His Name Is Jesus: Tim Menzies

GRADE:  B-

  • Album:  His Name Is Jesus
  • Artist:  Tim Menzies
  • Label:  New Day
  • Style:  Traditional Country
  • Release Date:  05/31/19
  • Streaming:  Yes (Apple Music/Spotify)
  • Running Time:  57 Minutes

SYNOPSIS:

Today we take a look at the latest album from singer/songwriter, Tim Menzies; His Name Is Jesus.

Tim is most known in Southern Gospel music for writing the #1 song for the Bowling Family, “I Was There”.

Tim Menzies is traditional country, to the core, in both melody and vocal performance.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Menzies contributed to eleven of the fourteen songs on His Name Is Jesus; the standout being the title track, “His Name Is Jesus”.  It kicks off the album and I have no doubt this will hit Southern Gospel radio at some point.
  • Speaking of Southern Gospel radio, the first single from the album is the up-tempo, traditional country, “Six Feet”.  This is one of only two up-tempo songs on the entire album.  It is a breath of fresh air after seven slower tempo country ballads before it.
  • Speaking of country ballads, the best on the album is “Kentucky Coal”.  The fiddle work on this song is both haunting and beautiful at the same time.  A must listen!
  • “I Hope You See Jesus” is a ballad Tim wrote with Becky Bowman and Sony Yeary of the Isaacs.  Another song that could potentially find a home at Southern Gospel radio.
  • Tim tackles alcohol addiction in the song “Thirty Year Suicide”.  The song really hits home for anyone who grew up with an alcoholic parent.
  • Strongest songs included in order:  “His Name Is Jesus”, “Six Feet”, “Kentucky Coal”, “Don’t Wait”, “I Hope You See Jesus”, “Thirty Year Suicide” and “I Know That Was You”.
CRITIQUE:
  • A solo artist recording that clocks in at 57 minutes, with fourteen songs, is asking a lot of the listener.  Especially when 12 of the 14 songs are all slower pace.
  • “Little Is Much” and “There’s Something About That Name” could have been left off to shorten the recording.
  • Weakest songs included in order:  “There’s Something About That Name/Nothing But The Blood”, “Thank God For Cowboys” and “Hanging Out With Old Folks”.

WRAP UP:

If you enjoy traditional country music, you’ll like the traditional country gospel sounds of Tim Menzies.  There is a lot to listen to on His Name Is Jesus.

SONG (Tempo)/All Songs Performed in a Traditional Country Style – Songwriter:  1. “His Name Is Jesus” (Slow) – Tim Menzies  2. “That Little Crowded Room” (Slow) – Casey Beathard, Tim Menzies  3. “Don’t Wait” (Slow) – Monty Criswell, Tim Menzies  4. “There’s Something About That Name/Nothing But The Blood” (Slow/Fast) – Gloria Gaither, William J Gaither/Robert Lowry  5. “Thirty Year Suicide” (Slow) – Jennifer Dawson, Tim Menzies  6. “Hanging Out With Old Folks” (Slow) – Monty Criswell, Tim Menzies  7. “He Didn’t Come That Night” (Slow) – Tim Menzies, Belinda Smith  8. “Six Feet” (Fast) – Monty Criswell, Tim Menzies  9. “I Know That Was You” (Slow) – Monty Criswell, Tim Menzies  10. “I Hope You See Jesus” (Slow) – Becky Bowman, Tim Menzies, Sonya Yeary  11. “Thank God For Cowboys” (Slow) – Monty Criswell, Tim Menzies  12. “Kentucky Coal” (Slow) – Sidney Cox, Monty Criswell, Tim Menzies  13. “Walking In Jerusalem” (Fast) – Bill Monroe  14. “Little Is Much” (Slow) – Kittie Suffield

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American Morning: Carolina

GRADE:  C+

  • Album:  American Morning
  • Artist:  Carolina
  • Label:  Berry Hill
  • Style:  Country, Americana
  • Release Date:  05/17/19
  • Streaming:  Yes (Apple Music/Spotify)
  • Running Time:  40 Minutes

SYNOPSIS:

Today we take a look at the latest album from Carolina; American Morning.

