Producer: Danny Crawford
Label: Independent Release
I first became acquainted with Jeff Snyder back around 2006 when he was singing for the group Crystal River. Later, he joined Mike & Kelly Bowling, and then eventually moved on to the Greenes, where he stayed until Tony Greene’s untimely passing in 2010. Had things been different and Tony was alive, the Greenes would have continued being a force to be reckoned with that vocal line-up! What a powerhouse they were! Since 2010, Jeff has remained in ministry and ultimately, he became Worship Leader at Valley Forge FWB Church in Elizabethton, Tennessee, where he currently serves. I was beyond elated when I found out Jeff was working on a solo recording. Produced by Danny Crawford and with the addition of his former bosses, Mike Bowling and TaRanda on BGVs, you can bet he has put together an excellent recording filled with powerful lyrics and powerful vocals that will minister to your spirit and tickle your ears as well. This could be the beginning as something momentous for Jeff, as more and more people hear his music and see his heart.
The upbeat title song, “KEEP THE FAITH” get things underway before slowing down a bit for the Praise & Worship feel of “AT THE MENTION OF YOUR NAME”.
Jeff starts to hit his stride with the classic anthem of faith, “HE’LL FIND A WAY”. Previously recorded by the likes of Babbie Mason, Friends 4 and Billy & Sarah Gaines, Jeff does a tremendous job declaring that “if He can paint a sunset, put the stars in place…if He can raise up mountains and calm the storm-tossed waves…if He can conquer death forever to open Heaven’s gate…He’ll find a way!” In keeping with that theme, “WE’RE NOT DEFEATED” is one of the strongest songs on this recording and as TaRanda and Mike blend with Jeff on the chorus, it sounds like the Greenes again. This song has “single” written all over it and the false ending/turnaround is icing on the cake!
Slowing things down, “ECHO OF GRACE”, written by Matthew Lawson, offers hope of forgiveness and redemption, and is a highlight of the recording before the tempo kicks back up for “WHEN GOD’S DONE DOIN’”.
“SET APART”, written by Sandy Blythe, slows things back down and is a wonderful song of consecration before Jeff moves on to the Rusty Goodman classic, “WHO AM I?” and does a fantastic job on the song.
The legendary, Ray Dean Reece from the Kingsmen, joins Jeff on the upbeat, “NO BETTER TIME” before things slow down for the power ballad, “WITHOUT THE CROSS”. Originally recorded by the Greenes in 2006, before Jeff came to the group, it’s a powerhouse arrangement that really shows off Jeff’s range and power, and the step out lines by TaRanda and Mike make the song even better. It’s my personal favorite from the recording and it’s definitely “repeat button” worthy!
Closing out the recording is a live recording of Jeff at his church, Valley Forge FWB Church with the Valley Forge Praise Choir singing the Dad Speer classic, “THE DEAREST FRIEND I EVER HAD”. The song and testimony Jeff shares in the song is a fitting closing to an excellent recording.
Keep the Faith is a first-rate production with excellent tracks and vocals and filled with lyrically strong songs. I love how at times the BVGs stay in the background, but at times they also take prominence, which provides a rich, full sound. The pace of the recording doesn’t drag, as the songs are paced well, and the recording is well-balanced between slow, fast and medium tempo songs. I find a lot to enjoy while listening to this and I challenge everyone to give it listen. Many of you may remember Jeff from his time with various groups and maybe you haven’t kept up with his whereabouts…well, it’s time to keep the faith and reacquaint yourself!
(stars denote personal favorites)
Keep the Faith
At the Mention of Your Name
He’ll Find a Way
We’re Not Defeated**
Echo of Grace**
When God’s Done Doin’**
Who am I?**
No Better Time
Without the Cross**
The Dearest Friend I Ever Had (Bonus Live Cut)