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This Is The Beginning - Click to view!"Tune your ears to WISDOM, and concentrate on understanding. CRY out for insight and understanding." Proverbs 2:2-3

Wisdom's Cry began as a "girl" group with four members. When two of the members left to get married, the band could have completely disbanded. Instead, remaining members Bekah Cowden and Jessica Dail chose to replace two girls with a single guy: Bekah's younger brother Caleb. Having not heard the original lineup, I could offer only speculation about their sound. But judging by their recently released album, This Is the Beginning, the resulting threesome has tremendous potential. Coming on the heels of two independent releases (and a "favorites" release consisting of songs from the first two albums), their latest project is backed by Mission House Music Group.

The pop genre, in general, is a roiling mass of sugary lyrics and catchy beats seems to have little of substance to say to its audience. And when all else fails, sacrifice the background sound in order to bring attention to the singing. WC niftily avoids both of these pitfalls, and they come off sounding uncommonly polished for all their relative inexperience. Make no mistake, their harmonies are smooth as silk, and the mix is such that their vocal talents are on display. Uncommon in their chosen genre, though, is WC's use of a relatively wide range of backing instruments throughout the album. At various times we hear fiddle, steel guitar, and piano arrangements, aside from the more constant acoustic and electric guitars, and drums. Because of this variety, their sound differs somewhat from song to song.

Also contributing to variety of sounds is the unusual rotation of "lead" singing duties. Whereas there are generally two options taken in vocal groups: all-sing-all-the-time, or one-leads-others-follow, WC appears to routinely switch the lead, and each leader seems to favor a particular style. While Caleb's choices seem to follow along the lines of such artists as Salvador and Newsboys, the girls favor the more R&B flavor of Out of Eden, as evidenced on the track "Seasons Change." That's not to say that the group doesn't sing together. They do, and perhaps nowhere is their beautiful harmony better displayed than on "Child of God," where they make a good approximation of the Dixie Chicks.

As good as they sound, the heart and soul of this group is in its lyrics. While only three of the ten songs on the album list a member of the group (Caleb) as the author, rounding out the lineup are tracks with deep spiritual meaning in order to minister God's love to the listener. As a salve for the wounds of the broken, for example, they offer "For This He Died." In it they sing, "For this He died, for every mother, father and child / To bring us freedom, hope and life, / and love that won't run dry / For this He died." The simplest, and yet perhaps the most meaningful song on the album is "U.R.Y." Its entire lyrics consist of the following:

"I live for You / All that I am / All that I do / My heart beats with You / Each day I wake, I think of you.

You are why I sing You are why I live / Everything of me I place at Your feet / You are why I love You are why I give / Everything of me belongs to You.

I live for You / You are my God / You are the truth / You're all I need / My soul it longs for more of you."

The only problem I find with this album is in the length. Having only ten songs, the entire disc is less than 37 minutes long. Because the album is so enjoyable, the short run-time makes the ending seem abrupt. While it lasts, though, it is one of the better offerings in the pop genre in some time. Both positive and encouraging, this project is constantly entertaining. This Is the Beginning displays solid sound and polished production, so it's rather amazing that the group is not necessarily the full-time occupation of its members. Bekah is an elementary school teacher, and Jessica is completing her degree in Fine Arts at the University of Missouri-Columbia. (She sells some of her art on the group's website, under her bio.) The title may yet prove to be prophetic, because this album could very well be just the beginning for this talented trio.
- Scott Bush
February 2004
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