Clear Skies: Ernie Haase + Signature Sound

GRADE:  B+

  • Album:  Clear Skies
  • Artist:  Ernie Haase and Signature Sound
  • Label:  Stow Town
  • Style:  Traditional; Progressive
  • Release Date:  01/26/18
  • Digital Download:  Yes (Apple Music)
  • Running Time:  50 Minutes

SYNOPSIS:

Today, it is time to take a look at the new album from Ernie Haase and Signature Sound; Clear Skies.

The group takes the listener on a voyage of various Southern Gospel quartet sounds.  One moment you’re listening to a song that could’ve been recorded by the Statesmen in the 1950’s, to the funky late 1970’s sound of the Imperials, to a classic Cathedrals sound from the 1980’s.

The 2018 edition of Signature Sound remains unchanged from their last recording; Ernie Haase (tenor), Devin McGlamery (lead), Dustin Doyle (baritone) and Paul Harkey (bass).

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • EHSS has already had one big hit from the album with “Give Me Jesus”.  Taking unpublished lyrics from Fanny Crosby to come up with a masterpiece.  A must listen!
  • I’ve been singing the praises of Lee Black’s songwriting before others took notice.  Glad to see now he is recognized as one of the best Southern Gospel songwriters.  He teamed up with Sue C Smith to pen “Heaven Is”.  Great song!
  • Paul turns in a stand out performance on the traditional ballad, “Long Line Of Love”.  A song that could have found a home in the Cathedrals repertoire.
  • There are a couple strong up-tempo Southern Gospel quartet songs.  The first is the big band treatment given to “As For Me And My House”.  Fun song.
  • The second is the modern style, “You’ll Find Him There”.  This would make a great radio single.
  • Devin turns in a nice performance on a song he co-wrote, “Walking Through Fire”.
  • The songwriting trio of Ernie Haase, Wayne Haun and Joel Lindsey contributed seven of the thirteen songs on Clear Skies.
  • Strongest songs included in order:  “Give Me Jesus”, “Long Line Of Love”, “Heaven Is”, “You’ll Find Him There”, “As For Me And My House”, “Walking Through Fire”, “Clear Skies” and “Love Took His Breath Away”.
CRITIQUE:
  • Sadly the really strong moments get offset by a couple weak moments.  “My Hallelujah” threw off the pace of the recording.  It sounded like something that should be in a really cheesy movie about a church choir competition.  Already been done.
  • The songwriting of “Sailing With Jesus” doesn’t match the caliber of the rest of the recording.
  • Weakest songs included in order:  “My Hallelujah” and “Sailing With Jesus”.

WRAP UP:

Clear Skies is a great Southern Gospel quartet album to start 2018.  “Give Me Jesus” is a true masterpiece.  The strong moments far outweigh the weak.

SONG (tempo)/Featured Vocalist – Songwriter:  1. “Clear Skies” (Mid/Up)/Devin; Dustin – Ernie Haase, Wayne Haun, Joel Lindsey  2. “Heaven Is” (Fast)/Ensemble – Lee Black, Sue C Smith  3. “Give Me Jesus” (Slow)/Ensemble; Paul; Ernie – Fanny Crosby, Ernie Haase, Wayne Haun, Joel Lindsey  4. “Sailing With Jesus” (Mid/Up)/Dustin – Ernie Haase, Wayne Haun, Joel Lindsey  5. “As For Me And My House” (Up)/Ensemble – Karen Whitt  6. “Give Them All To Jesus” (Mid)/Devin with Booth Brothers – Bob Benson, Phillip Johnson  7. “Long Line Of Love” (Slow)/Paul – Jeff Bumgardner  8. “Love Took His Breath Away” (Slow)/Ernie – Ernie Haase, Wayne Haun, Joel Lindsey  9. “Three Men On A Mountain” (Slow)/Paul – Wayne Haun, Joel Lindsey  10. “You’ll Find Him There” (Fast)/Ensemble; Devin – Ernie Haase, Wayne Haun, Joel Lindsey  11. “My Hallelujah” (Fast)/Ensemble; Ernie and Voices Of Lee – Ernie Haase, Wayne Haun, Joel Lindsey  12. “Walking Through Fire” (Slow)/Devin – Devin McGlamery, Lee Black, Sue C Smith  13. “Longing For Home” (Mid)/Ernie – Ernie Haase, Wayne Haun, Joel Lindsey

