Southern Gospel Views from the Back Row (Steve Eaton) and Musicscribe (David Bruce Murray) join forces 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 edition of the ‘must buy or not’ feature is the new album by the Old Paths. The first collaboration with Crossroads, Right Now hit retail on Tuesday (04/17/12). For those being introduced to the Old Paths, the current group is composed of Jeremy Peace (tenor), Tim Rackley (lead), Doug Roark (baritone) and Daniel Ashmore (bass).
Song list: (1) “Battle Stand” – Rodney Birch (2) “He’s My Song” – Ray Scarbrough (3) “Woke Up This Morning” – John Darin Rowsey (4) “Everlasting Yes” – Kyla Rowland/Daryl Williams (5) “I Know My God Can Do It” – Jeff Gibson (6) “I’m Saved” – Ray Scarbrough (7) “When It All Starts Happening” – Ronny Hinson (8) “The Blood On My Hands” – Ben Storie/Daryl Williams (9) “God’s Great” – Sandy Knight (10) “Right Now” – JC White
- Jeremy Peace. After turning in a power house performance on the last album with “I Of The Storm”, Jeremy has another strong feature on Right Now with “He’s My Song”. Another ballad that would make a strong radio single choice.
- A pleasant surprise in hearing the title of the album came from a song penned by JC White for the traditional gospel community. I know this song from Judy Jacobs, even though others in the traditional gospel community have recorded it. “Right Now” was a great up tempo closing song on the album.
- Using two songs from an album I chose as one of the top twenty albums of 2011; the Roy Knight Singers Staying The Course. In that review I mentioned in most instances it would be other groups that bring Sandy Knight and Rodney Birch’s songs to the Southern Gospel listening audience. Old Paths give the listener “Battle Stand” and “God’s Great”. While I still prefer the Roy Knight Singers renditions of both, the Old Paths still turn in great performances.
- Also hearing a throw back to Heaven Bound. Southern Gospel’s biggest trio of the 1980’s is mostly forgotten by today’s listening audience. “I Know My God Can Do It” was a great addition to Right Now. In Heaven Bound tradition, the song deserved a turn around though.
- The title track is the energetic highlight of Right Now. This rollicking track is saved for last, but I wouldn’t have minded hearing it right up front.
- “I Know My God Can Do It” is another upbeat track that stood out. After a couple of listens, the hook stayed with me.
- Jeremy Peace is quite expressive on his two ballads: “He’s My Song” and “The Blood Is On My Hand.” He also effectively “saves” “I’m Saved.” That song is rather boring before Peace takes the melody.
- With the Old Paths being a quartet again, it would have been nice to have another feature from new bass vocalist Daniel Ashmore. He does turn a solid performance on the often recorded “Woke Up This Morning”. I have versions of this song by the Bishops, Talley Trio and Whisnants that I am able to recollect.
- The amount of cover songs on this album. Most listeners would find the songs on Right Now new. I counted at least eight songs that had been previously recorded by other artists. In addition to the five songs already mentioned, the Wilburns recorded “I’m Saved”, Mercy’s Mark recorded “When It All Starts Happening” and the Skyline Boys recorded “Blood On My Hands”. The Old Paths at least made the songs their own which can be tough when doing so many cover songs.
- I’d have enjoyed “God’s Great” if the arrangement had been pumped up like some of the other tracks on Right Now. Instead, it strolls along at a leisurely pace. On its own, the lyric is too simplistic to sustain my interest.
- Jeremy Peace sings with empathy on his ballads as I mentioned above, but the other three singers don’t match his tone with their harmonies. A tender ending on “He’s My Song” would have been a nice touch.
- The upbeat tracks tend to be busy with thick middle frequencies in the instruments sometimes competing with the vocalists, instrumental fills overlapping lyrics, and so forth.
- YES – Right Now was not the best quartet album I’ve heard this year but it is strong enough to deserve a listen by fans of good Southern Gospel quartet music.
- NO – I’d download “I Know My God Can Do It,” “Right Now,” and “The Blood On My Hands,” and maybe a couple more, but I’d be skipping several tracks if I bought the entire CD.