The highly anticipated Daywind debut for Wilburn & Wilburn is in the hot seat this week. Famed Gold City lead singer Jonathan Wilburn joins forces with his son, Jordan, to create a rarity in Southern Gospel music: a vocal duo.
Family Ties, the duo’s debut Daywind effort, lands at retail on 09/27/11. The father/son duo blends Country, Bluegrass, and even some occasional Blues tones for this new recording.
This eleven song collection contains nine new recordings and two song covers. The covers are “I John” and “Let’s All Go Down To The River”.
Southern Gospel Views from the Back Row (Steve Eaton) and MusicScribe (David Bruce Murray) will determine if this Wilburn & Wilburn debut is a must buy. This collaborative review offers likes and dislikes from the two of us and then gives a definitive yes or no on whether the album is a ‘must buy’.
SOUTHERN GOSPEL VIEWS FROM THE BACK ROW
- The production quality of this recording, especially on the country flavored songs, stand up to most country albums I have heard this year. Hat tip to Ben Isaacs for some absolutely near perfect production work.
- It will not be long before Jordan Wilburn is counted among the best male vocalists in Southern Gospel music. His vocal work on this new recording is flawless.
- Speaking of Jordan, his two features near the beginning of the recording “Jesus Will” and “Devil Be Gone” (Kelly Garner/Dianne Wilkinson) are two of the best recorded songs I have heard this year. Both have bluegrass/country overtones. “Jesus Will” is a medium tempo song while “Devil Be Gone” kicks into high gear. Both of these songs need to be sent to radio.
- Jordan also turns in a great performance of the straight ahead Southern Gospel ballad; “A Cross Became My Saving Grace” (Joseph Habedank/Dianne Wilkinson).
- It seems as though Jordan is getting all the attention but Jonathan still proves why he was such a great lead singer. The album’s opening track “It’s A Shore Thing” is a perfect fit for Jonathan and a great start to the recording.
- “I John” and “I Ain’t Giving Up On Jesus” also deserve a mention. Great!
- I’m always up for a good Bluegrass harmony song. “You’ll Still Be There” is a favorite track for me.
- Ditto for a Blues flavored song. “I Ain’t Giving Up On Jesus” is another highlight.
- As the character in the title song, “Family Ties,” Jonathan Wilburn is singing about a subject who is sharing the stage with him. I don’t know if the song was written specifically for Wilburn & Wilburn, but it fits them perfectly.
- The instrumental interlude of “Devil Be Gone” is my single most favorite moment of the CD. I was disappointed when they came back in to sing the chorus. I could have enjoyed another couple of minutes of instrumental highlights and a fade at the end.
- The only disappointment on this recording was the cover of “Let’s All Go Down To The River”. While it held the cohesiveness of the overall tone of the recording in that country/bluegrass/blues style, the song just didn’t connect with me.
- A tall order for the duo is topping this recording with the next album.
- Songs that vamp with only a rare chord change for three minutes plus do very little for me. “I John” is one of those.
- For a “duo” recording, there’s a surprising scarcity of actual duet arrangements. Most of these songs are mixed as solos with the other chief group member’s vocals buried in the mix with a few other faceless background singers.
- There’s a sappy “Mama” song.
- YES – I listened to this recording a half-dozen times before I started this review. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t being over zealous in my praise of how strong this recording is, but after the sixth listen the recording only got better. This is one of the best albums I have listened to in 2011. Family Ties will be in my iPod rotation for months to come.
- NO – Family Ties is well made and entertaining enough, but it doesn’t top Jonathan Wilburn’s best work with Gold City or blaze any bold new trails. I was looking for a few more musical risks.