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Tellin’ The Story: Perry Sisters

GRADE:  B

  • Album:  Tellin’ The Story
  • Artist:  Perry Sisters
  • Label:  Chapel Valley
  • Style:  Traditional; Progressive
  • Release Date:  01/05/18
  • Digital Download:  Yes
  • Running Time:  36 Minutes

SYNOPSIS:

It is fitting, since I am re-visiting the 1980’s in 2018, that the first album review of the year would be from the Perry Sisters.  The Perry Sisters found success in the late 1980’s with hits such as “I Wonder How Mary Felt”, “There’ll Be A Payday” and “We Shall Stand”.

Tellin’ The Story is the first major release to hit the Southern Gospel marketplace in 2018.  This also marks the first recording for the Perry Sisters on the Chapel Valley label.

The 2018 edition of the Perry Sisters is composed of original member and resident songwriter, Diana Gillette (lead), daughter Nicole Matthews (alto) and April Carroll (soprano).

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • The Perry Sisters sound has always been centered around the lead vocals of Diana Gillette.  She has also contributed 99% of all songs recorded during the group’s career.
  • The stand out track on Tellin’ The Story is a new song that would make for a strong radio single choice; “Go Tell”.  A power house tune that hearkens listeners back to the group’s hits of the late 1980s.
  • The mid-tempo, country flavored, song, “He Could Have Saved Himself” is another must listen!
  • The album starts on a strong note with the up-tempo, “Come Drink Of This Water”.  This also has classic Perry Sisters written all over it.
  • The trio decide to give listeners several covers of previously recorded songs.  “Let The Wind Blow” is given a funky vibe compared to the original (recorded in 1994).
  • One of the group’s first big hits was 1986’s, “I Wonder How Mary Felt”.  I know it was the first song I remember from the group.  Diana gives it a nice remake without taking too much away from the original arrangement.
  • Newest member, April Carroll, is allowed to shine on a new song, “I Have To Believe”.  The song given a bit of praise treatment.
  • Strongest songs included in order:  “Go Tell”, “He Could Have Saved Himself”, “I Wonder How Mary Felt”, “Come Drink Of This Water”, “Let The Wind Blow”, “I Have To Believe” and “The Price Of One Crown”.
CRITIQUE:
  • I’ve never been too keen on songs that mention God as the man upstairs.  Trivial, but a pet peeve of mine.
  • The album closes with a song clocking in at six and a half minutes.
  • Weakest songs included in order:  “Tell It To The Man Upstairs” and “A Willing Vessel”.

WRAP UP:

The Perry Sisters have been providing Southern Gospel listeners with over 40 years of music.  With several hiatus during that 40 years, they are back and sounding better than ever.  What a great way to start 2018!

SONG (tempo)/Featured Vocalist – Songwriter:  1. “Come Drink Of This Water” (Fast)/Diana – Diana Gillette  2. “Go Tell” (Mid)/Diana – Diana Gillette  3. “I Wonder How Mary Felt” (Slow)/Diana – Diana Gillette  4. “A Know So Kind Of Feelin” (Fast)/Diana – Diana Gillette  5. “The Price Of One Crown” (Slow)/Nicole; Diana – Diana Gillette  6. “He Could Have Saved Himself” (Mid)/Diana – Diana Gillette  7. “Tell It To The Man Upstairs” (Fast)/Diana – Diana Gillette  8. “I Have To Believe” (Mid)/April – Rita Springer  9. “Let The Wind Blow” (Fast)/Diana – Diana Gillette  10. “A Willing Vessel” (Slow)/Diana – Diana Gillette

Silence The Stones: 11th Hour

GRADE:  B+

  • Album:  Silence The Stones
  • Artist:  11th Hour
  • Label:  Sonlite
  • Style:  Progressive
  • Release Date:  11/10/17
  • Digital Download:  Yes (Apple Music)
  • Running Time:  36 Minutes

SYNOPSIS:

Today we take a look at the newest album from 11th Hour, Silence The Stones.

