Prodigals: Steeles

GRADE:  B-

  • Album – Prodigals
  • Artist – Steeles
  • Label – Custom
  • Style – Progressive, Pop, P/W
  • Release Date – 02/17/17
  • Available For Digital Download? – Yes (Apple Music)
  • Running Time:  37 Minutes

SYNOPSIS:

This week we take a look at the new album from the Steeles, Prodigals.  The Steeles returned to the Southern Gospel recording scene in 2014 with the release of the hit single, “But God”.

The Steeles had a successful decade in Southern Gospel music running from 1995 to 2004.  They gave listeners hits such as “God Kept His Promise, “I Got Up And Went”, “I Must Tell Somebody”, “Oh What A Mighty God” and “On The Road To Emmaus” to name a few.

The 2017 edition of the Steeles is composed of Jeff Steele (baritone), Sherry Steele (alto) and Bradley Steele (lead).

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Prodigals move the Steeles in stylistic directions they have not attempted up to this point in their recording career.  Listeners will get some progressive sounds that Steeles fans will recognize, then the group ventures in to pop, CCM and praise and worship directions.
  • The album kicks off with the title track, “Prodigals”.  It truly sets the tone for what one will expect from the rest of the recording.  This progressive tune is still Southern Gospel enough to make it the stand out track on the entire recording.
  • Son, Bradley Steele takes the lead on this recording, being the featured vocalist on “Prodigals”.  His vocal tone adds to the pop style the album gives listeners.
  • Him and Sherry trade verses on an up tempo song that long time Steeles fans will enjoy, “Psalm 113”.  This would make a great choice for Southern Gospel radio.
  • Sherry has always been a top-tier female vocalist in Southern Gospel music.  Her best feature on Prodigals is the ballad, “I’ll Follow You”.  Easily, another Southern Gospel friendly song that listeners would enjoy.
  • If you’re looking for some stylistic variety, then check out, “Psalm 117”.  This up tempo song sounds like something out of the disco era.
  • I also enjoy the pop sounds Bradley gives, “Who You’ll Be Forever”.  Could definitely find a home on CCM radio.
  • Strongest songs included in order:  “Prodigals”, “Psalm 113”, “I’ll Follow You”, “Psalm 117”, “Who You’ll Be Forever” and “Say Thanks”.
CRITIQUE:
  • If you’ve been a reader of this blog for any length of time, you already know my thoughts on praise and worship music.  I find it un-inspiring and lacking musical character.  It tends to all sound the same.  Sadly, “Alone”, after starting progressively turns into a praise and worship chorus before it ends.
  • I don’t understand the musical change used in “Grace And Mercy”.
  • Weakest songs included in order:  “Alone” and “Grace And Mercy”.

WRAP UP:

I had to listen to Prodigals several times before I understood the stylistic direction the Steeles were taking.  It is unlike anything the group has recorded to date.  There are some really bright spots that deserve your attention.

SONG/Featured Vocalist – Songwriter:  1. “Prodigals”/Bradley – Bradley Steele, Jeff Steele  2. “Psalm 113“/Bradley; Sherry – Bradley Steele, Jeff Steele  3. “Alone“/Bradley – Bradley Steele, Jeff Steele  4. “Meet Me There”/Sherry – Jeff Steele  5. “Say Thanks”/Bradley – Bradley Steele, Jeff Steele  6. “Psalm 117″/Ensemble – Bradley Steele, Jeff Steele  7. “I’ll Follow You”/Sherry – Amy Keffer, Jeff Steele  8. “Who You’ll Be Forever“/Bradley – Bradley Steele, Jeff Steele  9. “Grace And Mercy”/Bradley – Jeff Steele  10. “Special Blessings”/Jeff – Jeff Steele

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