American Morning was my introduction to the music of Carolina.  As the name suggests, the group is based in North Carolina.  They market themselves as inspirational country.  There are several songs that could find a home in Southern Gospel.

Three of the four members were part of the Melody Masters Quartet, which transitioned to Carolina.  The group is composed of Chris Roberts (tenor vocalist), Scott Whitener (lead vocalist); which long time listeners will recognize as being part of the Singing Americans in the early 90’s, Riley Dotson (baritone vocalist) and Chris Parker (bass vocalist).

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • One song that immediately stood out is the Mid South Boys cover, “If You Had Only Seen Me Then”.  Carolina’s sound has some similarities to the Mid South Boys of the late 1980’s.  This would be a strong choice to send to Southern Gospel radio.
  • Another Southern Gospel friendly song is the Lee Black/Dianne Wilkinson co-write, “The Saints Sing Their Way Home”.  Its nice how classic song titles are woven throughout the song.  A must listen!
  • Carolina covers, “Way Down Deep”, which charted for the Chuck Wagon Gang in the early 90’s.
  • American Morning kicks off with a song that has an Imperials sound from the late 70’s; “Come By Here”.  A good way to start the album.
  • Carolina also covers a song recorded by Gordon Mote several years ago, “Down By The River”.  While not as strong as the original, still a fun song that would work well in the live concert setting.
  • Strongest songs included in order: “If You Had Only Seen Me Then“, “The Saints Sing Their Way Home”, “Way Down Deep”, “Come By Here”, “Down By The River” and “The Old Dirt Road I Grew Up On”.
CRITIQUE:
  • The title track, “American Morning” comes off a bit condescending.  While I’m sure that wasn’t the intent of the writers, the idea that someone else’s experience is not as valid as yours because of where they grew up/live is outrageous.  While city living is completely different from rural living, neither one is any less American than the other.
  • Weakest songs included in order:  “American Morning”, “Everyday American” and “Working Prayer”.

WRAP UP:

While the Americana portion of American Morning is the weakest part of the album there is still at least half dozen songs you can add to your musical playlists.

SONG (tempo)/Featured Vocalist – Songwriter:  1. “Come By Here” (Fast)/Chris R; Scott; Chris P – Paul Kelly  2. “The Old Dirt Road I Grew Up On” (Mid)/Chris R – Lee Black, Jeff Bumgardner  3. “I Don’t Have To Stay” (Slow)/Chris R – Dianne Wilkinson  4. “Everyday American” (Mid)/Chris P Jim Martin, Donnie Skaggs  5. “Can’t Hurry The Harvest” (Slow)/Scott – Lee Black, Sue C Smith  6. “Down By The River” (Fast)/Chris P – Alan Anderson, Lyman McAnally Jr  7. “American Morning” (Mid)/Chris P – Lee Black, Robyn Collins, Devin McGlamery  8. “If You Had Only Seen Me Then” (Fast)/Chris R – Robby McGee, Jerry Salley  9. “The Stories On The Wall” (Slow)/Scott – Lee Black, Dianne Wilkinson  10. “Working Prayer” (Mid)/Chris R – Mac McAnally  11. “The Saints Sing Their Way Home” (Slow)/Chris R – Lee Black, Dianne Wilkinson  12. “Way Down Deep” (Fast)/Scott; Chris P – Max Barnes, Troy Barnes

Vintage: Master’s Voice

GRADE:  B

  • Album:  Vintage
  • Artist:  Master’s Voice
  • Label:  Sonlite
  • Style:  Traditional
  • Release Date:  05/10/19
  • Streaming:  Yes (Apple Music/Spotify)
  • Running Time:  36 Minutes

SYNOPSIS:

Today we take a look at the latest album from Master’s Voice; Vintage.

Tenor vocalist, Ricky Capps, started Master’s Voice in 1995.  The group began as a trio and added a bass singer a little over five years ago.  Vintage is a collection of previously recorded songs that is produced to sound vintage.

The 2019 edition of Master’s Voice is composed of Capps (tenor vocalist), TJ Evans (lead vocalist), David Folenius (baritone vocalist), Jerry Pilgrim (bass vocalist) and Theron Perry (pianist).

