Monday, September 17, 2012
Eyes Wide Open by Jeff and Sheri Easter - CD Review
The projects are very different in that they are both very reflective of where the Easter family was during the recording. While Expecting Good Things was very encouraging for those going through the valley, Eyes Wide Open is celebratory of making it through the valley and life.
The album includes all of their family members. This album is the first one that Jeff and Sheri's son Madison has helped them produce. Sheri covers a song that her mother, Polly, sang with the Lewis Family, and Morgan sings one that Sheri sang about 20 years ago. Jeff's dad, James Easter, has guest vocals, and Shannon and Madison both sing background vocals for Morgan on one of her features. Maura Easter is even featured on the last song.
There's rarely an album where I don't find myself skipping several songs on the project and just listening to a couple of favorites. But Eyes Wide Open is definitely an exception for me! The song selection is so strong that it's really hard for me to pick just a couple of favorite songs.
Here is a list of the songs:
"A Little Bit of Sunshine" - This uptempo song is a great to start the album. The song was written by Lee Black and Kenna West. It features Sheri, and talks about the celebration of life after going through a storm.
"I'll Take It" - This song features Jeff and was written by Joseph and Lindsay Habedank, and hopefully the first of many cuts for this husband/wife team. It speaks of surrendering your burdens to God, and letting him "take it." It's one of my favorites on the project, and really shows off Jeff's vocals.
"Sitting on Top of the World" - This song has a definite country flavor, and when I first heard this song it reminded me a little of the country song "She's in Love With the Boy." I'm not sure why, but both songs are cute love story songs. I could actually see this song being a hit in mainstream country. During the last chorus of the song that they repeat lines from the verses, it really adds an interesting vocal dynamic especially live!
"I Know How It Feels to Survive" - This song was penned by Sheri and Madison Easter. It's a great song that is from Sheri's personal battle with breast cancer. The song has a line about living with "eyes wide open," where the album's title comes from.
"It Must Have Been You" - This song speaks of the mercy and grace of God. It's a beautiful reminder that God orders our steps and helps us along the way, whatever we may be facing. It's very reflective as someone looking back on how God carried them through the valley. It was written by the great team of Wayne Haun and Joel Lindsey.
"I Wonder if He Ever Cries" - This is Morgan's first feature on album with Shannon and Madison backing her up. I'm sure she does her mother proud on this song. It's a beautiful recut of the Jeff and Sheri Easter classic.
"Anything But Happy" - This is the second song that Sheri wrote on the project. It's a great song that reminds us to appreciate all the little things in life. It's a reminder of all the great blessings that God gives us not only in the big things but also in the daily things.
"Love Is" - This country tune is Morgan's second feature. It's a song that speaks of different examples of showing love from teachers to parents to people praying for the troops. It also covers the love of Christ in how He demonstrated that to us on the cross. The song fits Morgan's voice so well!
"I Won't Have to Worry Anymore" - This is the song the Jeff's dad was playing as his mom passed away, and James Easter is a guest vocalist on the song. While overall the album has a country feel, this song has one of the strongest country feels with the strong steel guitar intro.
"There Is a Purpose" - Jeff, Sheri and Morgan all share vocals on this song. It's a great reminder that in everything God has a purpose. God works it all out when you look back on your life. The song has a beautiful message that fits with the overall theme of the album.
"Standing Here Wondering" - This is one of the songs I was most looking forward to hearing on the project. I first heard Sheri sing the song in El Dorado this summer, and was blown away by her live performance of the song. Stylistically it's completely different from other songs on the project, but this is one of my favorites! Sheri shows off the bluesy, soulful side of her voice, and is a vocal highlight of the project for me!
"A Good Ole Gospel Song" - This song was written by Jimmy Yeary and Jeff Easter and apparently was based on a real-life experience of Jeff's. It's a fun song that is definitely a Jeff Easter song!
This project is a must buy for Jeff and Sheri Easter fans and southern gospel fans alike. I think it's one of their best. It's a great follow up to Expecting Good Things that shows how Jeff and Sheri are now on the other side of the valley celebrating life with "eyes wide open!"