This marks the sixth recording in 11th Hour’s recording career.  It also marks the fifth album to be released by Crossroads on the Sonlite Records label.

Silence The Stones is progressive Southern Gospel music at it’s best.  Group member Amber Eppinette contributed to four songs on the album while other member Jaquita Lindsey wrote the closing number.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • “Power In Prayer” immediately stood out to me upon first listen to Silence The Stones.  After several more listens, this blues infused number remained the best song on the recording.  Amber’s commanding lead/soprano vocals continue to impress on this newest effort.
  • Amber is also featured on a song she co-wrote titled “I’d Like To Meet The Preacher”.  This song is a bit different from most of your ‘thank you preacher’ type songs.  It says, ‘I want to meet the preacher who prayed for the preacher who prayed for me’.  Give it a listen.
  • Lead vocalist Grant Gibson slows it down on the best ballad from the album, “Hallelujah”.  This praise style song is modern-day progressive Southern Gospel music.  Probably a too bit progressive for Southern Gospel radio.
  • Grant and Amber trade verses on the album’s up-tempo title track, “Silence The Stones”.  I see this song landing at Southern Gospel radio sometime in 2018.
  • The majority of the up-tempo songs on Silence The Stones fall in to what I call ‘hard driving’.  Think the Martins at the height of their career.  That sound is most evident on “God Will Deliver Me” and “I’ll Be The First One”.
  • Grant slows it down again on the retrospective, “I Want You Beside Me”.
  • Can’t leave the review without mentioning the closing number both written and performed by group member Jaquita Lindsey, “Let Grace In”.
  • Strongest songs included in order:  “Power In Prayer”, “Hallelujah”, “I’d Like To Meet The Preacher”, “I Want You Beside Me”, “God Will Deliver Me”, “Silence The Stones” and “I’ll Be The First One”.
CRITIQUE:
  • I’m surprised the record label would choose the weakest up-tempo song on the album as the first single.  Maybe they thought is sounded the most Southern Gospel friendly.
  • After several listens, Silence The Stones doesn’t quite match the caliber of the group’s previous effort, What A Moment.
  • Weakest songs included in order:  “I Want To Praise Him” and “Doin’ What’s Right”.

WRAP UP:

11th Hour has made strides to become one of the best vocal trios in Southern Gospel music.  The music they are providing listeners justifies why they deserve to be regarded as such.  Don’t let the year close without listening to Silence The Stones.

SONG/Featured Vocalist – Songwriter:  1. “Doin’ What’s Right”/Amber – Lee Black, Devin McGlamery, Nathan Woodard  2. “God Will Deliver Me“/Grant – Phil Cross, Cassie Hyle  3. “I’d Like To Meet The Preacher“/Amber – Jason Cox, Amber Eppinette, Kenna West  4. “I Want To Praise Him”/Jaquita – Daryl Williams  5. “Hallelujah”/Grant – Jon Azzarello  6. “I’ll Be The First One”/Amber – Jason Cox, Amber Eppinette, Kenna West  7. “Silence The Stones”/Grant; Amber – Jason Cox, Amber Eppinette, Kenna West  8. “Power In Prayer”/Amber – Amber Eppinette, Don Poythress, Donnie Skaggs, Kenna West  9. “I Want You Beside Me”/Grant – Phil Cross  10. “Let Grace In”/Jaquita – Jaquita Lindsey

Still The Same: Whisnants

GRADE:  B+

  • Album:  Still The Same
  • Artist:  Whisnants
  • Label:  UIA
  • Style:  Traditional
  • Release Date:  09/29/17
  • Digital Download:  No
  • Running Time:  42 Minutes

SYNOPSIS:

Today we take a look at the latest album from the Whisnants, Still The Same.

The Whisnants career has now spanned 40 years.  Jeff Whisnant has been with the group since the beginning.  They have been providing Southern Gospel listeners traditional Southern Gospel music during their career.

