Life – Shepherds

shepherds2013life250GRADE:  C

  • Album – Life
  • Artist – Shepherds
  • Label – Dove Music
  • Style – Progressive, Country
  • Release Date – 01/22/13
  • Available For Digital Download? – Yes (iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody)

SYNOPSIS:

It all started with a top ten song in 1990 to launch the career of the Shepherds.  That song; “There’s A Miracle In The Making”.  Traveling full-time since the early 1990’s, the Shepherds have had a consistent vocal line-up since hitting the road.

The group in 2013 is composed of Quint Shepherd (bass guitar) and his wife Debra (vocals).  Son Jonathan (drums) and twin daughter Haley (harmony vocals) and Hope (harmony vocals) along with Debra’s sister Sheri Haynes (vocals) complete the group.  The group uses a mixture of live music and tracks in their concert performances.

The first official album review of 2013 is Life by the Shepherds, which has been available since January 22nd.  Life is a good mixture of progressive Southern Gospel music with a touch of country.  The sound doesn’t stray far from what the Shepherds have provided the listening audience in the past.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Life is built around Debra Shepherd.  Not only did she write every song on the recording, but she is the featured vocalist on eight of the ten songs.
  • The stand out track on Life is the title track.  Debra delivers her composition with conviction and sincerity.  This song is an easy choice for radio single possibilities.  “Life Can Be Hard, Sometimes Unfair, But There’s Always God”.
  • It was good hearing two classic Shepherd covers.  The stand out is their cover of Debra’s classic, “He’s Still In Business”.  Many listeners may remember the Hoppers cut of this song on their 1990 album, On These Grounds.  The Shepherds treatment of the song is worth a listen.  A little campmeeting breaks out by the end of the song.
  • Another campmeeting, running the aisles, tune is the classic chorus “Hallelujah”.  This is a concert favorite and Sheri brings that excitement out on the recording.
  • The album is paced well.  It is got a great mix of up tempo, medium tempo and slow tempo songs that make for an enjoyable listening experience.
  • Strongest songs included in order:  “Life”, “He’s Still In Business”, “A Better Day”, “Live A Little” and “Hallelujah”.
DISLIKES:
  • Life takes a step back from previous Shepherd albums in regards to vocal variation.  With Debra taking the lead on eight of the ten songs, Life sounds more like a solo recording with the other members just adding harmony vocals.  I’ll have to take some points off for that.
  • Vocalist John Lanier had a hit single with Debra’s song “Only The Holy Shall Enter In” in the mid 1990’s.  The Shepherds cover of the song on Life didn’t quite stand up to the definitive version.
  • Weakest songs included in order:  “Only The Holy”, “Oh David” and “You’re Looking At One”.

WRAP UP:

I am sure the Shepherds are probably new to many current Southern Gospel listeners, even though they have been recording Southern Gospel music for the last twenty years.  I don’t know if Life offers enough to bring any new fans.  If you are familiar with the music of the Shepherds, you’ll enjoy what this new album has to offer.

SONG/Featured Vocalist – SONGWRITER:  1. “Oh David”/Debra – Debra Shepherd  2. “Life”/Debra – Debra Shepherd  3. “He’s Still In Business”/Debra – Debra Shepherd  4. “Live A Little”/Sheri – Debra Shepherd  5. “Cast All Your Cares”/Debra – Debra Shepherd  6. “Hallelujah”/Sheri – PD  7. “You’re Looking At One”/Debra – Debra Shepherd  8. “A Better Day”/Debra – Debra Shepherd  9. “Only The Holy”/Debra – Debra Shepherd  10. “Last Days”/Debra – Debra Shepherd

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