- Album – Threads Of Mercy
- Artist – Ivan Parker
- Label – Parker Music Group
- Style – Traditional, Progressive, Inspirational
- Release Date – 01/20/15
- Available For Digital Download? – Yes (iTunes/Spotify)
Southern Gospel’s most awarded male vocalist and soloist kicks off 2015 with a new album; Threads Of Mercy. This is Ivan’s first album of new music since the 2011 recording, Joyride.
Some of the biggest songwriters of this generation contribute songs to Threads Of Mercy. The question comes down to how did Ivan vocally interpret those songwriting contributions.
Threads Of Mercy is similar to what Southern Gospel listeners have been getting from this award winner since he became a solo act. No new ground is attempted stylistically to separate this album from previous efforts.
- The modern country treatment given to the Ronny Hinson composition; “Wings” makes this song a stand out on Threads Of Mercy. Ivan didn’t have to stretch too far vocally to really make this an enjoyable listen. This needs to a be a radio single from the album.
- With the exception of “Wings”, the standard ballads are much stronger than the up-tempo numbers. The strongest of the bunch in the inspirational flavored, “This Is How We Know”. This allows Ivan to still show the range he has as a vocalist. While many can attest that Ivan’s vocal strength/range has waned in recent years, this was the kind of song he was known for prior. I do see Ivan having a hard time pulling this number off in the live concert setting.
- Another ballad that deserves a listen is the traditional Southern Gospel, “Silent Prayer”, along with “God’s In The Middle Of It”.
- The first single from Threads Of Mercy is the Paula Stefanovich (songwriter of “Jerusalem”), “Til The Shackles Fall Off”. While I enjoyed this peppy tune, I was expecting more of a musical punch that never delivered.
- Strongest songs included in order: “Wings”, “This Is How We Know”, “Silent Prayer”, “God’s In The Middle Of It” and “Til The Shackles Fall Off”.
- When did the easy listening/crooner style invade Southern Gospel? Both “Don’t Hang Your Head And Cry” and the Gaither cover “He Touched Me” utilizes this style. It was not a win in this situation.
- As already mentioned above, it is hard to hear the mega talent of Ivan Parker losing his vocal range. As much as production can hide those kind of things, you can still hear it quite prevalent throughout the recording.
- Weakest songs included in order: “He Touched Me”, “Don’t Hang Your Head And Cry” and “When Heaven Shakes The House”.
Ivan Parker has had a long and storied career in Southern Gospel music. He is a future Southern Gospel music hall of famer. His mass appeal is still evident in the fan awards he wins year after year. Ivan Parker fans will enjoy what he has provided on Threads Of Mercy.
SONG (Style) – Songwriter: 1. “Til The Shackles Fall Off” (Progressive SG) – Paula Stefanovich 2. “God’s In The Middle Of It” (Progressive SG) – Lee Black, Sue C Smith, Kenna West 3. “Don’t Hang Your Head And Cry” (Easy Listening) – Jim Brady 4. “Silent Prayer” (Traditional SG) – Michael Waddle 5. “When Heaven Shakes The House” (Traditional SG) – Lee Black, Jason Cox, Sue C Smith 6. “This Is How We Know” (Inspirational) – Lee Black, Cliff Duren, Kenna West 7. “On The Solid Rock I Stand” (Progressive SG) – Gerald Crabb, Don Poythress, Kenna West 8. “He Touched Me” (Easy Listening) – William Gaither 9. “Wings” (Modern Country) – Ronny Hinson 10. “How Much Longer” (Traditional SG) – John D Rowsey, Gina Vera