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JFH Staff Review


Ripp + Rice, Songs We Wrote On Tuesdays
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Ripp + Rice
Songs We Wrote On Tuesdays



Artist Info: Chris Rice's Discography
Genre(s): Southern Gospel
Album length: 13 tracks: 44 minutes
Street Date: January 4, 2019


READER RATING:   


Last year, esteemed singer/songwriter Chris Rice made waves when he subtly hinted that new music would soon be coming for the first time in over a decade. Later in the year, he announced that it would be in the form of a split album with Andrew Ripp, thus Ripp + Rice was born. In what can only be described as a quaint project, the duo comes forth bringing a post-Christmas gift dubbed Songs We Wrote on Tuesdays.

While the 13-track album features some crossover when it comes to background vocals, there are essentially seven and six alternating tracks by Rice and Ripp, respectively. Both artists shine individually, but the lack of any duets is a little disappointing. Most of the songs are shorter in nature, delivering a rather easy listen for an album with this many tracks. While both artists regularly enjoy toying within their respective genres, the spine of Songs We Wrote on Tuesdays lies somewhere around CCM southern gospel.

The album opens with Rice's "Via Dolorosa," easily one of the album's highlights. Its worshipful lyrics are poignant and flow beautifully with Rice's nostalgic voice: "Crawling by these dusty bones / ones who never made it home / I wonder what they all believed / still I can't let go of what they're teaching me / Via Dolorosa; lead me on the painful way / and meet me there when it's over / when darkness turns to day." Hearing this song makes Rice's decade-long absence even more felt. Ripp's background vocals also add a beautiful texture to the song.

The second track, "Not So far Away," is fronted by Ripp and boasts a solid country vibe. Listeners should be aware of a flippant use of 'd-mn' on the track. Following after is the charming "This Ain't No Love Song" (spoiler alert: it is), which sees Rice return to his gospel and piano form. Ripp's "Let It Burn" is a great offering with a gospel flair and building lyrics: "let it burn so bright; let the whole world see / 'til it lights up the darkness inside of me / if it takes all night 'til the morning, let it burn / let it burn so high, make the heavens glow 'til the angles see every broken soul / let it burn with hope where the shadows hide 'til my blood runs free, 'til I'm purified."

"Nothing Like This" and "Hold On" are both mellow and relaxing tracks, while Rice's "Gorgeous" is another album highlight, delivering some incredible melodies and falsetto. "Boy" features a lovely string arrangement, and Ripp's direction feels reminiscent of OneRepublic's earlier outings. "Took Your Breath Away" is an instant Chris Rice classic and one which deserves a listen from every reader who has enjoyed Rice in the past. While the song perhaps falls short of the greatness of "Untitled Hymn," it most certainly runs in the same vein. Ripp's "Frontlines" offers a short and somber semi-final track, and Rice's simple song "See You There" closes out the album with the line "if I don't see you here, I'll see you there."

Ultimately, Ripp + Rice has set an incredibly high bar for the remainder of 2019. While Songs We Wrote on Tuesdays doesn't scream for attention, it certainly deserves plenty. If nothing else, check out "Via Dolorosa," "Let It Burn," "Gorgeous," "Boy," and "Took your Breath Away." You won't be disappointed.

- Review date: 1/3/19, written by David Craft of Jesusfreakhideout.com

 

JFH Staff's Second Opinion



Collaborations can be a fun chance for artists to explore territory or sounds they don't normally venture into, all the while producing something unique. For Andrew Ripp and Chris Rice (Ripp + Rice), Songs We Wrote on Tuesdays is a mix of tunes that give the listener a vibe of a Paul Simon/James Taylor collaboration with a few Rich Mullins-esque songs thrown in for good measure. The music is gospel-tinged acoustic/piano rock with occasional country vibes; the messages generally fall into three categories of love songs, faith/worshipful tunes, and songs about death. It makes for a somewhat weird collection that mostly works.

The forgettable material lies with the love songs. They can be catchy and coy, but don't necessarily come off as unique takes on the genre. The songs about death lend more weight to the project, though they feel out of place on the first couple listens. They come toward the end of the record (which makes sense) but they're separated by tunes tackling different subjects. One could probably work out a flow to that section if they gave it some time, however, this leads to a general critique of the record feeling random and disjointed. I suppose that's to be expected since this was a project of songs they wrote together once a week. Given the caliber of the artists working here, though, one would hope that more thought would be put into the track list. Admittedly, this is minor, and if you temper your expectations, it may not even be a problem. The faith songs, by far, make up the bulk of this album's strength. "Via Dolorosa," "Let It Burn," "Gorgeous" and "Boy" are the big standouts.

The disjointed nature of the material aside, Ripp + Rice show what two veteran musicians can accomplish together. I would recommend that if you're unfamiliar with one of the artist's work, it would be worth your time to do some homework and listen to some of his past material. That might give you a more realistic expectation of the record. If you're looking for honest, stripped-down songs that aren't buried in programming, Songs We Wrote on Tuesdays is a good album to check out. - Review date: 1/7/19, John Underdown of Jesusfreakhideout.com

 

. Record Label: None
. Album length: 13 tracks: 44 minutes
. Street Date: January 4, 2019
. Buy It: iTunes
. Buy It: Amazon.com (CD)

  1. Via Dolorosa (3:58)
  2. Not so Far Away (4:34)
  3. This Ainít No Love Song (2:52)
  4. Let It Burn (3:51)
  5. Nothin like This (3:38)
  6. Hold On (4:14)
  7. Gorgeous (2:46)
  8. Gloria (3:35)
  9. Carry On (2:47)
  10. Boy (3:59)
  11. Took Your Breath Away (2:55)
  12. Frontlines (1:47)
  13. See You There (2:17)

 



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