Hope & Healing: Taylors

TaylorsGRADE:  B-

  • Album – Hope & Healing
  • Artist – Taylors
  • Label – Stow Town Records
  • Style – Progressive
  • Release Date – 04/08/16
  • Available For Digital Download? – Yes (Apple Music/Spotify)

SYNOPSIS:

The Taylors are working on their first decade in Southern Gospel music, which comes in 2017.  2016 brings the release of the group’s 9th recording; the second with Stow Town Records.

The Taylors go to a trio vocal configuration on their newest effort, Hope & Healing.  As a result, they drop the bass vocals that used to be sung by Chris and have him sing baritone as Jonathan sings lead with Suzanne performing the alto/soprano.

With the change in vocal configuration and drop of the bass vocal, the Taylors move to a more progressive, Talley-esque type sound replacing the traditional mixed quartet sound.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Hope & Healing kicks off with a cajun-country style tune that is out-of-place once you hear the rest of the album.  The song ends up being the best song on the recording because it is so different from the rest of the recording.  I would expect to hear “He Won’t Fail You” on Southern Gospel radio in the near future.
  • Suzanne turns in a strong performance mid way through the album on “That’s What The Cross Is For”.  This reflective ballad is one that will stay with you even after the song ends.
  • Another strong ballad is the Chris Taylor feature, “Somebody’s Praying”.  There can never be enough songs about the power in prayer.  “Somebody’s Praying” is another in a long list of must listen prayer songs; one that reminds us that even Christ himself is praying for us.
  • One song I can see being a future Southern Gospel radio single is the Jonathan feature, “The Day I Lay My Isaac Down”.  Another story we’ve heard many times in song but the presentation here is a must listen.  The idea of sacrificing the thing in life most cherished in order to follow Christ is not the easiest thing to do.
  • Jonathan also shines on the progressive mid tempo, “Between Here And Heaven”.
  • The Taylors need credit for choosing from some of the best writers in the business for the song selection on Hope & Healing.
  • Wayne Haun can take credit for the best sounding Taylors album to date.
  • Strongest songs included in order:  “He Won’t Fail You”, “That’s What The Cross Is For”, “Somebody’s Praying”, “The Day I Lay My Isaac Down”, “Between Here And Heaven”, “I Hope He Smiles” and “Call Out My Name”.
CRITIQUE:
  • Just with my last review; an album can be produced to perfection, but if there is very little in song variation, the album starts bleeding together for the listener.  You can’t tell one song from the last.  Hope & Healing has one true up-tempo song, two in the mid-tempo range and ten songs would be considered slow-tempo.  This is tiring for a listener, especially on a 13 song recording.  This is what ultimately led to my rating for the album.
  • Speaking out on this; I have noticed a small trend lately in Southern Gospel music to record more slower to mid-tempo songs compared to up-tempo songs.  Are there not enough good up-tempo songs being written?  The pacing is just as important in listening to an album as the songs you are choosing to record.
  • Weakest songs included in order:  “We Are Not Ashamed” and “Far Enough”.

WRAP UP:

The Taylors would have been best served to record the ten best songs from Hope & Healing and save the three other ballads for a future recording.  It is tough to give an album with such strong songs a (B-) because the pacing of the album doesn’t make for the best listening experience.  With that said, don’t overlook Hope & Healing.  There are some absolutely stellar songs on this album that will find a home in your musical playlists and don’t be surprised the album will still be competing for a spot in my annual countdown of the year’s best releases.

SONG/Featured Vocalist – Songwriter:  1. “He Won’t Fail You”/Ensemble; Suzanne – Wayne Haun, Joel Lindsey  2. “Somebody’s Praying“/Chris – Sue C Smith, Ed Stivers, Kevin Ward  3. “I Can Feel You Healing Me”/Jonathan – Natalie Cromwell, Denny Livingston, Donna Norton  4. “We Are Not Ashamed”/Suzanne – Geron Davis  5. “For What I Don’t Know”/Suzanne – Marcia Henry, Denny Livingston, Rachel McCutcheon  6. “Far Enough”/Chris – Jeff Bumgardner, Wayne Haun  7. “Right Now”/Jonathan – Randall Garland, Glen Green, Marcia Henry  8. “That’s What The Cross Is For”/Suzanne – Paul Chapman, Kenna West, Lindsey Williams  9. “Between Here And Heaven”/Jonathan – Gina Boe, Joseph Habedank, Tony Wood  10. “Call Out My Name”/Jonathan, Suzanne – Pamela Furr, Tanya Goodman Sykes  11. “The Day I Lay My Isaac Down”/Jonathan – Lowell Alexander, Dave Clark, Bonnie Keen, Tony Wood  12. “Worship You Again”/Suzanne – Sandy Blythe  13. “I Hope He Smiles”/Chris – Lee Black, Gina Boe, Joseph Habedank

*Video Credit (The Taylors – Topic)

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