- Album – Count Me In
- Artist – Hoppers
- Label – Springhill Music Group
- Style – Traditional, Progressive
- Release Date – 10/22/12
- Available For Digital Download? – Yes (on release date)
The Hoppers celebrate their 55th anniversary by releasing a new album, Count Me In. While there is not as much fan fare as was the case during their 50th anniversary (and their release that year; The Ride), the group continues to release music that is fresh.
Count Me In takes a fresh approach in that the Hoppers scale back on their recent formula of big orchestrated ballads and soaring tracks. Instead, producer Michael Sykes (along with Mike and Kim) take the listener back to a time period in the Hoppers history where they were rising to prominence in the Southern Gospel industry.
For all those around in the early ’90’s when the Hoppers were becoming the force they are now, Count Me In is reminiscent to those great Hopper albums of the early ’90’s. Count Me In is available now through the group, but will not be available at retail until October 22nd, 2012.
- Where do I start? As already mentioned, what separates this album from the last several the group has released is the scaled back approach on the orchestration and soaring tracks. It brought back all sorts of memories of the Hoppers in the early ’90’s. That was a great time period for the group.
- I can’t pick out a stand out track because there are several that made me hit repeat. The Jean Canter classic “I’ll Take You Home”, with Connie taking the lead on the second verse had classic Hoppers written all over it. This is going to be a great live concert song.
- Kim turns in another stellar performance on “He Didn’t Just Carry The Cross He Carried Me”. Without the over orchestrated track, this really allows the vocal to be the focal point of the entire song.
- Another concert favorite will be the current radio single, “Count Me In”. A true Ronny Hinson lyric and up tempo song that would have fit in on any Hinson album.
- I can’t leave this review and not mention the group’s performance (more importantly Connie’s performance) of the Larry Norman classic “I Wish We’d All Been Ready”. For anyone that has been around this music (or its history) for any length of time will remember this song from the Oak Ridge Boys 1971 album Performance. Why has it taken this long for a group to cover this song? A great closing track to Count Me In.
- Strongest songs included in order: “I’ll Worship Only At The Feet Of Jesus”, “I’ll Take You Home”, “He Didn’t Just Carry The Cross He Carried Me”, “I Wish We’d All Been Ready”, “That’s What I Love About Him”, “Count Me In” and “I Am Whatever You Need”.
- The placement of “I Will Serve Thee” on the recording. While there is nothing wrong with the performance, the group recorded this particular song on the Best Of The Hoppers recording two years ago. They could have used that placement for another new song.
- For those listeners who are expecting the big orchestration of the last several recordings may not enjoy this album because of the scaled back approach. Give it a chance.
- Weakest songs included in order: “If I Can Help Somebody” and “I Will Serve Thee”.
I have hammered home the point that 2012 has been the year of the mediocre Southern Gospel recording. While there have been some good albums, there has only been a few great albums released so far this year. If the release of Count Me In is a sign that the last quarter of 2012 will bring the best albums of 2012, bring it on! Do yourself a favor, pick up the Hoppers Count Me In. You don’t want to miss out on what will be one of the best album releases of 2012.
SONG/FEATURED VOCALIST – SONGWRITER: 1. “Mighty Is The Word”/Ensemble – Shannon Childress/Robert Griffith 2. “That’s What I Love About Him”/Ensemble; Dean – Joseph Habedank 3. “I’ll Take You Home”/Ensemble; Connie – Jean Canter 4. “He Didn’t Just Carry The Cross He Carried Me”/Kim – Matthew Garinger/Joel Lindsey 5. “I Just Feel Like Something Good Is About To Happen”/Dean; Kim – William Gaither 6. “If I Can Help Somebody”/Claude – Alma Androzzo 7. “Count Me In”/Dean – Ronny Hinson 8. “I’ll Worship Only At The Feet Of Jesus”/Kim; Connie; Dean – Gloria Gaither/William Gaither/JD Miller 9. “I Am Whatever You Need”/Dean; Kim – Terry Wilkins 10. “I Will Serve Thee”/Ensemble – Gloria Gaither/William Gaither 11. “I Wish We’d All Been Ready”/Connie – Larry Norman