Some People Change – Michael English

michaelenglish2013change250GRADE:  A-

  • Album – Some People Change
  • Artist – Michael English
  • Label – Curb Records
  • Style – Progressive, Modern Country, Blues
  • Release Date – 03/26/13
  • Available For Digital Download? – Yes (iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody)

SYNOPSIS:

Michael English, Some People Change, made its way to retail on 03/26/13.  This is the first English solo recording since the 2008 album, The Prodigal Comes Home.

Michael English creates an album that Southern Gospel listeners will enjoy.  The styles covered on Some People Change run from progressive Southern Gospel to modern country to blues to pop.

Russ Taff, Crystal Lewis, Wes Hampton, Mark Lowry, David Phelps and the Martins lend their background vocals on several selections.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Michael English continues his recording career with Curb Records with the release of Some People Change.  Edit:  Jay DeMarcus along with Benjy and Bill Gaither (“I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”) produced this new effort for English.
  • The stand out track is a song sung with conviction, “Stubborn”.  This song conveys a feeling that I believe every one of us has felt at some point in our lives.  By the time the song is finished you believe, as a listener, that Michael has also lived the song.
  • The pop infused “Waking Up The Dawn” was another stand out.  The varying styles found on Some People Change make this one of the best albums I’ve heard in a long time in regards to pacing.  When I got through listening I was surprised that I just listened to a solo artist recording.
  • Blues artist Jonny Lang lent his songwriting talents on the song, “On That Great Day”.  Michael’s voice fit these blues style songs to perfection.  Another blues style song, “Come To The River” also deserves a listen.
  • While many listeners will feel a disconnect with English recording the Hank Williams classic, “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” on a Gospel album, I think it was a perfect placement to come after the song “Stubborn”.  Whether that was intended or not, it fit.
  • Strongest songs included in order:  “Stubborn”, “Waking Up The Dawn”, “Come To The River”, “On That Great Day”, “Some People Change” and “I Ain’t Givin Up On Jesus”.
DISLIKES:
  • I think the bigger disconnect may come with the recording of the pop song, “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)”.  This was a pop hit for Aretha Franklin and George Michael back in the ’80’s.
  • Another English cover of “In Christ Alone” was not needed.  There was no new treatment given to this particular version.
  • Weakest songs included in order:  “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)”, “In Christ Alone” and “I’d Rather Have Jesus”.

WRAP UP:

Some People Change was a surprise for this listener.  I was expecting the normal CCM style solo recordings we got from Michael in the past.  Instead the listener is given a more country flavor, with blues, pop and some progressive Southern Gospel thrown in.  English’s fans should love this recording and there is enough on this album to give the Southern Gospel listener a reason to make a place for this album in their iPod.  I am happy with the caliber of albums I have had a chance to listen/review so far in 2013.  It is shaping up to be a great year for album releases!

SONG (style) – SONGWRITER:  1. “I Ain’t Givin Up On Jesus” (country) – Benjamin Hayslip, Troy Olsen, Jimmy Yeary  2. “Come To The River” w/Russ Taff (blues) – John Lowry, Doug McKelvey  3. “I’d Rather Have Jesus” (progressive SG) – Rhea Miller, George Beverly Shea  4. “Some People Change” (country) – Michael Dulaney, Jason Sellers, Neil Thrasher  5. “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)” w/Crystal Lewis (pop) – Simon Climie, Dennis Morgan  6. “On That Great Day” w/Martins (blues) – Jonny Lang, Drew Ramsey  7. “In Christ Alone” (progressive SG) – Shawn Craig, Don Koch  8. “I Wouldn’t Take Nothing For My Journey Now” w/Hampton, Lowry, Phelps (blues) – Jimmie Davis, Charles Goodman  9. “Waking Up The Dawn” (pop) – Michael Farren, Jennie Lee Riddle  10. “Stubborn” (progressive SG) – Don Schlitz  11. “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” (country) – Hank Williams

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13 thoughts on “Some People Change – Michael English

  1. Jay DeMarcus (Rascal Flatts) produced the album. Bill and Benjy only produced the Hank Williams cover, as it was a bonus track from the film they were involved with musically.

    I’d probably argue that In Christ Alone was a completely different treatment from the original. There is a slight allusion to the original version in the last chorus, but overall it’s in a more subdued and acoustic arrangement.

    I’d also agree with you on Stubborn. It’s an interesting song lyrically and Michael does make it feel like its a song that he’s lived through.

    Great review!

