Meeting In Heaven: Chuck Wagon Gang

61jtDUQCwcL._SY355_GRADE:  B

  • Album – Meeting In Heaven
  • Artist – Chuck Wagon Gang
  • Label – New Haven Records
  • Style – Traditional
  • Release Date – 10/21/14
  • Available For Digital Download? – Yes (iTunes/Spotify)

SYNOPSIS:

An 80 year history that continues today, the Chuck Wagon Gang has spanned several generations providing their traditional/acoustical/western themed music.  Current member, Shaye Smith, is the granddaughter of original Chuck Wagon Gang member Anna Carter Davis.

The group’s 2014 release, Meeting In Heaven: Sings The Songs Of Marty Stuart, can stand alongside any album the group released early in their career.  The Chuck Wagon Gang’s signature one chord guitar introduction to every song is found on Meeting In Heaven.

All eleven songs found on Meeting In Heaven are from the pen of country artist, Marty Stuart.  The harmony is impeccable from current group members Shaye Smith (alto), Julie Hudson (soprano), Stan Hill (tenor) and Jeremy Stephens (bass), who also plays acoustic guitar.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • I am absolutely amazed at the sound the Chuck Wagon Gang captures with just their voices/blended harmony and an acoustic guitar.  Many other groups who feel it doesn’t work without their canned band and stacked vocals, need to give this album a listen.
  • Shaye Smith’s rich alto vocal is eerily reminiscent to that of her grandmother, Anna Davis.  She excels on her performance of the group’s latest radio single, “His Love Will Lead Us On”.  I can’t tell you how many times I hit repeat on this song before moving on to the rest of the album.
  • Bass vocalist, Jeremy Stephens, gets a chance to shine on “Gloryland”.  This song hearkens the listener back to the Southern Gospel quartet standards of the 1950’s. A definite must listen!
  • Soprano, Julie Hudson, has several features including the opening up-tempo number, “Shout It From The Rock Of Ages”.  She also adds a bit of soul to her performance of “A Friend In Need”.
  • Tenor, Stan Hill, closes out Meeting In Heaven with a feature on “Jesus”.  This slower acoustical number is a nice reflective close to an enjoyable album.  More top-notch vocal harmony found here.
  • Strongest songs included in order:  “His Love Will Lead Us On”, “Gloryland”, “Jesus”, “Shout It From The Rock Of Ages”, “A Friend In Need”, “Rest A Little While” and “Meeting In Heaven”.
CRITIQUE:
  • Some listeners may find a lack of variety with the Chuck Wagon Gang’s music, with the one chord intro on every song.  The songs could start running together toward the end of the album with the lack of variety.
  • One song that literally drags to conclusion is “Lord Lead Me On”.
  • Weakest songs included in order:  “Lord Lead Me On” and “Someday”.

WRAP UP:

There has been a discussion floating around about whether Southern Gospel music should be considered an art form; open for critique.  I am a firm believer that music, in any form, is an art form and open for discussion.  A listener only need to listen to the Chuck Wagon Gang to prove that statement.  They take the listener on a musical journey that results in a better understanding of the music by the time your’re done.  Art?  Absolutely!

SONG/Featured Vocalist – All Songs Written by Marty Stuart:  1. “Shout It From The Rock Of Ages”/Ensemble; Julie  2. “Rest A Little While“/Ensemble; Julie  3. “Gloryland”/Ensemble; Jeremy  4. “His Love Will Lead Us On”/Shaye  5. “Meeting In Heaven”/Julie  6. “Pray The Power Down”/Ensemble; Stan  7. “Lord Lean Me On”/Ensemble; Shaye  8. “A Friend In Need”/Ensemble; Julie  9. “Someday”/Ensemble; Julie  10. “The Gospel Plow”/Ensemble  11. “Jesus”/Ensemble; Stan

*Video Credit (newhavenvideos)

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