The group has built a successful career around lead/alto vocalist, Susan Whisnant.  She has been at the forefront of the majority of the Whisnants #1 songs.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • I have to first give kudos to Trey Ivey who produced what may very well be the best sounding Whisnants recording to date.  His arrangements are also stellar.
  • It is no surprise Susan Whisnant has the stand out track on Still The Same.  “Keep Me Close” is a personal reflection type song that all Christians can relate.
  • Susan is also featured on a uniquely titled song, “Keep Counting Stars”.  This Sandy Blythe penned tune recounts the story of Abraham waiting for a son and spending time counting stars.
  • Listeners are treated to a crying steel guitar on three songs from Still The Same.  Thank you!  Jeff happens to be featured on all three.  “I’ve Seen What It Can Do” is the strongest of the three and should be considered for radio single possibilities.
  • Jeff also re-records the Mark Lanier classic, “The Ground Is Level”.  The song was made popular by the Bibletones when Mark Lanier was a member.  Mark then took the song to Perfect Heart when he joined them in the early ’90’s.
  • Lead/tenor vocalist Aaron Hise gets to shine on the up-tempo “Caught Away”.  This song is going to make a fun live concert tune.
  • Producer Trey Ivey makes a special vocal appearance on Still The Same with his performance of “Faithful”.  A definite must listen!
  • Strongest songs included in order:  “Keep Me Close”, “Caught Away”, “Faithful”, “I’ve Seen What It Can Do”, “The Ground Is Level”, “Keep Counting Stars”, “He’s Never Moved” and “The Last Time I Saw Him”.
CRITIQUE:
  • While I enjoyed Trey’s piano interlude on the group’s cover of the Cathedral classic, “I’m Gonna Live Forever”; the arrangement didn’t quite fit the Whisnants.  The piano work reminded me of something one would find in a Charlie Brown holiday special!
  • The Whisnants hiding such a strong recording by not having it available for digital download.  I still don’t get it.
  • Weakest songs included in order:  “Why” and “I’m Gonna Live Forever”.

WRAP UP:

It is amazing how a specific producer can make a group sound.  The production work of Trey Ivey may have given the Whisnants one of the best sounding recordings of their career.  The Whisnants also win points on song selection!

SONG/Featured Vocalist – Songwriter:  1. “He’s Never Moved”/Ensemble – Wendy Ferguson, Joseph Habedank, Devin McGlamery  2. “Keep Me Close“/Susan – Monty Lane Allen, Reba Rambo McGuire, Tery Wilkins  3. “I’ve Seen What It Can Do“/Ensemble; Jeff – Rodney Griffin  4. “Caught Away”/Aaron – Janice Crow  5. “Why”/Susan – Jim Brady, Melissa Brady  6. “The Lord Has Stood By Me”/Jeff – Kyla Rowland  7. “I’m Gonna Live Forever”/Aaron – Shirley Cantrell  8. “Keep Counting Stars”/Susan – Sandy Blythe  9. “The Last Time I Saw Him”/Jeff – Niles Borop, Sue C Smith, Dianne Wilkinson  10. “Faithful”/Trey Ivey – Joel Galloway, Megan Mulnix  11. “The Ground Is Level”/Jeff – Mark Lanier  12. “Lord Of All Of Me”/Susan – Rachel McCutcheon, Dale Spencer

Questions & Answers: Mercy’s Well

GRADE:  B+

  • Album:  Questions & Answers
  • Artist:  Mercy’s Well
  • Label:  Custom
  • Style:  Traditional, Progressive
  • Release Date:  09/22/17
  • Digital Download:  Yes (Apple Music)
  • Running Time:  41 Minutes

SYNOPSIS:

Today we take a look at the latest album from Mercy’s Well, Questions & Answers.

The North Carolina based trio took previously released songs and made them sound brand new.  What also made the album so enjoyable is they mainly chose songs that haven’t been recorded 1,000 times before.

If you’ve never been introduced to the music of Mercy’s Well, the trio is composed of Brad Strider (tenor), Jake Wood (lead) and Greg Gainer (baritone).

