now. Revival is exactly the kind of labor of love project that a veteran band should make. It's true to its roots, lovingly crafted and capably executed. Like a Rolling Stones Blues cover album, a Sting medieval music side trip or a Bruce Springsteen folk music jaunt, Revival finds Third Day playing with a format that they clearly have "in their marrow," and in doing so, have put out one of the best albums of their career. It's also one of the best things you'll hear this summer, and will sound great live when the band takes it on tour. Turn it up loud (if you have it on vinyl, all the better) and get down with the old-school vibe.

- Review date: 8/1/17, written by Alex Caldwell of

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JFH Staff's Additional 2 Cents

    This one has been on repeat for weeks and only gets better with each listen. Revival is a welcome return to the southern rock/gospel sounds of their earlier album Time, and it's clear these veteran hit makers are enjoying themselves. Lead singer Mac Powell's rich baritone is as good as ever, and fits this set of songs like a glove. I was pleasantly surprised at the utilization of rollicking horns and hammond organ, and found that they serve to produce an almost live feel to the album. One of their most complete offerings of the past decade, the standout songs for me are title track "Revival," "Gonna be There With Me," "Leave this World Behind," "Gather Round Now," "Nobody Love Me Like Jesus," and "Devotion." Although there are a few radio friendly songs here as well, most sound best suited to be listened to on the back porch swing while sipping a glass of southern sweet tea; and that's a good thing. I'm typically hesitant to hand out five-star ratings, but this one is definitely deserving and certain to make my top ten favorite releases of the year! - 8/3/17 Josh Balogh

    With more than two decades worth of music behind them, you'd be forgiven if you started to believe Third Day didn't have too much left in them. Yet, Revival shatters any doubt that the band would just phone it in the next time around. This record is a near masterpiece. With a nostalgic aesthetic, irresistibly catchy hooks, and lyrics filled with a genuine love for our God, Revival has all the makings of a record the band was destined to create. Fans of their later, contemporary releases will love "Let There Be Light" and "In Your Hands," whilst those more partial to the band's earlier material will adore the gritty rock of "Leave This World Behind" and "Gather Round Now." - 8/9/17 Lucas Munachen



JFH Album Sampler
. Record Label: Provident Music Group
. Album length: 13 tracks: 46 minutes, 38 seconds
. Street Date: August 4, 2017
. Buy It: (CD)
. Buy It: (Deluxe Edition)

  1. Revival (3:39)
  2. Gonna Be There With Me (3:18)
  3. Leave This World Behind (3:36)
  4. Let There Be Light (4:02)
  5. Faithful and True (4:07)
  6. Gather Round Now (4:09)
  7. In Your Hands (3:38)
  8. Loves Me Like A Rock (3:44)
  9. New Creation (3:19)
  10. Nobody Loves Me Like Jesus (3:11)
  11. Anything Is Possible (3:17)
  12. Great God Almighty (2:50)
  13. Devotion (3:55)




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