Southern Gospel Views from the Back Row (Steve Eaton) and Musicscribe (David Bruce Murray) are back once again to present the ‘must buy or not’ feature. Highlights and dislikes will be offered along with a definitive yes or no on whether the album is a ‘must buy’.
In this week’s edition of the ‘must buy or not’ feature, we take a look at the new album from the McKameys. Precious Seed hit retail on 06/19/12, even though it has been available via digital download since the beginning of June.
The McKameys offer their tried and true formula of Appalachian style harmonies and simple instrumentation, a formula that has been working for many years. Precious Seed does seem to offer a little more in the way of bluegrass/acoustical flavored instrumentation to compliment the vocals.
Song list: (1) “Bearing Precious Seed” - Rebecca Peck (2) “I Am A Vessel” – Amber Maxwell (3) “Nothing But Grace” – Sheryl Farris (4) “The Blessed Old Book” – Gary Duty (5) “When He Speaks” – Sheryl Farris (6) “Story Untold” – Michael Jason Frost (7) “Unspoken Request” – Steve Chapman (8) “When I Think About Heaven” – Sheryl Farris (9) “Some Morning I Shall Stand” – Michael Jason Frost (10) “The Touch” – Adina Bowman, Joseph Habedank (10) “Finish Well” - Steve Chapman
- The production and arrangements found on Precious Seed make this a really enjoyable recording in the listening department. I enjoyed the more acoustical/bluegrass flavored instrumentation. It really brought out the McKameys vocals in a way I haven’t heard.
- Sheryl Farris is fast becoming a favorite alto vocalist. Her unique, rich alto voice adds a depth to the McKameys sound. It is no surprise her two leads are the strongest cuts on the recording. “I Am A Vessel” and “When He Speaks” both deserve to be heard at radio.
- The convention style “Some Morning I Shall Stand” is the bright up tempo song on Precious Seed. The McKameys prove they can sing a Southern Gospel convention style tune with the best of them.
- It was nice hearing Roger Fortner featured on “Unspoken Request”. I am surprised the group hasn’t utilized his vocal talents before. The closing number, “Finish Well”, is worth a listen. It is a vocal duet with Ruben and Eli.
- Sheryl Farris’ features on “I Am A Vessel” and “When He Speaks” are this CD’s highlights in terms of vocal tone.
- Roger Fortner sings “Unspoken Request,” the most memorable song on Precious Seed. After Farris, Fortner is the second most compelling singer the McKameys have to offer. It’s a shame he’s featured so rarely as a singer.
- Other tracks worth considering on Precious Seeds are “Nothing But Grace,” “Finish Well,” “Bearing Precious Seed” and “Some Morning I Shall Stand.” “Some Morning I Shall Stand” isn’t remarkable in terms of songwriting, but the convention-style arrangement suits the McKameys. I wish they’d record an entire CD of convention music in the future so more fans would appreciate their versatility.
- While half the recording is filled with really great material, the other half is simply so-so. This gives more credence to the argument that maybe Southern Gospel artists should consider going the EP route by releasing recordings of five to six songs every ten months or so instead of ten to twelve song collections every fifteen to eighteen months.
- If your facial muscles tend to tighten at forced rhymes, you’ll want to skip “Story Untold.” The word “bible” does NOT rhyme with “reliable.”
- The McKameys have made steps in the right direction, but Precious Seeds continues their tradition of harsh, throaty vocals. Of course, I realize their hard-core fans expect a certain sound, but uninitiated listeners will note their jarring quality. On a positive note, Sheryl Farris’ blending voice helps smooth out the harmonies.
- A consistent element on most McKameys CDs is quality song-writing, but that isn’t the case here. There are several good songs, but as Steve mentioned, about half of these songs could have stood a rewrite.
- NO – This was only a slight no in that this recording will probably not add any new listeners to the McKameys music. Current fans of the McKameys will love this recording. I did enjoy the more acoustical/bluegrass direction this recording took in terms of arranging/production.
- NO – I can’t recommend the entire CD as a Must Buy. I would definitely download “Unspoken Request” and consider the other songs I mentioned above in the Likes section, but I would avoid the other four tracks.