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • I so enjoyed hearing song covers that haven’t been over recorded.  “At The Name Of Jesus” was first recorded by New Journey in 1993 and Glen Payne heard New Journey perform the song and had to record it himself, which the Cathedrals did (High And Lifted Up).  Mercy’s Well makes the song sound like their own!
  • Other artists, take note.  “Who Am I” is not the only song written by Rusty Goodman.  Mercy’s Well covers one of my favorite Rusty Goodman solo singles, “Jesus Knows All About It”.  Hit repeat!
  • The album kicks off with the trio covering a Hinsons song from 1979, “Who Do You Know”.  I am not aware of any other artist ever covering this song.  Again, Mercy’s Well makes it sound brand new!
  • Of all the songs with the title “Jesus Saves”, again Mercy’s Well chooses one that has not been covered by other artists.  The group goes with the song penned by Joel Hemphill and originally recorded by the Hemphills in 1986 (I Can Smile).
  • The trio also takes Lanny Wolfe’s classic, “Seeking For Me” and absolutely gives it a new arrangement making for a strong Southern Gospel radio single choice.
  • The first single from Questions & Answers is a Heaven Bound classic from 1985, “When We Make It To The Other Side”.  An absolutely awesome Southern Gospel ‘barn burner’.
  • The arrangements and song selection on Questions & Answers is some of the best I’ve heard in 2017!
  • Strongest songs included in order:  “At The Name Of Jesus”, “Jesus Knows All About It”, “Seeking For Me”, “Who Do You Know”, “Jesus Saves”, “When We Make It To The Other Side”, “Who Do You Think” and “Keeper Of The Well”.
CRITIQUE:
  • The group didn’t quite score 100% on the song cover choices.  They did decide to record the over recorded “Sheltered In The Arms Of God”.
  • Mercy’s Well also decided to record a Michael W Smith Praise/Worship song, “Shine On Us”, to close out the recording; that didn’t quite fit the rest of the album.
  • Weakest songs included in order:  “Sheltered In The Arms Of God” and “Shine On Us”.

WRAP UP:

Mercy’s Well knows what they are doing when it comes to recording previously recorded songs.  This may be one of the best albums of song covers I’ve heard.  It is also one of the most enjoyable listens of 2017!

SONG/Featured Vocalist – Songwriter:  1. “Who Do You Know”/Jake – Kenny Hinson, Larry Hinson, Ronny Hinson  2. “At The Name Of Jesus“/Greg – Pamela Hall  3. “Who Do You Think“/Ensemble; Jake – Don Reid, Harold Reid  4. “When We Make It To The Other Side”/Ensemble – Jeff Gibson  5. “Sheltered In The Arms Of God”/Brad – Jimmie Davis, Dottie Rambo  6. “Seeking For Me”/Jake; Brad – Lanny Wolfe  7. “Jesus Knows All About It”/Greg – Rusty Goodman  8. “Jesus Saves”/Brad – Joel Hemphill  9. “I’ll Be So Happy There”/Ensemble; Brad – Lari Goss  10. “Thinking About Home”/Jake – Terry Toler  11. “Keeper Of The Well”/Brad; Ensemble – Dottie Rambo  12. “Shine On Us”/Ensemble – Deborah Smith, Michael W Smith

Renewed: Second-Half Quartet

GRADE:  B-

  • Album:  Renewed
  • Artist:  Second-Half Quartet
  • Label:  Custom
  • Style:  Traditional
  • Release Date:  06/02/17
  • Digital Download:  No
  • Running Time:  39 Minutes

SYNOPSIS:

Today we take a look at the latest album from tribute band the Second-Half Quartet, Renewed.

The Second-Half quartet was formed to honor the heritage of the classic quartet sound with (4) singers and a piano player.  This is the second album to be released by the group.

The Second-Half Quartet is composed of Chris Allman (tenor), Rodney Griffin (lead), Mark Trammell (baritone), Pat Barker (bass) and Gerald Wolfe (pianist).

