Randy Stonehill has been around the Christian music scene since before there was an established Christian music scene. From his beginnings as part of the Jesus Music movement in the 70's and becoming a CCM mainstay in the 80's to an impressive ability to remain relevant throughout the 90's. And with continued touring--he's still at it at the time of my writing this!--Randy Stonehill is an artist to recognize. That being said, The Definitive Collection represents about a decade of material from various albums.
Randy Stonehill: The Definitive Collection is a compilation of his best work from Word Records. If you're looking for an peek into Christian music of the 80's, this album is a good place to start.
The Definitive Collection starts off with "The Wild Frontier." Stonehill's vocals are the grittiest I've heard from him, with a sound akin to that of Bruce Springsteen. From there, things take a different turn with (the Caribbean styled?) "Shut De Do." A choir is used to back Stonehill on this one. "I Thirst for You" and "Still Small Voice" became unexpected standouts with a simple acoustic guitar appeal and strong message. All the songs on this collection are enjoyable, but they have a heavy 80's sound in the way the vocals were mixed, the drums were recorded, etc. However, "I Thirst for You" and "Still Small Voice" are not as heavily mixed this way.
A duet with Amy Grant, in the song "I Could Never Say Goodbye," is an interesting listen, but I don't believe the song stands the test of time. It has an easy-listening quasi-jazz pop sound that went out of fashion 20 years ago in Christian music. "Who Will Save The Children" is a pop duet with a somber challenge. For the song, fellow Jesus Music veteran Phil Keaggy makes an appearance complementing Stonehill as they trade off vocals. "Turning Thirty" is a nostalgic, thoughtful acustic guitar-driven pop song that keeps you thinking back and looking forward in Christ. It's followed by "Coming Back Soon," a song about waiting for Jesus' return. "Rachael Delevoryas" and "Christmas at Denny's" round out the album with the former being a slower song with orchestral arrangements, and the latter having something of a Country-Christmas feel to it.
Pro's: A lot of radio hits from someone who was a big part of the CCM scene for many years.
Con's: Much of the music has a dated sound; don't expect much from the CD insert if you're not buying it digitally.
All In All: Randy Stonehill: The Definitive Collection is a good value for your buck if you don't have the songs!JFH Reader Review: Review date: 3/26/16, written by Paul Nave for Jesusfreakhideout.com
Record Label: Word Entertainment
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