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • It is harder to review an album of previously recorded songs than an album of new music.  How can an artist take a song that has been recorded a hundred times before and make the listener want to hear it again?
  • The initial standout was the Joe Moscheo penned, easy listening, song; “You Must Make Up Your Mind”.  TJ Evans provides a smooth lead vocal that takes the listener back to when the song was first recorded by the Prophets in 1965.
  • One song that hasn’t been recorded a hundred times before that is worth a listen is the group’s cover of the Speer Family 1980’s hit song, “City Coming Down”.  Bass vocalist Jerry Pilgrim turns in a great performance.
  • Jerry also takes the lead on the Beverly Lowry penned, “I Thirst”.  This song will forever be associated with the Cathedrals and George Younce.  Master’s Voice has a nice version that may have you hitting repeat.
  • Baritone vocalist, David Folenius tackles the spiritual, “Come In The Prayer Room”.  Hall of Fame member Dale Shelnut (Dixie Echoes) recorded and performed this song during the late 1960’s/early 1970’s.  Hard to top the original.
  • Vintage kicks off with a rousing traditional quartet version of the Albert E Brumley classic, “The Sweetest Song I Know”.  The listener can’t hear to this song and not think of the Happy Goodman Family.
  • Strongest songs included in order: “You Must Make Up Your Mind“, “Come In The Prayer Room”, “I Thirst”, “City Coming Down”, “The Sweetest Song I Know” and “Over The Moon”.
CRITIQUE:
  • Unfortunately the album has too many songs the listener has heard countless times before; “In The Garden”, “It Is Well”, “Just As I Am” and “When God Dips His Love In My Heart”.
  • Weakest songs included in order:  “In The Garden”, “Just As I Am” and “When God Dips His Love In My Heart”.

WRAP UP:

Master’s Voice is currently the most underrated Southern Gospel quartet.  One only needs to listen to Vintage to know they can sing traditional Southern Gospel quartet music with the best of the industry.

SONG (tempo)/Featured Vocalist – Songwriter:  1. “The Sweetest Song I Know” (Fast)/Ensemble; David – Albert E Brumley  2. “Just As I Am” (Slow)/Jerry – William Bradley, Charlotte Elliott  3. “You Must Make Up Your Mind” (Mid)/TJ – Joe Moscheo  4. “Come In The Prayer Room” (Fast)/David Traditional  5. “I Thirst” (Slow)/Jerry – Beverly Lowry  6. “Over The Moon” (Slow/Mid)/Ensemble; Ricky – Vep Ellis  7. “No One Ever Cared For Me Like Jesus” (Slow)/TJ – Charles Weigle  8. “Jesus Paid It All/There Is A Fountain” (Slow)/Ensemble – William Cowper, Edwin Excell, John Grape, Elina Hall, Lowell Mason  9. “When God Dips His Love In My Heart” (Mid/Fast)/David – Cleavant Derricks  10. “It Is Well” (Slow)/Ricky – Phillips Bliss; Horatio Spafford  11. “City Coming Down” (Fast)/Jerry – Zenus Sherrill  12. “In The Garden” (Slow)/TJ – C Austin Miles

The Crown: McKameys

GRADE:  C+

  • Album:  The Crown
  • Artist:  McKameys
  • Label:  Horizon
  • Style:  Traditional, Appalachian
  • Release Date:  05/31/19
  • Streaming:  Yes (Apple Music/Spotify)
  • Running Time:  31 Minutes

SYNOPSIS:

Today we take a look at the final album of new music by the McKameys; The Crown.

The McKameys have given Southern Gospel listeners over 60 years of Appalachian style music.  They rose to prominence in the 1980’s and was catapulted to the top with their hit single, “God On The Mountain”.

