- Album – 16
- Artist – Highland Park
- Label – Custom
- Style – Progressive, Country, Folk
- Release Date – 10/07/16
- Available For Digital Download? – YES (Apple Music)
Welcome to the first album review of 2017. Still one of the most read features on the blog. I don’t take for granted that you appreciate the way I present album reviews.
The first couple reviews of the new year will be 2016 album releases I didn’t get around to reviewing. Up first, is new group Highland Park and their debut album; 16.
While the group may be new to you, the individuals in the group is not. Noted singer/songwriter Phil Cross (tenor/harmony) came together with original Poet Voices members Howard Stewart (baritone/harmony) and Philip Hare (lead/pianist) to form Highland Park. Jump Keys (musician) is the fourth member to round out the group.
- Original Poet Voices baritone, Howard Stewart gives listeners the most Southern Gospel friendly song on 16; “Family Of Faith”. The song hearkens listeners back to the original Poet Voices days.
- Highland Park’s sound is built around vocalist Philip Hare. As a result, it gives the group a more progressive/folk style.
- The group’s latest single, “Gonna Get Baptized”, features Philip and has already become a top 40 hit on the Southern Gospel radio singles chart.
- Group members Phil Cross and Jump Keys co-wrote five songs on 16. Along with “Family Of Faith”, listeners should take a listen to “Gonna Go With The Lord”. It is a nice progressive up-tempo number.
- The album closes on a high note with one of the few songs that feature Phil Cross; “Take The High Road”.
- Another song from 16 that would do well at Southern Gospel radio would be the ballad, “I Want You Beside Me”. Another song reminiscent from the original Poet Voices days.
- Strongest songs included in order: “Family Of Faith”, “Gonna Get Baptized”, “Gonna Go With The Lord”, “Take The High Road”, “I Want You Beside Me”, “Somebody’s Calling Your Name” and “Glory To Jesus”.
- Highland Park doesn’t want to define themselves with musical labels. Listeners expecting to get a sound similar to the original Poet Voices will be disappointed.
- There was stylistic monotony with several songs, not allowing the listener to differentiate one from the other.
- Weakest songs included in order: “Tell Me” and “Clean Up”.
It is nice seeing Phil Cross and Howard Stewart working together again. Highland Park offers a diverse style palette that will appeal to a broad audience. Decide for yourself; give 16 a listen.
SONG/Featured Vocalist – Songwriter: 1. “Somebody’s Calling Your Name”/Ensemble; Philip – Phil Cross 2. “Gonna Go With The Lord“/Philip – Phil Cross, Jump Keys 3. “Family Of Faith“/Howard; Phil – Phil Cross, Jump Keys 4. “Tell Me”/Ensemble – Phil Cross, Jump Keys 5. “Glory To Jesus”/Philip – Matthew Browder, Phil Cross 6. “Clean Up”/Philip – Wallace Strickland, Harvey Lee Watkins 7. “You Gave”/Howard – Phil Cross, Jump Keys 8. “Gonna Get Baptized“/Philip – Phil Cross, Jump Keys 9. “Jesus Gave Me Water”/Ensemble – Lucie Campbell 10. “Sowing The Good Seed”/Philip – Jenny Berens, Phil Cross 11. “I’ll Fly Away”/Phil – Steven Cheney, Phil Cross 12. “Jesus Built A Bridge To Heaven”/Ensemble – Glen Duncan, Mark Grantt 13. “I Want You Beside Me”/Philip – Phil Cross 14. “Take The High Road”/Ensemble; Phil – George Huff, Jerry Salley