Lift Him Up: Guardians

guardians2017lifthimupGRADE:  B-

  • Album – Lift Him Up
  • Artist – Guardians
  • Label – Stow Town Records
  • Style – Traditional, Progressive
  • Release Date – 01/27/17
  • Available For Digital Download? – YES (Apple Music)

SYNOPSIS:

This week we take a look at the latest album from the Guardians, Lift Him Up.  2017 marks five years since the release of the Guardians first album; Healing.

Lift Him Up is the first recording to be released by Stow Town Records for the Guardians.  Their short rise in Southern Gospel music can be attributed to their strong song selection and stage presentation.

For those being introduced to the Guardians, the trio is composed of Dean Hickman (tenor), John Darin Rowsey (lead) and Neil Uhrig (baritone).

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • One can compare the music of the Guardians to legendary group, the Couriers.  The arrangements and musical scores are quite similar.  The opening a cappella version of “Alleluia” is a great example.
  • John Darin Rowsey is a legend himself having spent time with New Journey and Karen Peck and New River.  John is also one of Southern Gospel’s most prolific writers.  He co-wrote the stand out song on Lift Him Up, “Present In The Presence Of The King”.  Stow Town needs to consider this song for radio.
  • Tenor Dean Hickman wrote and is featured on another strong ballad, “Hold On To The Power Of The Cross”.
  • The trio kicks it in to high gear with the Luther G Presley classic, “I’m Getting Ready To Leave This World”.  The group mashes several songs together to perform a must listen, “Packin’ Up”.  This also happens to be the first single from the album.
  • Another up-tempo must listen is the John Darin Rowsey penned “Woke Up This Morning”.  This song has been recorded before with versions by the Bishops, Old Paths, Talleys and Whisnants.
  • At least half the recording are previously recorded songs.  Another that deserves a mention is “Keeper Of The Lost And Found”.  Originally recorded by Ivan Parker, John Darin Rowsey is featured on this song he wrote.  A version that beats the original.
  • Strongest songs included in order:  “Present In The Presence Of The King”, “Hold On To The Power Of The Cross”, “Packin’ Up”, “Another Life To Give”, “Woke Up This Morning”, “Keeper Of The Lost And Found” and “Please Don’t Wait Forever”.
CRITIQUE:
  • Too many song covers bog down the appeal of the recording.  While Jim Hill is loving all the recent recordings of “What A Day That Will Be”, the listener didn’t need another version.
  • I never understood the use of Mexican flavored music used by Southern Gospel artists (used on “There Is A Love”).  It’s like going to Taco Bell and saying you’re eating authentic Mexican food.
  • Weakest songs included in order:  “What A Day That Will Be” and “Truth Is Marching On”.

WRAP UP:

This was the first time for me to listen to an entire recording by the Guardians.  I enjoyed what I heard.  Definitely going to keep them on my radar.  If you enjoy traditional Southern Gospel music with strong harmonies, give Lift Him Up a listen.

SONG/Featured Vocalist – Songwriter:  1. “Alleluia”/Ensemble – Larry Gatlin  2. “Packin’ Up“/John – Luther G Presley  3. “Another Life To Give“/Dean – John Darin Rowsey  4. “His Truth Is Marching On”/Ensemble – Anita Renfroe, John Darin Rowsey  5. “What A Day That Will Be/We Shall Behold Him”/Ensemble; John – Jim Hill, Dottie Rambo  6. “Leaning”/Neil – Julia Keep  7. “Keeper Of The Lost And Found”/John – Mak Kaylor, John Darin Rowsey  8. “There Is A Love“/Neil – John Darin Rowsey  9. “Hold On To The Power Of The Cross”/Dean – Dean Hickman  10. “Woke Up This Morning”/Neil; Ensemble – John Darin Rowsey  11. “Theme From A Summer Place”/Ensemble – Mack Discant, Max Steiner  12. “Present In The Presence Of The King”/John – Wayne Haun, John Darin Rowsey  13. “Please Don’t Wait Forever”/Dean – Wayne Haun, Dean Hickman, Joel Lindsey

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2 thoughts on “Lift Him Up: Guardians

  1. John Darin recorded Keeper and Woke Up first with New Journey before the other versions just as he had recorded Somebody Prayed years earlier with NJ but they got little attention but were great. I’m baffled at the hoopla over this group. Must be great radio promotion.

    1. So you don’t think they are worthy of the hoopla? I will say that it seems like Singing News magazine is pushing them pretty hard. Not sure why.

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