The Crown features Peg Bean, Ruben Bean, Sheryl Farris, Connie Fortner, Roger Fortner and Eli Fortner.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Resident songwriter Sheryl Farris and the McKameys have always been a winning combination.  That continues on The Crown.
  • The first single from the album, “From Dust To Glory” was the immediate stand out upon first listen.  Sheryl not only wrote the song but takes the lead.  A unique song from the group but one I will definitely remember.
  • Roger Fortner has seen success with several of his leads on previous albums.  He has another winner with “Heavy”.  A strong lyric that can go hand in hand with “Unspoken Request”.
  • Don’t know how many singles the label plan to release from The Crown but another strong contender would be another Sheryl feature, “Don’t Forget”.  This mid tempo song is classic McKameys.
  • The last half of the recording far outweighs what listeners get on the first half.  Connie’s performance of the title track, “The Crown”, also deserves a listen.
  • Strongest songs included in order: “From Dust To Glory“, “Heavy”, “Don’t Forget”, “We All Need A Savior” and “The Crown”.
CRITIQUE:
  • I don’t know if I heard a single key change on the entire recording.
  • Several songs on the first half of the recording are not up to the standards McKamey listeners have come to expect from the group.  That is a shame since it is the group’s final album of new music.
  • Weakest songs included in order:  “Go Back And Pray”, “Cleanse Me” and “You Must Be Born Again”.

WRAP UP:

I want to thank the McKameys for staying true to their Appalachian style Southern Gospel music and their unapologetic stage performance for the length of their career.  You will be missed.

SONG (tempo)/Featured Vocalist – Songwriter:  1. “We All Need A Savior” (Mid/Fast)/Sheryl – Sheryl Farris  2. “You Must Be Born Again” (Mid)/Peg – Rebecca J Peck, John Robinson  3. “Cleanse Me” (Slow)/Ensemble; Connie – John McNeill, Edwin Orr  4. “Go Back And Pray” (Mid/Fast)/Ruben Traditional  5. “The Holy Spirit Prayed” (Slow/Mid)/Peg – Tina Sadler  6. “Heavy” (Slow)/Roger – Brent Ellison, Chase McDaniel, Sue C Smith  7. “Don’t Forget” (Mid)/Sheryl – Sheryl Farris  8. “The Crown” (Mid)/Connie – Sheryl Farris  9. “God Is Good” (Slow)/Eli – Joseph Habedank, Sue C Smith, Tony Wood  10. “From Dust To Glory” (Slow)/Sheryl – Sheryl Farris

Memories: The Sound

GRADE:  B

  • Album:  Memories
  • Artist:  The Sound
  • Label:  Custom
  • Style:  Traditional, Progressive, Country
  • Release Date:  02/01/19
  • Streaming:  Yes (Apple Music/Spotify)
  • Running Time:  45 Minutes

SYNOPSIS:

Today we take a look at an early 2019 album by the Sound; Memories.

Long time listeners of Southern Gospel music will remember a group from the late 80’s/early 90’s by the name of The Sound.  Based in Texas, former members included Terry Davis, Scott Fowler, Pat Hoffmaster, Mike Presnell, Frank Seamans and Rick Strickland to name a few.

Rob Mills was lead singer for the group from 1990 to 1993.  In 2017, Rob Mills purchased the name and reintroduced Southern Gospel listeners to The Sound.  The group is currently composed of Mills (baritone vocalist) along with sons Levi Mills (lead vocalist) and Jacob Mills (tenor vocalist).

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Memories is exactly what it says; a collection of previously recorded songs from traditional Southern Gospel to progressive Southern Gospel to some country Gospel sounds.
  • Levi Mills is already an accomplished vocalist and he is just starting his career.  The stand out song on Memories is a Steven Curtis Chapman cover, “Hiding Place”.  The song was originally recorded by Chapman in 1989 (First Hand).  This is also the current radio single for The Sound.  A must listen!
  • Bart Millard of MercyMe released a Hymned album back in 2005.  It was a Southern Gospel friendly recording.  The Sound covers “Mawmaw’s Song (In The Sweet By And By)”.  Another stand out on Memories.
  • The trio let Southern Gospel listeners know they can also give some traditional Southern Gospel moments with covers of “Jesus On The Mainline” and “Turn Your Radio On”.
  • The group also takes a Carole King song from the 1970’s, “You’ve Got A Friend” and make it appeal to a Southern Gospel listening audience.
  • Rob penned a country song that deserves a listen called “I’m A Kid Again”.  This is the only new song on the album.
  • Strongest songs included in order: “Hiding Place”, “Mawmaw’s Song (In The Sweet By And By)”, “Jesus On The Mainline”, “You’ve Got A Friend”, “Be Still My Soul”, “I’m A Kid Again” and “Turn Your Radio On”.
CRITIQUE:
  • To this day I still don’t get the appeal of “I Can Only Imagine”.  Its made millions, so apparently I’m missing something.
  • Weakest songs included in order:  “I Can Only Imagine” and “In The Garden”.

