When the Kingsmen released Grace Says this summer, the closing track, “Loving Shepherd, Gracious God,” immediately stood out. When I reviewed the project, here, it was a no-brainer to name the song as one of the three biggest highlights and as a radio single pick. I even interviewed the song’s author, Dianne Wilkinson, about the song.
You can now stream the entire song on Grooveshark, for free, here, and hear it for yourself. (And yes, though it had an errant youthful stage where it flouted the law, Grooveshark does now pay songwriter and SoundExchange royalties.)
Now I am often a particular fan of mellow songs; from “I See a Crimson Stream” to “Oh, the Thought that Jesus Loves Me” to “That’s the Place I’m Longing to Go,” these songs are often the ones I play time and again. So perhaps, I thought, I am biased toward the style.
However, other reviewers have agreed. In fact, this consensus has been surprisingly widespread, enough that I concluded it deserved a slow-news-day post of its own.
Musicscribe: [EDIT, 3/16/13: Broken link removed.]
Ordinarily, I gravitate toward faster songs, but the highlight of Grace Says for me is “Loving Shepherd, Gracious God.” … Hearing “Loving Shepherd, Gracious God” sparked my interest to the point that I’d want to seek this CD out and buy it.
Friday Night Revival:
If there were a Ray Dean Reese signature (and there has been), this may be the new one. This song has been a hot topic on other blogs, and it hasn’t gone unnoticed. Taken from Psalm 23, this seems fit for Reese at this time in his life, not just because of his bout with cancer, but because of it’s wisdom, because of its signficance, because of its emptiness, because of its overflowing ability to point us to a loving Shepherd who “sympathizes with us in our weakness”. A high priest, a king, a suffering servant, a Shepherd for “normal” folk. It’s smooth and refreshing.
Brian Crout: [EDIT, 3/16/13: Broken link removed.]
The other of the strongest songs is “Loving Shepherd, Gracious God,” a beautiful Dianne Wilkinson mid-tempo number featuring Ray Dean Reese.
This new song written by Dianne Wilkinson … may be the most lyrically profound on the entire album. It is a beautiful song led by Ray Reese on the verses, and Hutson on the chorus. It is a excellent way to close out an all around fantastic album, Dianne has done it again this time taking a passage out of the bible (the 23rd psalm, and writing a lyrical masterpiece). I have to say that this song has to be my favorite (lyrically) on the entire album.
Reviews of the newest Kingsmen album, Grace Says (including the one upcoming on this site), have all pointed to “Loving Shepherd, Gracious God” as a highlight due to Ray Reese’s touching vocal solo on the second verse. As good as it is on disc, it’s even better live.
Several other reviewers praised the song, but focused their comments more on the performance than the song itself.
All told, this is a rather remarkable testament that a song doesn’t have to be big or fast to touch lives.