Today – Mercy’s Well

mercyswell2014todayGRADE:  B

  • Album – Today
  • Artist – Mercy’s Well
  • Label – Custom
  • Style – Traditional, Progressive
  • Release Date – 09/02/14
  • Available For Digital Download? – Yes (iTunes/Spotify)

SYNOPSIS:

The fall season seems to bring an abundance of new music in Southern Gospel music.  A lot of that tends to revolve around having a new album ready for National Quartet Convention.

One such new release ready for NQC is Mercy’s Well and the new album, Today.  This North Carolina based trio have provided Southern Gospel listeners with their own progressive brand of Gospel music for over 15 years.

The 2014 line-up of Mercy’s Well is composed of founding member Brad Strider (tenor), Greg Gainer (baritone), Dustin Simmons (lead) and pianist Josh Simpson.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Baritone Greg Gainer provides the stand out track on Today.  The country infused, “I’ll Trade This Valley For A Mountain” could very well be the best song Mercy’s Well has recorded to date.  This would make a strong radio single choice.  This song is ‘old school’ Southern Gospel.  Wayne Haun and Lyn Rowell wrote a winner here.  Love it!
  • Mercy’s Well has had previous success with really strong up-tempo numbers (see “Carry That Load”, “God Put A Rainbow In The Cloud”, “More Like Jesus Less Like Me”).  Today provides listeners with two really strong up-tempo songs.  They include the title track which will cause you to hit repeat.  Tenor Brad Strider is featured on this number.  The second is the infectious “That’s Who I’m Giving My Heart”.  This features new lead singer Dustin Simmons.
  • Speaking of new lead vocalist; Dustin Simmons delivers a stand out performance on the mid-tempo “Deliver Me Through”.  The message is not new, about being delivered through a storm instead of being delivered from it.  The easy, laid back approach and nice harmony moments make this song a must listen.  Great songwriting from the pens of Gina Boe and Sue C Smith.
  • The closing track, “The Gospel Of The Second Chance”, allow Brad and Dustin to trade-off the lead.  The orchestration brought back memories of something the Poet Voices would’ve recorded.  A strong close to the album.
  • Stylistically, Mercy’s Well provides a buffet of sounds that will be sure to please even the pickiest of listeners.  From traditional Southern Gospel, to a country sound to even some pop infused musical moments.
  • Strongest songs included in order:  “I’ll Trade This Valley For A Mountain”, “Deliver Me Through”, “That’s Who I’m Giving My Heart”, “The Gospel Of The Second Chance”, “Today” and “Come As We Are”.
CRITIQUE:
  • The mid-point of the recording tends to get a bit bogged down musically.
  • The Imperials-esque, “I Wanna Hear The Gospel” just felt out-of-place with the rest of the recording.  It was more the arrangement of the song than the lyric.
  • Weakest songs included in order:  “I Wanna Hear The Gospel” and “I’ll Never Be Gone”.

WRAP UP:

Today may very well be the most Southern Gospel friendly album (outside of their Songbook series), Mercy’s Well has released.  There is so much on this album that even the staunchest of Southern Gospel listeners would enjoy.  Mercy’s Well should be proud of what they have given Southern Gospel listeners with Today.

SONG/Featured Vocalist – Songwriter:  1. “Come As We Are”/Ensemble – Donna King  2. “Today“/Ensemble; Brad – Donna King  3. “Deliver Me Through”/Dustin – Gina Boe, Sue C Smith  4. “I’ll Trade This Valley For A Mountain”/Greg – Wayne Haun, Lyn Rowell  5. “I Wanna Hear The Gospel”/Dustin – Lee Black, Gina Boe  6. “I Already Know”/Greg – Joel Lindsey, Sue C Smith  7. “Who You Say You Are”/Brad – Lee Black, Donna King, Kenna Turner West  8. “That’s Who I’m Giving My Heart”/Ensemble; Dustin – Chris Binion  9. “I’ll Never Be Gone”/Brad – Donna King, Rachel Morgan Perry  10. “The Gospel Of The Second Chance”/Dustin; Brad – Lee Black, Shelley E Johnson, Tony Wood

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