WRAP UP:

The Sound have quickly become a part of my musical playlists.  This trio is destined for great things in Southern Gospel music.  They currently have two albums.  Give them both a listen; Past To Present (2017) and Memories (2019).

SONG (tempo)/Featured Vocalist – Songwriter:  1. “Feeling At Home” (Mid)/Ensemble; Jacob – Gloria Gaither, William J Gaither  2. “Mawmaw’s Song (In The Sweet By And By)” (Mid/Fast)/Levi – Barry Graul, Bart Millard  3. “I’m A Kid Again” (Slow)/Levi – Rob Mills  4. “Hymn Medley” (Fast)/Ensemble; Levi; Jacob Traditional  5. “In The Garden” (Slow)/Jacob – Charles Miles  6. “Jesus On The Mainline” (Mid/Fast)/Ensemble; Rob – Traditional  7. “Hiding Place” (Slow)/Levi – Steven Curtis Chapman, Jerry Salley  8. “Turn Your Radio On” (Fast)/Jacob; Levi – Albert E Brumley  9. “You’ve Got A Friend” (Slow)/Jacob – Carole King  10. “Be Still My Soul” (Slow)/Ensemble – Traditional  11. “I Can Only Imagine” (Slow)/Levi – Bart Millard

Clean: Adam Crabb

GRADE:  B

  • Album:  Clean
  • Artist:  Adam Crabb
  • Label:  Daywind
  • Style:  Progressive, Country
  • Release Date:  05/17/19
  • Digital Download:  Yes (Apple Music)
  • Running Time:  49 Minutes

SYNOPSIS:

Today we take a look at the latest album from Gaither Vocal Band alum, Adam Crabb; Clean.

Like older brother Jason Crabb, Adam is at his best when singing country style arrangements.

Clean is a mixture of country style songs and progressive Southern Gospel music.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Adam Crabb (along with Lee Black and Tony Wood) helped pen the stand out song on Clean; “There Is A Healer”.  This country/blues infused tune was also chosen as the first single from the album.  A definite must listen.
  • The only up-tempo song on the album is a Southern Gospel classic, “Well Done My Child”.  The progressive Southern Gospel arrangement along with Adam’s country vocals will have you hitting repeat.
  • One of the more unique songs I have heard is the Michael Boggs/Jason Cox penned, “Devil’s Hand”.  This country ballad tells how easy it is to fall into the world’s traps.  You have to give this song a listen.
  • While it seems obligatory that anyone associated with Gaither must record a Gaither penned song, I can’t deny the fact that Adam Crabb turns in a strong solo performance of “The Old Rugged Cross Made The Difference”.
  • The country style of Clean gets started with the album’s second track, “Higher”.
  • The musical piece at the start of “Clean” is absolutely exquisite.
  • Strongest songs included in order:  “Well Done My Child”, “There Is A Healer”, “The Old Rugged Cross Made The Difference”, “Devil’s Hand”, “Higher”, “Clean” and “Voices”.
CRITIQUE:
  • As already mentioned, the country style of Adam Crabb and the country style songs far outweigh the progressive Southern Gospel songs on Clean.
  • A 49 minute solo recording is asking a lot of the listener.
  • Weakest songs included in order:  “Love Will Take You Places” and “Where I Belong”.

WRAP UP:

Adam Crabb is at his strongest when he is in his country element.  There is enough of that on Clean to make for an enjoyable listen.

