Strength – Ball Brothers

GRADE:  B-

  • Album – Strength
  • Artist – Ball Brothers
  • Label – Custom
  • Style – Progressive, Pop
  • Release Date – 10/30/12
  • Available For Digital Download? – Yes (iTunes, Amazon)

SYNOPSIS:

The countdown of the twenty best albums released in 2012 will begin December 3rd.  Over the next two weeks I will complete my final reviews of the year.  This week finds the new album from the Ball Brothers.

Strength has been available for about three weeks.  The Ball Brothers expand on their progressive Southern Gospel sound and move even further in to a light pop sound with Strength.

The current vocal line-up of the Ball Brothers is composed of Andrew Ball (tenor), Daniel Ball (lead), Andy Tharp (baritone/2nd lead) and Chad McCloskey (2nd baritone/harmony vocals).

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • The album opens to a nice progressive up tempo number, “There Is Hope”.  This ensemble number allow each member to shine on the song.  This would make a good choice for radio single.
  • Vocalist Andy Tharp is given a strong lead on “Not Anymore”.  This ballad is one of the strongest songs in terms of lyric on the album.  Andy also turns in a nice performance on “All I Have To Be”.
  • Brothers Daniel and Andrew are given a chance to shine on the ballad, “Walk With Me”.  A fitting song about brothers standing by one another’s side.
  • Tenor Andrew Ball gives a strong performance on the closing track “To Ever Live Without Me”.
  • Strongest songs included in order:  “Not Anymore”, “There Is Hope”, “Walk With Me”, “What If”, “To Ever Live Without Me” and “All I Have To Be”.
DISLIKES:
  • The progressive and even pop musical undertones heard on Strength may distance some Southern Gospel listeners.  I consider this the most progressive album to date for the Ball Brothers.
  • The Ball Brothers are unique in that they are not a true 4-part harmony Southern Gospel quartet even though they have four vocal members.  Andy alternates between lead and baritone while Chad adds harmony vocals while also singing baritone.  Southern Gospel quartet lovers will not get quartet arrangements with the Ball Brothers on Strength.
  • The pop treatment given to “I Smile” and “Eyes On You” builds on the group’s progressive sound but I found the songs to be filler.
  • Weakest songs included in order:  “I Smile” and “Eyes On You”.

WRAP UP:

The Ball Brothers may have distanced themselves from the core Southern Gospel listening audience with the release of Strength.  The group did not have any mis-steps in the production and vocal quality of Strength, in fact this may be the best sounding Ball Brothers album to date; but will it be too progressive?  There is a lot to like about this new album and there will be several strong selections for radio single possibilities to Southern Gospel radio.  This reviewer believes the group’s previous album, Breakthrough, was stronger and actually more versatile in terms of style.

SONG/Featured Vocalist – SONGWRITER:  1. “There Is Hope”/Ensemble; Andy Tharp; Daniel Ball  2. “All I Have To Be”/Andy Tharp  3. “I Smile”/Ensemble – Rebecca Peck, Kenna Turner West  4. “Walk With Me”/Daniel Ball; Andy Tharp; Andrew Ball  5. “Eyes On You”/Ensemble  6. “Not Anymore”/Andy Tharp – Joseph Habedank, Matthew Holt  7. “You Love Me Anyway”/Andrew Ball – Marty Funderburk, Patsy Hawkins  8. “What If”/Daniel Ball  9. “Over The Horizon”/Daniel Ball  10. “To Ever Live Without Me”/Andrew Ball – Joseph Beck, Chad Chapin, Blake Smith, Brian White

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