Without A Sound: Steeles

steeles2015withoutasound (300x300)GRADE:  B

  • Album – Without A Sound
  • Artist – Steeles
  • Label – Custom
  • Style – Traditional, Progressive
  • Release Date – 11/13/15
  • Available For Digital Download? – Yes

SYNOPSIS:

For listeners who have been following Southern Gospel music for at least twenty years will know the name; Steele.  With Jeff Steele penning 99% of everything the group ever recorded, the Steeles burst on the scene in 1991 with an instant top 40 hit; “I Wanna Go Home”.

The group would garner four #1 hits during their career and pick up album of the year at the 1997 Singing News fan awards.  The Steeles came off the road a decade ago for Jeff to accept a pastor’s position.  Last year, the Steeles returned to Southern Gospel radio with another top ten hit; “But God”.

As a result of the success, the group went back in the studio to record, Without A Sound.  This 2015 release is a collection of 5 newer hits along with 7 covers from (2) past Steele recordings.  Joining Jeff and Sherry Steele on Without A Sound to complete the trio is Matthew Thompson.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • During their time on the road, Sherry Steele was a favorite female vocalist of mine.  One of my all time favorite Sherry features was re-recorded on Without A Sound; “He Went All The Way”.  Sherry conveys the message of the great lengths Christ went for each of us because of his ultimate love.  I love this song!
  • The Steeles had a huge return hit in 2014 with “But God”.  They had an accompanying concept video that fit the song perfectly.  Jeff’s songwriting talent is evident on a song like “But God”.  The version on Without A Sound is even an updated version from last year’s radio single version with added production elements.
  • Another new song for the Steeles takes a page from the Southern Gospel classic, “Thank You Lord For Your Blessings On Me” with a lot of the same sentiments in a song titled “I Have Been Blessed”.  Look for this song on Southern Gospel radio sometime in 2016.
  • Back to some previously recorded songs; the Steeles had a top 20 hit in 2003 with “Who’s At The Door”.  I was glad to hear this song covered on Without A Sound.  I still remember a skit acted out to this song, that still makes it all the more powerful.
  • Another up tempo cover that needs another listen is “Say So”.  This song of praise will have you singing along before it finishes.  You may even find yourself hitting repeat.
  • I’ll close by highlighting “Sing Praise”.  Originally listed as “No God Like Jehovah” when it was originally recorded.  This updated version is better than the original.
  • Strongest songs included in order:  “He Went All The Way”, “But God”, “Who’s At The Door”, “I Have Been Blessed”, “Say So”, “Sing Praise” and “We’re All Human”.
CRITIQUE:
  • Jeff has been known for his ‘call to action’ songs, made popular in the late 1990’s.  The Steeles are probably most noted for one of these type songs; “We Want America Back”.  The title track, “Without A Sound” could be classified as a ‘call to action’ song.  While not as blatant as “We Want America Back”, the song still conveys this myth of so-called Christian persecution in America.  But I will give Jeff a pass because the song doesn’t specifically centralize America and can relate to real persecution that is happening around the world, especially in the middle east.
  • The album is also a bit ballad heavy with eight slower tempo songs.  Two more up tempo numbers would have balanced it better.
  • Weakest songs included in order:  “Eternally”.

WRAP UP:

I am happy to see the Steeles recording again.  They have provided Southern Gospel music with a multitude of great songs throughout their career.  With songs like “But God” and “I Have Been Blessed”, I believe the Steeles have picked up where they left off a decade ago.  While not available yet, Without A Sound will soon be available through iTunes.  I know there are a large group of Southern Gospel listeners who were not listening when the Steeles made their impact.  Pick up Without A Sound to make your introduction to the newly re-vamped Steeles.

SONG/Featured Vocalist – All songs written by Jeff Steele; New or Song Cover:  1. “Without A Sound”/Jeff – New  2. “Sing Praise“/Sherry – original on By Grace, Through Faith (2002)  3. “Who’s At The Door”/Jeff – original on By Grace, Through Faith (2002)  4. “Whatever You Have Left”/Sherry – original on By Grace, Through Faith (2002)  5. “The Land Of Beginning Again”/Sherry – original on Standing Room Only (2004)  6. “Voice Of The Martyrs”/Jeff; Sherry – original on Standing Room Only (2004)  7. “Say So”/Jeff; Sherry – original on By Grace, Through Faith (2002)  8. “He Went All The Way”/Sherry – original on By Grace, Through Faith (2002)  9. “But God”/Jeff – New  10. “I Have Been Blessed”/Jeff – New  11. “Eternally”/Jeff; Sherry – New  12. “We’re All Human”/Ensemble – New

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