SONG (Tempo)/Style – Songwriter:  1. “Where I Belong” (Slow)/Progressive Southern Gospel – Daniel Doss, Krissy Nordhoff  2. “Higher” (Mid)/Country – Jason Cox, Daniel Doss, Kenna West  3. “Devil’s Hand” (Slow)/Country – Michael Boggs, Jason Cox  4. “There Is A Healer” (Slow)/Country; Blues – Lee Black, Adam Crabb, Tony Wood  5. “Champion” (Mid)/Pop – Lee Black, Jason Cox, Chris Con  6. “Clean” (Slow)/Progressive Southern Gospel – Natalie Grant, Bernie Herms  7. “Love Will Take You Places” (Slow)/Progressive Southern Gospel – Aaron Wilburn, Kevin Williams  8. “Well Done My Child” (Fast)/Progressive Southern Gospel – Byron Faust  9. “The Old Rugged Cross Made The Difference” (Slow)/Progressive Southern Gospel – Gloria Gaither, William J Gaither  10. “Voices” (Mid)/Country – Randy Phillips; Matthew West  11. “War” (Mid/Fast)/Progressive Southern Gospel – Charles Jenkins

Right Where He Is: Inspirations

GRADE:  B-

  • Album:  Right Where He Is
  • Artist:  Inspirations
  • Label:  Horizon
  • Style:  Traditional, Appalachian
  • Release Date:  04/26/19
  • Streaming:  Yes (Apple Music/Spotify)
  • Running Time:  30 Minutes

SYNOPSIS:

Today we take a look at the latest album from the Inspirations; Right Where He Is.

2019 marks 55 years since the Inspirations began their singing career.  Archie Watkins was part of the original group and in 2017 Archie took ownership.  The quartet’s traditional, Appalachian style Southern Gospel music has stayed consistent since the group’s inception.

The 2019 edition of the Inspirations is composed of Archie Watkins (tenor), Roland Kesterson (lead), Eddie Dietz (baritone), Marlin Schubert (bass) and Luke Vaught (pianist).

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Roland Kesterson is the star of the show, when it comes to Right Where He Is.  He has the perfect lead vocal for the Inspirations.
  • Listeners hear Roland, right out of the gate, on the album’s opening track, “He’s Coming Again”.  This mid-tempo song is classic Inspirations.
  • A future radio single in the making is another Roland feature, “They’ll Never Be A Giant”.  Kesterson also penned this mid-tempo song.
  • I counted at least three song covers on Right Where He Is.  The stand out is a song I’ve always enjoyed from the pen of Don Johnson; “His Hand Reached Further Down”.  While age is evident in Archie’s voice, he absolutely shows he can still belt out a song.  This is a must listen!
  • Marlin and Roland trade verses on a nice ballad, “She Gets Another Prayer Through Again”.
  • Pianist, Luke Vaught is featured on another song cover, “Obey The Spirit The Lord”  The group originally recorded the song in 1972 (Wake Up In Glory).
  • Strongest songs included in order: “They’ll Never Be A Giant”, “He’s Coming Again”, “His Hand Reached Further Down”, “She Gets Another Prayer Through Again”, “That’s Right Where He’ll Be” and “Obey The Spirit Of The Lord”.
CRITIQUE:
  • Age hits us all and there is nothing any of us can do about it.  I’m thankful Archie, Eddie and Marlin are still giving Southern Gospel listeners their all!
  • Weakest songs included in order:  “The End Of Time Is Near” and “Judas Kissed The Door”.

WRAP UP:

Right Where He Is, is another consistent album in the recording career of the Inspirations and I consider it a stronger recording than the group’s previous effort (The One In The Water).

SONG (tempo)/Featured Vocalist – Songwriter:  1. “He’s Coming Again” (Mid)/Roland – Matthew Browder  2. “They’ll Never Be A Giant” (Mid)/Roland – Roland Kesterson  3. “Lord I Want To Be A Blessing” (Slow)/Eddie – Squire Parsons  4. “I Wouldn’t Change The End” (Fast)/Roland Mark Mathes, Dixie Phillips  5. “She Gets Another Prayer Through Again” (Slow)/Marlin; Roland – Steve Moss  6. “His Hand Reached Further Down” (Slow)/Archie – Don Johnson  7. “Obey The Spirit Of The Lord” (Slow)/Luke – Colbert Croft, Joyce Croft  8. “That’s Right Where He’ll Be” (Fast)/Ensemble – Megan Mulnix, Rebecca J Peck  9. “The End Of Time Is Near” (Slow)/Archie – William Carter  10. “Judas Kissed The Door” (Mid/Slow)/Eddie – Sandy Knight

