- Album – The Pastor
- Artist – Crystal River
- Label – BSA World Records
- Style – Country, Blues
- Release Date – 02/28/12
- Available For Digital Download? – Yes (iTunes, Rhapsody)
The Pastor is the third album release for the male trio known as Crystal River. Made up of group members Tony Churchill (lead), Ben Mooney (tenor) and Randy Gober (baritone), Crystal River is a mix of styles mainly made up of ‘hard driving’ country songs with some blues thrown in for variety.
The group does have strong harmony moments that gives the listener just enough Southern Gospel overtones to make this an enjoyable listen.
- Unique: I enjoy artists who don’t sound like anyone else. Crystal River have a unique sound/style that is truly their own. That is not always an easy task in Southern Gospel music.
- Tony Churchill: Tony is definitely the vocal star of the show. He is featured on 7 of the 11 songs. While an oddity in Southern Gospel, it is not so in country music. With Crystal River having a country-style to their music I can understand the dominant lead vocalist creating the sound of the entire group.
- “Reason For The Rain” is the stand out track on The Pastor. I believe this is the best in terms of radio single possibilities. A great story in song and Tony turns in a great vocal performance.
- Tenor Ben Mooney is not left out, as he turns in a great vocal on “I Pray For Them”.
- Strongest songs included in order: “Reason For The Rain”, “His Love Amazes Me”, “I Pray For Them”, “If You Look Real Close”, “Armed And Dangerous” and “Borrowed Time”.
- One songwriter(s) dominating the entire album. Not only does the group need to add variety in arrangements/vocals, but an album should also have variety in songwriters. You listen to Southern Gospel long enough, you can identify the best songwriters compositions. When that writer contributes every song on a recording, the listener is no longer surprised by what they are going to hear by the time they get to the end of the recording.
- As a result of songwriter domination on The Pastor, I would classify song selection as the biggest weakness.
- Weakest songs included in order: “Mothers, Pray For Your Children”, “Did John C U”, “Same Kind Of Different” and “Always Been Angels”.
The Pastor is another one of those albums in 2012 where half is really good and the other half is mediocre. I have all three albums released by this version of Crystal River and The Pastor probably ranks lowest of those three. It is not a bad recording, it just doesn’t match the strength of the previous two efforts. I look forward to see what Crystal River has to offer the listener on their next album.
SONG/Featured Vocalist – SONGWRITER: 1. “The Pastor”/Tony – Glenn Ashworth; Glen Bates 2. “Reason For The Rain”/Tony – Glenn Ashworth; Glen Bates 3. “Always Been Angels”/Tony – Glenn Ashworth; Glen Bates 4. “I Pray For Them”/Ben – Glenn Ashworth; Glen Bates 5. “Did John C U”/Tony – Glenn Ashworth; Glen Bates 6. “If You Look Real Close”/Tony – Glen Bates 7. “Same Kind Of Different”/Tony – Glenn Ashworth; Glen Bates 8. “Armed And Dangerous”/Tony – Glenn Ashworth; Glen Bates 9. “Borrowed Time”/Randy – Glenn Ashworth; Glen Bates 10. “His Love Amazes Me”/Ensemble, Ben – Glen Bates 11. “Mothers, Pray For Your Children”/Ben – Glenn Ashworth; Glen Bates