  2. Lee Ann Womack recorded Stubborn years ago. It fits Michael’s story well. I also disagree on the new version of In Christ Alone for the same updated reasons musically. The other version was very current in it’s day. And because as Michael himself shares in concert, this song is true for him now–not so much before if you remember it’s hugeness in the wake of the scandal.

  3. Maybe so, Tad, but that song was on his first CD and the scandal was after the second. Sure, I guess it was a signature song for him, but it had been around a couple of years or so.

  4. I also agree on In Christ Alone. The treatment is very different here. While I certainly loved the original, it was very much in the powerhouse mode that Michael is known for. This new version is sung with much more emotion and vulnerability. It is like the original version was sung as written and directed but this one comes from his life experiences…comes across much more heartfelt and genuine. It’s funny…the songs you listed as your weakest were among my most favorites. No, I have to take that back. In my opinion there is no weak song on this album. Great album from a great artist.

  5. There is a reason I am such a fan…the music touches me and has for many years now. Great to hear him still cranking out such great music after all these years.

    1. I was just picking due to your name. It would be like me raving over a quartet (that I like). 😀 I am a huge Michael English fan and have been one since around 1988. 🙂

  6. Does my being a fan make my opinion some how less valid than someone who is not a fan? What I am asking is am I able to be objective? In my opinion there is nothing wrong with you raving about an artist or group you like. I have learned to like many artists and groups from other’s “ravings”.

    1. I am sorry if my teasing (and trying to explain) has hit a nerve. It was nothing more than a joke about your name. Besides my name about quartet, it would be the same as if my name were So and so stunk would mean that people wouldn’t be surprised if I didn’t like an album by that person or group.

      Yes, sometimes fans can be objective. I can. I am a huge Oak Ridge Boys fan, Cathedrals, Gaither Vocal Band and Michael English in particular, but don’t like everything they have all put out. Of course I am more likely to like things they do since I am a fan of what they have done, but I can be objective. In fact, although I was talking about each, an interesting thing is when some of these have done the same song more than once or more than one artist in this list have done the same song. I prefer the GVB’S version of “Let Freedom Ring” to the Cathedrals (although it is good). I prefer the GVB’s versions of “I’ll Worship Only at the Feet of Jesus” and “I’m Free” to the Cathedrals’. I prefer the Cathedrals version of “Sinner Saved By Grace”. There have been songs that the Oaks have done that buried all others, and there have been a few I didn’t think measured up to others. Michael himself has re-recorded some solo songs and I prefer certain versions to others of his. Even though his version of “I Bowed on My Knees” with the GVB has grown on me it is probably my second favorite still (over his other versions) except to the Singing Americans cut and it might even lose to the Goodmans cut. I would have to re-listen.

      So, to try to explain again, there was no hidden message, no dig, no deeper meaning, no insult intended when I said that, it was a joke because by your name you are obviously an English fan. I didn’t mean to imply that you couldn’t be objective or that you automatically like everything he puts out. However, there is a bigger chance you will like his stuff than someone whose name would be called soloists stink or something like that. 🙂

      1. Oh, and a couple of other things. Even someone who raves about an artist they like are not wrong and can get others to discover them. I can’t tell you how much I bugged some people when I first discovered the Oaks’ music on a bigger scale. lol. Of course people will likely gush or talk about what they like (and some what they don’t like. 😉 ) That is interesting to read and I have tried out artists due to some people really being sold on them.

        Secondly, on the other side (and I am not saying you at all, but am talking in general terms) sometimes fans can’t be objective. I have known some fans of groups who thought they could do no wrong and thought everything they did was great (even groups I dearly love, but would disagree with that statement). Sometimes even take it personally if you disagree and think you are attacking the artist or their motives (even if you dearly love the artist). Again, I am not pointing to you because I haven’t seen your posts enough to make an opinion), but just answering your question about whether a fan is able to be objective. In that case, some can, and some cannot. 🙂

  7. Sorry, guess I was a bit touchy with your response. And yes I did get what you were saying about the names. I agree some fans can be objective and some can’t. I hope I am objective….I want to be objective.

    For the record, I do not like all of ME’s work. Well, that’s a bit strong. Some things have to grow on me and some things I rarely, if ever, listen to…but this particular album does not fit that category. This is one exceptional album and, yes, that is my opinion and I am a fan. Take it for what it’s worth. Let’s move on shall we?

    1. Agreed, I actually pre-ordered this from Michael, himself when he first offered it last year, so I am indeed a fan as well.

  8. I am purchasing this today! Thanks for the review! 🙂
    *and instead of Lila as my “screen name”, it should read “ME#1FAN4EVR”! 🙂
    Blessings!

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