In this week’s ‘must buy or not’ feature we find the newest album from the Kingsmen; Grace Says. Southern Gospel Views From The Back Row (Steve Eaton) and Musicscribe (David Bruce Murray) combine again to offer you this joint review. Grace Says is expected to land at retail outlets on 07/19/11.
The Kingsmen expand on the more progressive style found on their two previous recordings, When God Ran and Missing People. Throw in a few Southern Gospel quartet standards and Grace Says is complete.
- Harold Reed. Harold picked up a career song on the last recording; “God Saw A Cross”. On Grace Says, Harold turns in another grand performance on “I Knew It Was Him” (Joseph Habedank/Matthew Holt).
- The Habedank/Holt songwriting duo also give the Kingsmen “Back To Grace”. This song kicks off the recording and would make a great radio single.
- Vocally, this is one of the Kingsmen’s strongest efforts. Stylistically the group was all over the map.
- Ordinarily, I gravitate toward faster songs, but the highlight of Grace Says for me is “Loving Shepherd, Gracious God.” This isn’t a pretentious ballad. It’s just a simple lead for Ray Dean Reese on a Psalm 23 based Dianne Wilkinson lyric. This is one of those cuts that sounds so familiar you’ll think you’ve known it a long time. The truth is that it’s a new song.
- Speaking of fast songs, though, my favorite up-tempo cut is “I Can Hardly Wait” featuring Harold Reed. The Kingsmen are known for this type of barn-burner. It’s a song that should bring down the house to its feet at the close of a set.
- “After The Sunrise” drops to a soft chorus before kicking it up a notch…another fun Kingsmen tradition.
- When listening to the album, it is stylistic schizophrenic. There was no clear-cut direction on where the Kingsmen was taking the sound of this recording. From a style perspective I found a song that could’ve been recorded by the Dove Brothers, on another it was Brian Free & Assurance, another was the Gaither Vocal Band, another time it was the Oak Ridge Boys.
- Another cover of “If Not For The Love Of Christ”. Used a similar arrangement to that of the Oak Ridge Boys recording.
- I agree with Steve that the biggest weakness of this CD is that it’s all over the place musically. The Kingsmen are experimenting with a few different styles with the title track, “Ordinary Man,” and “I Knew It Was Him,” but they still feel the need to give audience songs like “After The Sunrise” and new songs arranged in a very traditional style like “Oh, What A Hallelujah Day” and “I Can Hardly Wait.” It’s to the credit of the Kingsmen, though, that in attempting so many different styles, they don’t drop the ball when it comes to the performance quality.
- “Ordinary Man” is a decent enough song, and the Kingsmen vocalists do a great job singing it, but the track didn’t do much for me. It’s trying too hard to sound like an epic movie soundtrack without paying for a real orchestra.
- NO – I wrestled with this decision. I enjoyed this recording and I was so close to calling a yes but the final decision would be a slight no. I prefer variety in my music but I found the varying style differences displayed on Grace Says to disrupt the pace of the recording.
- YES – Hearing “Loving Shepherd, Gracious God” sparked my interest to the point that I’d want to seek this CD out and buy it. The rest of the songs are solid enough that it would be better to buy the whole CD than buy an MP3 download of that one track.