This ‘must buy or not’ feature will introduce readers/listeners to new artist, Johnson Edition. Johnson Edition is a mixed family group, composed of four siblings; Breayn (age 29), Jathyn (25), Westyn (24) and Destiny (22).
This Life is the debut album for Johnson Edition. The group recorded with Crossroads music and released this effort under the Skyland Records label. The listener can pick up upon first listen to the recording the progressive Southern Gospel style Johnson Edition provides. It doesn’t take long to figure out the group’s influences include Avalon, Gaither Vocal Band, Isaacs and Martins.
Song list: (1) “This Life” – Rebecca Peck, Scott Rogers (2) “I’m Just Getting Started” – Jessica Harrison, Leah Lowrance (3) “Consider The Lilies” – Joel Hemphill (4) “More Love And Compassion” – Barbi Franklin, Terry Franklin (5) “Shine On” – Jay DeMarcus, Gary Levox, Joe Don Rooney (6) “Pray Through Me” – Jim Davis, Rick Simpson (7) “Live My Life For You” – Leah Lowrance (8) “Life Is Precious” – Wesley Ivan King (9) “I Survived” – Jimmy Dooley (10) “You Can Start All Over Again” – Craig Michael Aven, Buddy Mullins (11) “The Prize” – Jay Boyce
- I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed this debut effort from Johnson Edition. I can only imagine how great this group is going to sound when they have a couple of years under their belt.
- The stand out track is the Jimmy Dooley penned tune, “I Survived”. One of the brothers takes the lead on this song that has a nice modern country sound.
- I love when a new mixed group honors the legacy of mixed groups that have gone before. Johnson Edition covers the Joel Hemphill classic, “Consider The Lilies”. This is one of Joel’s greatest compositions. It was great hearing it again.
- The first radio single, “Shine On” (penned by members of Rascal Flatts) is a great introduction for the group. This song should get a fair amount of airplay. It is a great balance of Southern Gospel and country sounds.
- Other songs that deserve a listen is “Life Is Precious”, “More Love And Compassion” and “This Life”.
DAVID BRUCE MURRAY
- The CD’s title song and first track, “This Life,” is in a style Johnson Edition should focus on for future recordings. Layered textures on the verses build anticipation for the rhythm that kicks in on the chorus. It’s a solid production, and the arrangement fits their vocal style.
- “More Love And Compassion” features some intricate harmony parts. The more I listened to what was going on behind the melody, the more I enjoyed this particular song.
- Although I prefer Wes King’s original version of “Life Is Precious,” it was still fun to re-visit the song with Johnson Edition.
- If you read my individual reviews, you know I always list the featured vocalist in the song list. With a new group like Johnson Edition and not being introduced to their music until now, I would’ve liked for the album credits to list the featured vocalist on each song. I like to know who is singing each song. I want to give credit where credit is due.
- Several selections may be a bit MOR than what some Southern Gospel listeners will enjoy. There were two songs in particular; “The Prize” and “You Can Start All Over Again”.
DAVID BRUCE MURRAY
- The fiddle, guitar and banjo over a percussion loop on “I Survived” doesn’t quite fit the style of the lead vocal. This song was begging for some big electric guitar power chords toward the end.
- Considering all the songs on This Life, the harmony sections are generally much more impressive than the solos. It would appear that a greater focus was placed on precision (getting the harmonies right) than passion (selling the message of the lyric).
- YES – For a debut album and nothing to compare it to in terms of Johnson Edition’s body of work, I will have to give it a yes. While the listener hears room for growth, the listener also can’t deny the strength (in terms of song selection, production and arranging) of This Life. Do yourself a favor and introduce yourself to Johnson Edition because I believe they have a bright future ahead of them.
DAVID BRUCE MURRAY
- NO – This is a well-made CD overall, but most of the songs didn’t hold my attention for long. Choruses are more impressive than verses. I agree with Steve that this group has a great deal of potential, but This Life isn’t one I’d feel compelled to buy.