- Creativity/Originality = 7.5
- Lyrical Content = 9
- Production = 8
- Song Selection = 8
- My Recommendation = 7.65 (10 song average)
2011 is already shaping up to be a good year, at least if this first album review is any indication. The first new release of the new year comes from the reigning Singing News fan award winner for horizon group of the year; Soul’d Out Quartet. Worth Every Mile just hit online retail outlets. Consider this the first of many album reviews in 2011. I plan to give at least one album review a week for the entire year.
Current line-up of the group is composed of Dusty Barrett (Tenor), Matt Rankin (Lead), Tanner Stahl (Baritone), Matt Fouch (Bass) and Michael Howard (Pianist). The group has done what they need to do to accomplish that horizon group win. Now it is time to build on that and take themselves to the next level within the Southern Gospel music industry. Worth Every Mile is a step in that direction.
The recording kicks off with two of the best songs of this group’s career. Soul’d Out Quartet took a note from the progressive playbook with “I Will Run This Race” and “Through The Blood”. Both would be great choices for singles to radio in 2011. Soul’d Out Quartet is still looking for that break through radio song.
Tenor Dusty Barrett is given the chance to shine on Worth Every Mile. Not only is he featured on “I Will Run This Race”, but his vocal talents can also be heard on the jazz infused “Doing Things God’s Way” and the traditional Southern Gospel ballad, “It Was Worth It” (another great single choice). His harmony singing on this recording, especially at the end of “Through The Blood”, adds that extra punch that separates this recording from all previous recordings by Soul’d Out Quartet.
One of my favorite songs from the group’s previous recording, Blessed, was the song “On My Way Home”. Featuring pianist Michael Howard on the bluegrass style number was a great addition to that recording. Michael is given the chance to sing again on Worth Every Mile, this time with what sounds like a ukulele. Taking the traditional hymns “Leaning On The Everlasting Arms” and “Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus” and adding a Tiny Tim style ukulele melody makes for an interesting addition to the recording.
Lead singer and writer of most of the group’s material, Matt Rankin, is featured on the second verse of the powerful “Through The Blood”. Matt also turns in a solid performance of the bluegrass themed, “When I Pray”.
The one downside to this recording is the lack of features for bass singer Matt Fouch. One of the top young bass singers in the Southern Gospel music industry. Matt is featured on “God’s Perfect Plan” and the second verse of “Found To Reach The Lost”. There is a nice play on words with “Found To Reach The Lost”. There are quite a few songs that talk about being lost and then found. I like how that concept is taken and switched to say ‘I’ve been found to reach the lost.’
If you’ve never been introduced to Soul’d Out Quartet’s music, there is no better time to start than with Worth Every Mile. The best way to start the new year is release the best recording of your career thus far. That is exactly what Soul’d Out Quartet has done with Worth Every Mile. While there is still room for growth, as is the case with any young group, this recording is a great step in that direction.
SONG LIST: 1. “I Will Run This Race” 2. “Through The Blood” 3. “God’s Perfect Plan” 4. “Doing Things God’s Way” 5. “When I Pray” 6. “It Was Worth It” 7. “Found To Reach The Lost” 8. “Leaning/Tis So Sweet” 9. “I Am Thine O Lord” 10. “I Want To Make A Difference”