The Living Years – Isaacs

isaacs2013livingyearsGRADE:  B+

  • Album – The Living Years
  • Artist – Isaacs
  • Label – Gaither Music Group
  • Style – Traditional, Progressive, Bluegrass, Country
  • Release Date – 08/13/13
  • Available For Digital Download? – Yes (iTunes, Rhapsody)

 

SYNOPSIS:

The Isaacs have successfully created a sound that is distinctly their own.  It melds traditional Southern Gospel and Bluegrass while adding modern country and progressive Southern Gospel sounds in the mix.

2013 brings listeners The Living Years.  Nearly all of this fourteen song collection are song covers.  The range of covers tackle everything from Mike & the Mechanics pop hit “The Living Years” to the Bing Crosby/Andrew Sisters tune “Ac-cent-tchu-ate The Positive”.

Listeners are treated to enough variety on The Living Years, that even the pickiest of listeners will find something they like.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • One of the few new songs on The Living Years happens to be the stand out track.  “I Wanna Be There” is another collaboration from Bowman/Isaacs/Yeary.  Becky always seems to give the exact vocal performance needed for a song.
  • The Living Years also give the listener three a cappella numbers.  The strongest of the three is “Walk Together Children”.  The harmony and fun vocal rhythms on this song makes it a must listen.
  • I was surprised to hear a Mike and the Mechanics pop hit (“The Living Years”) and it even became the title of the album.  The Isaacs give it a progressive bluegrass treatment to allow listeners who didn’t know the original that it may be a new song.
  • Another mainstream country cover that I enjoyed hearing was the Isaacs treatment of the Judds country classic “Grandpa”.  Sonya turns in a strong performance that rivals the original.
  • Ben is rarely mentioned when it comes to the vocal’s of the Isaacs, but he turns in a great performance on “I Am A Child Of God”.
  • Lily can’t be left out of the mix, as her rich alto voice turns in a stellar cover of “For Those Tears I Died”.
  • Strongest songs included in order:  “I Wanna Be There”, “Walk Together Children”, “I Am A Child Of God”, “The Living Years”, “Grandpa”, “Leave It All On The Altar” and “For Those Tears I Died”.
CRITIQUE:
  • While a couple of the mainstream song covers were winners there was one that sort of seemed out-of-place on the recording.  The noted Bing Crosby/Andrew Sisters “Ac-cent-tchu-ate The Positive” attempted to throw in a Gospel verse to the song to make it fit the record.  It didn’t.
  • Are listeners buying new music or table projects?  So many albums filled with songs that have been recorded a thousand times before.  The Living Years give listeners additional covers of “I Must Tell Jesus”, “I Know Who Holds Tomorrow” and “The Lord’s Prayer”.
  • Weakest songs included in order:  “I Know Who Holds Tomorrow”, “Ac-cent-tchu-ate The Positive” and “The Lord’s Prayer”.

 

WRAP UP:

Even with all the song covers, the Isaacs still gives listeners a strong recording with The Living Years.  If you’ve been a fan of what the group has been releasing over the course of the last decade then adding The Living Years to your collection is a no brainer.  While this album doesn’t match the caliber of 2011’s Why Can’t We, it is on par with the 2009 album, Naturally.

SONG/Featured Vocalist – Songwriter:  1. “The Living Years”/Ensemble; Sonya; Ben – B.A. Robertson, Michael Rutherford  2. “Walk Together Children“/Ensemble – Bill Gaither, Suzanne Jennings  3. “If That Isn’t Love”/Becky – Dottie Rambo  4. “Ac-cent-tchu-ate The Postive”/Ben – Harold Arlen, Johnny Mercer  5. “For Those Tears I Died”/Lily – Marsha Stevens  6. “I Must Tell Jesus”/Ben; Becky – Elisha Hoffman  7. “Grandpa (Tell Me About The Good Old Days)”/Sonya – James Paul O’Hara  8. “Daniel Prayed”/Ensemble – George (GT) Speer  9. “I Wanna Be There”/Becky – Becky Bowman, Sonya Isaacs, Jimmy Yeary  10. “I Am A Child Of God”/Ben – Barney Warren  11. “Leave It All On The Altar”/Ensemble – Bill Gaither, Gloria Gaither, Buddy Greene  12. “I Know Who Holds Tomorrow”/Becky – Ira Stanphill  13. “Shalom My Home”/Lily – Becky Bowman, Sonya Isaacs  14. “The Lord’s Prayer”/Sonya; Ensemble – Traditional 

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5 thoughts on “The Living Years – Isaacs

  1. Regarding covers–I noticed on Guy Penrod’s website this AM (while checking tour schedule for a family member) that his Hymns was the “#1 Selling Gospel Album of 2012”–and it is totally covers of the basic hymns–no gems like GVB’s Glorious Freedom. I didn’t bother to purchase it. n

    I listened to most of the clips from The Living Years before deciding to download the entire album the other night. Personally, I love I Know Who Holds Tomorrow and I Must Tell Jesus. And I wanted to hear the rest of their Tversion of Te Lords Prayer, which well done, never gets “old” to me.

    1. True, I sometimes have to remember that I am not really the target market for Southern Gospel music (a male in their 30’s). As Gerald Wolfe (and others) would say, “old people like old songs”. And, yes I am just joking. 🙂

  2. One other song that really impressed me was “If That Isn’t Love.” I don’t know how it was done on the CD, but on the DVD Bill Gaither played piano and what the Isaacs did to that song was simply awesome. I must say I really was impressed with what I saw of their Gaither compilation, mostly because of the extra songs (and of course the fun interviews) that I’ve never heard before. I don’t know if the online video is still available for viewing on gaither.com, it impressed me a lot.

    It was also my first time listening to the Grandpa song, it is also a nice number and I understand why Gaither not only put it on the CD, but also on the video, and on one of the upcoming women’s videos.

    Nice review by the way!

  3. Interestingly, I’m pushing replay most on Accentuate The Positive (ironically what you were most negative on). And I’m much more a fan of this and Naturally than I was Why Can’t We.

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