- Creativity/Originality = 8
- Lyrical Content = 8
- Production = 8
- Song Selection = 7.5
- My Recommendation = 7.65 (10 song average)
Let me go ahead and say this is not your ‘grandpa’s’ Palmetto State Quartet. A name that has a nearly 65 year history within Southern Gospel music, the Palmetto State Quartet name was synonymous with classic quartet music. When current bass singer, Larry Strickland purchased the group in 2009, the sound of Palmetto State Quartet has transformed into a country vocal quartet (the lyric is all Gospel).
I am not surprised by that move considering Larry’s ties to Country music. Being the husband of country legend Naomi Judd could be an influence in your own music. Palmetto State Quartet have also recently toured, singing back-up, with Wynonna. The current group configuration is Robert Fulton (Tenor), Paul Lancaster (Lead), David Darst (Baritone) and Larry Strickland (Bass).
Recording for Mansion Entertainment, Palmetto State Quartet’s album Grace released to retail on 02/11/11.
Baritone David Darst’s straight ahead country vocals really suit the group’s new sound. He shines on this recording. Right out of the gate is the ‘hard driving’ country flavored “All Hail The Power” (not the classic hymn you might be familiar with). David also has the lead on two of the best songs on the entire album. “Don’t That Sound Like Heaven” (penned by Terry Evans) and “The Debt Has Been Paid” (Justin Herod) are complimented by classic country melodies and David’s vocal interpretation of both songs only enhance the message.
Paul Lancaster has been a utility player of sorts in Southern Gospel, being with various artists over the course of his career. My first recollection of Paul was with the Mullins back in the early ’90s. His vocal is a perfect fit with Palmetto State’s current sound. He turns in one of the finest performances on the recording with his interpretation of “A Moment Of Grace” (Joe Gordon). This song would be a good choice for Southern Gospel radio. Paul has another ballad that compliments the former song, this song titled “There’s No Place Too Far From Grace”.
Palmetto State Quartet didn’t totally abandon Southern Gospel quartet music. The first single from the recording, “There’ll Be No Dying” (Margie Sullivan) is out of the up tempo Southern Gospel playbook. “Holy Ghost Revival” (Marc Harris, Leslie Satcher) also follows that same mold.
The only song that didn’t fit with the rest of the music presented on Grace was a cover of the Christmas tune “Go Tell It On The Mountain”. Outside of that one mis-step, I enjoyed the new music presented by Palmetto State Quartet on Grace. I look forward to see where they take this new sound.
SONG LIST: 1. “All Hail The Power” 2. “Walk This Way” 3. “Don’t That Sound Like Heaven” 4. “There’s No Place Too Far From Grace” 5. “There’ll Be No Dying” 6. “The Debt Has Been Paid” 7. “Holy Ghost Revival” 8. “A Moment Of Grace” 9. “Unto The Least Of These” 10. “Go Tell It On The Mountain”