Their soaring melodies and rich harmonies have helped define the sound of contemporary Christian music for more than three decades, so it’s easy to understand why Point of Grace’s Shelley Breen, Denise Jones and Leigh Cappillino found both comfort and joy in recording their long-awaited new Fervent Records set, Turn Your Eyes (Songs We Love, Songs You Know) Volume II. Reimagining some of the genre’s most iconic songs was a worthy indulgence in and of itself for the Platinum-selling, Grammy-nominated group, yet the impetus for the album ran far deeper than sheer nostalgia.
With 10 best-selling studio recordings, four Christmas albums and such hit songs as “How You Live (Turn Up The Music),” “Keep the Candle Burning,” “Circle of Friends” and “Jesus Will Still Be There” to their credit, Point of Grace is one of the Top 10 bestselling groups in Christian music history to date. Inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame in 2018, the group founded the groundbreaking Girls of Grace conference; they appear regularly on the historic Grand Ole Opry; and they have authored multiple books, among numerous other distinctions.
Selecting songs for Turn Your Eyes—Point of Grace’s first full-length set in four years—was cathartic for the trio in the wake of a difficult season of personal loss and the ever-increasing troubles of the world at large. Guided at the production helm by their dear friend, Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Cindy Morgan, Point of Grace delivers signature new arrangements of eight beloved classics and two original selections. Modern favorites like “Way Maker” and Amy Grant’s wistful 1997 ballad “Somewhere Down the Road” are seamlessly interwoven with such timeless, potent hymns as “It Is Well” and “Turn Your Eyes.” Each track, steeped in truth and hope, offered respite for the group.
Following the loss of Denise’s mother and Leigh’s father last year, Point of Grace has leaned more than ever into their faith, music, and friendship. “The hymns gave this album the comfort of home, and home was what I needed,” Leigh shares. Denise adds, “As we found ourselves in this season of life, I craved songs that I already knew, that sang out words of truth over my broken heart.”
“We wanted to make something different, yet true to each song and true to our vocals as a group,” explains Shelley. “I hope our friends and listeners will be uplifted and reminded of how much God cares for us all, giving His Word that is alive and active and helping us to live lives of freedom.”
If hymns are the beautiful ties that bind, the album’s originals and reimagined favorites are shimmering threads of adornment. Newly penned by Cindy and Point of Grace, “At The Table” opens the set, carrying a timely reminder that all are precious in His sight.
“I think most of us would agree that we are more divided than ever as a country,” Shelley says. “Our goal for this song was simply to say, ‘It is possible to love everyone, pull up a seat to the table for everyone, and not compromise your own belief system. It’s not always easy, but it can start at the table.”
While a reverence for the rich history of Christian music runs throughout Turn Your Eyes, it’s perhaps best embodied in a stirring new rendition of Rich Mullins’ iconic “Awesome God.” “I think all three of us would agree that ‘Awesome God’ has soundtracked many seasons of our lives, from youth camps to college and beyond—it’s just one of those songs that’s timeless,” shares Leigh.
“Rich’s music and his thoughts on God challenged the Bible Belt bubble I was living in,” adds Denise. “Jesus loved rowdy folks—people who were rough around the edges—and so did Rich. He inspired me to rethink, ‘Who is my neighbor?’ and ‘How do I love them well?’”
Recorded more than 25 years after Mullins’ untimely death, Point of Grace’s impassioned revival of “Awesome God” is highlighted by a spoken word interlude from Mullins and culminates with a live recording of the beloved chorus, sung by the audience at a Point of Grace concert in Ocean City, New Jersey, last year.
Marrying such distinct elements—studio vocals, spoken word and a live recording—into one cohesive track speaks volumes of Cindy’s production prowess, as well as Point of Grace’s implicit trust in her creative process. “Cindy understands us, and she’s also living through the same stages of life that we are,” Leigh explains. “She truly stretched the musician in each one of us, and I think that’s evident to the listener.”
A cover of Wes King’s 1993 hit “I Believe” is yet another album standout. Featuring backing vocals from the original artist and songwriter himself, the vibrant pop reinterpretation showcases Point of Grace’s unparalleled harmonies. “All of us loved ‘I Believe’ when it first released, and we are huge fans of Wes’s artistry, so it felt natural to include this song on the album,” shares Shelley. “The challenges of this season have again and again found us holding tightly to God’s Word for dear life, and the lyrics of ‘I Believe’ echo the Bible’s promises so perfectly.”
The title-cut and project centerpiece, “Turn Your Eyes” showcases both revered tradition and striking freshness with natural ease. “Cindy added the chorus, ‘For the hope that will heal, that will free us and help us to live,’ as a beautiful reminder of our hope in Him,” explains Shelley of the hymn’s thoughtful new addendum.
“As I have grown in the understanding of my time on Earth versus my time in eternity, God has sweetly shifted my perspective about what really matters,” Shelley continues. “If our eyes are truly fixed on Jesus, He has a way of pointing out what’s valuable and what’s not. ‘The things of Earth will grow strangely dim,’ just as the song says.”
Seasoned with the wisdom of experience and filled with timely new mercies for the journey ahead, Turn Your Eyes (Songs We Love, Songs You Know) Volume II finds Shelley, Denise and Leigh not just pausing to honor the past, but joyfully celebrating a Savior whose faithfulness remains unwavering every step of the way.
“In the middle uncertainty, grief, confusion and loss over the past few years, it is Jesus who has remained our center—the place we find rest, security and hope,” concludes Denise. “Keeping our eyes on Him is the only way to find our footing in a world that seems upside down.”