Victory Shout: Kingsmen

GRADE:  B+

  • Album:  Victory Shout
  • Artist:  Kingsmen
  • Label:  Horizon
  • Style:  Progressive
  • Release Date:  06/07/19
  • Streaming:  Yes (Apple Music/Spotify)
  • Running Time:  33 Minutes

SYNOPSIS:

Today we take a look at the new album from the Kingsmen; Victory Shout.  The album is slated to hit retail Friday June 7th, 2019.

For many years, in their heyday, the Kingsmen were known for ‘three chords and a cloud of dust’.  Their rambunctious stage presence made them the best concert ticket of the 1980s.  In recent years the Kingsmen have moved to a modern, progressive Southern Gospel style.  Victory Shout may be the most progressive recording in the Kingsmen’s discography.

The 2019 edition of the Kingsmen is composed of Chris Jenkins (tenor), Chris Bryant (lead), Alan Kendall (baritone) and hall of fame member, Ray Dean Reese (bass).

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • The album’s title track is already at radio and has been available on the music streaming services for several weeks.  This song of triumph is a powerhouse song that hits you from the first note.  “Victory Shout” is destined for the top of the charts!
  • Jason Cox, Joseph Habedank and Kenna West collaborated on the ‘hard driving’ progressive Southern Gospel song, “Dear John”.  Lead vocalist Chris Bryant is allowed to show off on this must listen!
  • Unlike the Kingsmen’s last album, which didn’t feature Ray Dean Reese on one song, Victory Shout gives listeners two Reese features.  The up-tempo, “I’ve Ever Been Glad” is a classic sounding Kingsmen tune.
  • The group also decided to go back and cover the Larry Gatlin song, “Prodigal Son”.  The song was originally recorded by the Kingsmen in 1991 (Wish You Were Here).  Another chance to hear Ray featured.
  • Baritone Alan Kendall is featured on “It Still Changes Me”.  A nice ballad that would work well at Southern Gospel radio.
  • If you want to know how progressive Victory Shout is, you need look no further than the album’s opening track, “Running To Win”.
  • Strongest songs included in order: “Victory Shout”, “Dear John”, “It Still Changes Me”, “Running To Win”, “Prodigal Son”, “Just Climb” and “That’s Where You’ll Find Me”.
CRITIQUE:
  • One downside to some progressive Southern Gospel songs is the arrangements lack any kind of character; they are boring and tend to bleed together.
  • Weakest songs included in order:  “You’ll Move Mountains For Me”.

WRAP UP:

2019 marks 60 years since the Kingsmen released their first album (What Love, 1959).  Hall of fame member Ray Dean Reese marks 50 years with the group.  Victory Shout is one that long time Kingsmen listeners are sure to enjoy.

SONG (tempo)/Featured Vocalist – Songwriter:  1. “Running To Win” (Fast)/Ensemble; Chris B – Sandy Knight  2. “Just Climb” (Mid)/Chris J – Adina Bowman, Gene Ezell, Karen Gillespie  3. “I’ve Ever Been Glad” (Fast)/Ray – Regina Walden  4. “Victory Shout” (Mid)/Chris J Jason Cox, Kenna West  5. “Dear John” (Mid/Fast)/Chris B – Jason Cox, Joseph Habedank, Kenna West  6. “It Still Changes Me” (Slow)/Alan – Chris Binion, Matthew Lawson  7. “King Of Kings” (Slow)/Chris B – Rebecca Peck, Dianne Wilkinson  8. “Prodigal Son” (Fast)/Ray; Alan – Larry Gatlin  9. “You’ll Move Mountains For Me” (Slow)/Chris J – Karen Gillespie, Rachel McCutcheon  10. “That’s Where You’ll Find Me” (Slow)/Chris B – Jason Cox, Kenna West