Vintage – Akins

akins2014vintage300This must buy or not feature is a collaboration from Diana Brantley and Steve Eaton.

Akins (Father David and sons; Dave, Nick and Eli) hit the Southern Gospel scene with their 2008 debut album, Good Tired.  They followed that up with their self titled sophomore album and a #1 song from that recording, “I Want My Stage To Be An Altar”.  2014 brings the 5th mainline album release by Akins; Vintage.

Akins decided to step away from Crossroads Music to record Vintage.  The group not only produced the album but recorded all music used on Vintage.  I love it, because what you hear on the record you will also hear in the live concert setting.  Novel concept for Southern Gospel music, but one I applaud!

Song list:  (1) “Revive Us Again” – WP Mackay  (2) “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee” – Henry Van Dyke  (3) “There’s A Land That Is Fairer Than Day (In The Sweet By And By)” – Sanford F Bennett  (4) “When We All Get To Heaven” – Eliza E Hewitt  (5) “Go Rest High On That Mountain” – Vince Gill  (6) “There Is Power In The Blood” – Lewis E Jones  (7) “There Is Power In The Blood” – Robert Lowry  (8) “Arise My Love”  – Eddie Carswell  (9) “He Looked Beyond My Fault And Saw My Need” – Dottie Rambo  (10) “Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)” – Louie Giglio, Chris Tomlin  (11) “Sweet, Sweet Spirit” – Doris Akers  (12) “I Saw The Light” – Hanks Williams Sr


STEVE EATON

  • If you have read any of my album reviews for any length of time, you know that I love artists who are unique, who stand out and who are not carbon copies of someone else.  Akins is one of those unique artists.  They are country (in terms of vocals/harmonies/style).  They actually tour as a band, meaning the concert audience actually sees the use of real instruments in the performance.
  • One may quickly glance the song titles for Vintage and feel, oh no not another album full of songs that have been recorded 1,000 times before.  Let me tell you, Akins takes these songs and arrange them to their own style (both vocally and musically) and turns Vintage in to an enjoyable listen.
  • “Revive Us Again” comes barreling out of the gate with musical intensity and power.  I guarantee it is unlike any version of “Revive Us Again” you’ve heard before.
  • The same can be said of “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee”.  So many Southern Gospel listeners are used to the ‘high church’ treatment this song is given by quartets.  Akins takes this song to an entire different level with their Alabama-esque country style.  Yes, I am talking about the mainstream country act, Alabama.  Best song on the entire album!
  • Akins show off their a cappella prowess on “There Is Power In The Blood” (great short arrangement), “He Looked Beyond My Fault And Saw My Need” and “Sweet, Sweet Spirit”.
  • The musical interludes created by Akins on songs is what sets this album apart from being just another generic, previously recorded song, recording.

DIANA BRANTLEY

  • I agree with everything Steve said!!  There is so much energy from all of the instruments and vocals.  The Akins really have made these songs their own style coming from their hearts.
  • One of my favorites is “When We All Get to Heaven” with Eli’s happy little mandolin skipping along above the vocals!  There’s also some great guitar picking, particularly in the instrumental interlude.   I love this hymn anyway and the instruments add a freshness and joy to it.
  • Kudos to young drummer Lucas Vaughn!  With all the great instrumentation on this album, they needed great  percussion to help them keep up the tempo and intensity.  Lucas provides it – especially on “Revive Us Again,” “Joyful, Joyful” and “I Saw The Light.”
  • One of the things that make The Akins’ a capella numbers so nice is that they are not rushed.  With the exception of the short “Power In the Blood,” these are the slower songs on the album.  You will hear a few different than expected harmonies and a healthy supply of moving parts that keep them from bogging down.  If I didn’t like their instruments so well, I would want even more a capella!
  • OK, I know it’s a little bit corny, but the little sound effects at the beginning and the end of the “record” make you feel like you might have been listening to an LP playing on the old Victrola phonograph!! How many of you young’uns even know what I’m talking about?! HaHaHa!   And the vintage look to the CD label itself is the final little touch to make you think about a record that has been played so much it has the scratches and smudges to prove it.

 


STEVE EATON

  • There were a couple previously recorded songs I could have done without, “Go Rest High On That Mountain” being a top that list.  This seems to be the go to country (gospel based) song that seems to get recorded by so many artists.
  • The other was “Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)”.  The problem I have is not with Akins performance, my problem is the with the song.  I have always seen this song as a rip off.  For Chris Tomlin to take the classic standard, “Amazing Grace” and add a few extra verses and now make royalties off of that does not sit well with me.  It reminds me of Vanilla Ice ripping off Queen’s “Under Pressure” to make a ton of money off of “Ice, Ice Baby”.  Tacky to the highest degree!!

DIANA BRANTLEY

  • I agree with Steve again here, but I’ll add one other thought.  I let an office friend whom I had taken to an Akins concert listen to the new CD and she immediately said her favorite was “Go Rest High” because she has a very personal sentimental attachment to that song.   I like the song but I think it’s probably been overdone.  It does fit with the theme of the album though.
  • This is more of a suggestion than a dislike, but I’d love to see a fast a capella song or two on the next album!

 


STEVE EATON

  • YES – This album is a must buy just for the musical interludes alone.  “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee” is absolute musical perfection!  I don’t know why Southern Gospel audiences don’t embrace groups like Akins, who actually produce a top notch concert experience with voices and instruments.

DIANA BRANTLEY

  • YES – Most folks may already have albums with these songs but The Akins’ presentation makes this album worth the purchase.
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