Tuesday, January 18, 2011

FFH: Wide Open Spaces Review


FFH is back with Wide Open Spaces, the first FFH project since 2006. After Jeromy and Jennifer Deibler went through several struggles and tribulations, they came back with renewed passion that echoes off every song in FFH's latest project. Spending time in Africa ministering also added to the influence behind Wide Open Spaces, bringing an album full of heart-ache and hope all in one.

The catchy, upbeat contemporary track "Undone" begins Wide Open Spaces as a strong, powerful song about surrendering to God. With one listen, it is easy to hear the heart of Jeromy, who co-wrote this track with Mia Fields: "Come undone/ surrender is stronger/ I don't need to be the hero tonight/ we all want love/ we all want honor/ nobody wants to pay the asking price." In addition, the fill-ins provoked to be a huge asset to this track, actually increasing the catchy side of it. "Hold On" is written from Jeromy to his wife Jennifer. After spending some time in Africa, Jeromy admitted that he never wanted to go back to the shallow waters of life. In this nice track, he speaks of holding onto his wife and walking through the struggles of life with her.

The title track, "Wide Open Spaces" was probably my favorite from FFH's latest project. With a soothing country sound, the band speaks of blooming right where God has chosen to place us at the time. The duet between Jeromy and Jennifer was very welcome, as well, making for an absolutely awesome worship track. "What It Feels Like" is backed up by piano, but does not lose your interest in the album, as it speaks of going through the wilderness, but knowing that God is always leading: "This may not be the road I would choose for me/ but it still feels right somehow/ 'cause I have never felt You as close to me as I do right now/ so this is what it feels like to be led."

"I Don't Care Anymore" is probably the closest sounding on the album to the older FFH music, with a catchy pop beat. This track also carries an encouraging message of forgetting what is behind and pressing forward. "What If Your Best" follows as the first song on Wide Open Spaces sung entirely by Jennifer. "What if Your Best" is a very deep track questioning God about those times when He is asking for our best and we feel like we have nothing to give Him ("I want your best, but what if your best is brokenness/ would I be broken?").

"The Time of My Life" most definitely sounds like something you'd hear from Matthew West, perhaps "One Less" or "Friend In the World," as Jeromy chronicles the best parts of his marriage to Jennifer." "Stop the Bleeding" follows as a gorgeous piano track of lamentation. As Jeromy shared, the years of 2006-2008 were very trying on him and his wife, and he asked God simply to "come and stop the bleeding" and asked how much more God would expect before things would go right.

"Who I'm Gonna Be" leans on the slower side of things, sounding mostly acoustic with an interjection of gospel organ here and there, speaking of stopping the chasing of what we want to be, and sticking with what God has called us to be. Finally, Wide Open Spaces ends on a soft note with "Jesus Give Me Rest," as a prayer for God to give us peace and rest. I really enjoyed the harmonizing that  took place in this track, as well as the guitar strumming that made this a somewhat country track.

FFH's Wide Open Spaces project was very enjoyable and largely catchy. Because the album is ten tracks, it is easy to hit the "repeat" button and listen to multiple times, as you soak in the heart-felt worship that FFH shares on this project. The half country, half contemporary project is very enjoyable, and will not let down FFH fans. If you are a fan of contemporary worship or country, then this album is for you!

Rating: 4.5/5
Release date: May 11, 2010

Track listing:
1. Undone
2. Hold On to Me
3. Wide Open Spaces
4. What It Feels Like
5. I Don't Care Anymore
6. What If Your Best
7. The Time of My Life
8. Stop the Bleeding
9. Who I'm Gonna Be
10. Jesus Give Me Rest

3 comments:

  1. Good, good, good! I was hoping you'd review this album at some point. It sound great! My family loves FFH!

    BTW, could you compare the lyrics of The Time of My Life to a song of the same title on Mark Schultz's CD Song Cinema. The way you described it made the two sound like they might be the same song. I really like the Mark Schultz song, so I'm wondering if this is an FFH version of the same song. Thanks!

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  2. Thanks, Anonymous! Glad you enjoyed the review. The Mark Schultz track is not the same as the FFH one, and FFH's track was actually written by Jeromy from FFH. It is ironic that they both have songs with the same titles about the same things, but they are not the same songs. Hope that helps! :) Thanks for your comment!

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  3. Awesome review and it sounds like a good cd! I've heard a couple of the tracks already and really liked them! :)

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