Grateful – Shaffer Band

shaffers2012grateful250GRADE:  B-

  • Album – Grateful
  • Artist – Shaffer Band
  • Label – Willow Creek
  • Style – Modern Country, Progressive
  • Release Date – 07/31/12
  • Available For Digital Download? – Yes (iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody)

SYNOPSIS:

I am always on the look out for talented new artists.  Such is the case with a group out of West Virginia by the name of the Shaffer Band.  The group released their first album in 2000 as the Shaffers.  As the group’s sound shifted to modern country, they would release one album under the name Shaffer and now have settled on the Shaffer Band.

Grateful is another album that I didn’t get around to reviewing in 2012, as it has been available since July 31st, 2012.  I was already familiar with the Shaffer Band as I had the chance to see them at Singing In The Sun in Myrtle Beach SC several years ago.

Grateful is filled with modern country arrangements reminiscent to something one may hear from country artist Lady Antebellum.  The sound of the Shaffer Band is built around lead vocalist Cassie Hymes, while parents David and Trish Shaffer and husband Mike Hymes add harmony vocals.  Another added bonus is the group is a full band as well, adding live music in their live concerts with David playing the keys, Cassie plays bass guitar and Mike plays drums.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • The group garnered a top 40 song on the Singing News chart with current radio single, “He Ain’t The Leavin’ Kind”.  This is the stand out track from Grateful.  Cassie turns in a great country vocal performance on this song that takes a country songwriting approach telling the story of folks suffering loss through someone leaving them, but relays the message that Jesus is not the leaving kind.
  • Another highlight on Grateful is a duet featuring Cassie and Jason Crabb.  The song, “Love Can’t Walk Away” would make a great choice for another radio single.  Another country to the core type song.
  • The opening track, “As It Is In Heaven”, sets the tone for the entire album.  Some ‘hard driving’ modern country instrumentation lets the listener know immediately what they will get from Grateful.
  • Strongest songs included in order:  “He Ain’t The Leavin’ Kind”, “Love Can’t Walk Away”, “Dance In The Rain”, “As It Is In Heaven” and “Beautiful Broken People”.
DISLIKES:
  • With the sound of the Shaffer Band centered around Cassie and her taking the lead on every song, Grateful almost comes off as a solo recording.  That results in lack of vocal variation.
  • Several selections border on praise and worship and those selections caused me to lose focus.  They included “Grateful” and “Waiting Here For You”.
  • This album is not for traditional Southern Gospel listeners.  If you enjoy modern country sounds and enjoy artists like Jason Crabb you should give the Shaffer Band a listen.
  • Weakest songs included in order:  “Waiting Here For You”, “Grateful” and “Listen To My Life”.

WRAP UP:

From a listener who enjoys country (traditional and modern) sounds in their Southern Gospel, I knew I had to give this album a listen.  I was not disappointed.  Grateful is too progressive with its modern country arrangements to appeal to the traditional Southern Gospel listener, but I enjoy an artist who knows who they are, what kind of music they want to create/record and stick with it.  I will keep my ears open for what the Shaffer Band will be offering in the future.

SONG/Featured Vocalist (Cassie on all songs) – SONGWRITER:  1. “As It Is In Heaven” – Carl Cartee, Chad Cates, Tony Wood  2. “Beautiful Broken People” – Billy Montana, Don Poythress, Tony Wood  3. “Listen To My Life” – Scott Krippaehne, Sue C Smith, Tony Wood  4. “Love Can’t Walk Away”/duet with Jason Crabb – Jason Baird, Justin Rivers, Tony Wood  5. “Dance In The Rain” – Christopher Eaton, Don Poythress, Tony Wood  6. “He Ain’t The Leavin’ Kind” – Michael Dulaney, Neil Thrasher  7. “Grateful” – Ian Eskelin, Don Poythress, Tony Wood  8. “You Are My God” – James Rueger, Tony Wood  9. “While We Wait” – Chad Cates, Barry Weeks, Tony Wood  10. “Waiting Here For You” – Jesse Reeves, Martin Smith, Chris Tomlin

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