What If: McKameys

mckameys2015whatifmaxGRADE:  B-

  • Album – What If
  • Artist – McKameys
  • Label – Horizon Records
  • Style – Traditional, Appalachian
  • Release Date – 06/16/15
  • Available For Digital Download? – Yes (iTunes)

SYNOPSIS:

The McKameys are one of the few groups in Southern Gospel music who attempt to still get one new album out per year.  2015 finds the release of What If.

Considering this follows up their 2014 album, 50; What If is now the 51st album released in the group’s career.  The McKameys have built a loyal fan base over the course of their career with their traditional Appalachian mountain style.

The group’s last several albums have built a formula of one feature each from Eli, Roger and Ruben; two features from Connie and Peg and three from Sheryl.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Connie’s two features are the strongest on the recording.  Sandy Blythe’s, “Your Prayers Have Been Heard” stands as the strongest from What If.  Maybe the record label is saving it for a later release, but this should have been the stand out choice for radio single from the album.
  • Connie’s vocal tone on both features is a bit lower than previous albums and it really suits her.  The second stand out is “While I Wait”.
  • Sheryl turns in two strong performances on the albums best up-tempo songs.  The album opener, “I’m Gonna Give It Away” sets the tone for the rest of the album.  Using the ‘it is better to give than to receive’ concept, makes for an enjoyable listen.
  • The other up-tempo must listen is the convention style, “I’ll Give You Grace”.
  • Eli and Roger’s features on What If both have a bluegrass style.  Roger’s is the strongest of the two and considering the label’s track record, “Work In The Field” may find a home at radio.
  • Strongest songs included in order:  “Your Prayers Have Been Heard”, “While I Wait”, “I’m Gonna Give It Away”, “I’ll Give You Grace”, “Work In The Field” and “What If”.
CRITIQUE:
  • I was surprised “I Have A Home” was chosen as the first single.  Considering the other stand out songs on What If, I didn’t feel this song quite measured up.
  • What If has some good moments, but doesn’t quite stack up to the group’s last effort; 50.
  • Weakest songs included in order:  “Lift My Voice” and “I Have A Home”.

WRAP UP:

The McKameys contribution to Southern Gospel music is cemented.  A long career that has now given the group 51 recordings.  And, they have done that by providing listeners a style that they have not strayed from.

SONG/Featured Vocalist – Songwriter:  1. “I’m Gonna Give It Away”/Ensemble; Sheryl – Sheryl Farris  2. “Your Prayers Have Been Heard“/Connie – Sandy Blythe  3. “There Is A Peace”/Peg – Adina Bowman  4. “Where He Is”/Eli – Steve E Hamby  5. “While I Wait”/Ensemble; Connie – Sheryl Farris  6. “I’ll Give You Grace”/Sheryl – Richard Blythe  7. “Lift My Voice”/Ruben – Robert Deel  8. “I Have A Home”/Peg – Sheryl Farris  9. “What If”/Sheryl – Sheryl Farris  10. “Work In The Field”/Roger – Linda Nixon

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