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • I would much prefer new songs done in this classic quartet style than so many song covers.
  • The two new songs on Renewed are the best songs on the album.  The album’s first radio single is the up-tempo, “During The Rapture”.  The quartet harmonies are strong.
  • The second new song is also an up-tempo number, “You’re Gonna Live When You Die”.  This will end up at radio at some point considering it is the only other new song on the recording.  Pat is able to show off on this particular number.
  • Of the song covers found on Renewed, the quartet turns in a nice rendition of the Leroy Abernathy classic; “Miracles Will Happen On That Day”.
  • I also enjoyed hearing the quartet cover the Dianne Wilkinson penned, “I’m In The Shadow”.  Here is a song that has not been recorded 100 times before.
  • There are better versions of the song out there, but Pat and Chris still make for an enjoyable listen on the group’s cover of “God Delivers Again”.
  • Strongest songs included in order:  “During The Rapture”, “You’re Gonna Live When You Die”, “Miracles Will Happen On That Day”, “I’m In The Shadow”, “God Delivers Again” and “Crown Him King”.
CRITIQUE:
  • Sadly with the majority of the song covers, my mind immediately went to the better version; either original or better cover.
  • That happened with two Cathedral classics; “Sin Will Take You Farther” and “Wedding Music”.
  • And I do not want to hear another cover of Rusty Goodman’s, “Who Am I”.  If I want to hear this song I will queue up Rusty’s version.
  • Weakest songs included in order:  “Wedding Music”, “Who Am I” and “John The Revelator”.

WRAP UP:

This album is a tough call.  By not being available for digital download, the listener doesn’t have the option of only adding the best songs from the album to their musical playlists.  As already mentioned, I would have preferred new songs done in this classic quartet style than what was offered.

SONG/Featured Vocalist – Songwriter:  1. “During The Rapture”/Ensemble – Rodney Griffin, Scott Inman  2. “Crown Him King“/Ensemble – Luther G Presley, Wally Varner  3. “Wedding Music“/Ensemble; Pat – Phil Cross, Kirk Talley  4. “Alone In The Garden”/Ensemble – Theodore Sisk  5. “I’m In The Shadow”/Mark – Dianne Wilkinson  6. “God Delivers Again”/Pat; Chris – Mike Payne  7. “Miracles Will Happen On That Day”/Ensemble; Rodney – Leroy Abernathy  8. “Who Am I”/Pat – Rusty Goodman  9. “John The Revelator”/Ensemble – Rusty Goodman  10. “Sin Will Take You Farther”/Mark – Harold McWhorter  11. “You’re Gonna Live When You Die”/Pat – Chris Allman, Rodney Griffin  12. “Far Above The Starry Sky”/Ensemble; Chris – Theodore Sisk

Between Here And Heaven: Booth Brothers

GRADE:  B+

  • Album:  Between Here And Heaven
  • Artist:  Booth Brothers
  • Label:  Gaither Gospel Series
  • Style:  Progressive, Inspirational
  • Release Date:  01/03/17
  • Digital Download:  Yes
  • Running Time:  43 Minutes

SYNOPSIS:

Today we take a look at the ghost album from the Booth Brothers, Between Here And Heaven.

The album, which was supposed to be released under the Gaither Gospel Series was made available on the group’s website the end of 2016.  The album never received any promotion, wasn’t widely released by Gaither and to my knowledge only made available to one retail outlet.

All that would seem like non-success but Between Here And Heaven went on to win album of the year at the 2017 edition of the Singing News fan awards.  Because of that I thought it would finally be time to review this album, which I’ve been sitting on since the beginning of the year.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • The stand out songs on Between Here And Heaven are covers.  I named “He Heals” one of the best recorded songs of 2014 in my annual countdown.  The original recorded by Legacy Five.  Michael turns in a beautiful performance of the song, which is one of the best on the album!
  • Paul Lancaster re-records a song he made popular during his tenure with Palmetto State Quartet; “A Moment Of Grace”.  This is another must listen.
  • Between Here And Heaven lacks up-tempo songs but the one up-tempo bright spot is the Mosie Lister penned, “Come And See The Man”.  This hearkens back to the Booth Brothers early days in the industry.
  • Each member take the lead on a verse of “Grace Divine”.  An awesome Lee Black/Gina Boe co-write.  If the group decides to release a radio single from the album, this is it!
  • The album starts off with “That Says It All”, a song Ronnie recorded on a solo recording a decade ago.  This song is the definition of the Booth Brothers style.
  • The trio tackle the 1994 Steven Curtis Chapman CCM hit, “Facts Are Facts”.  The only other up-tempo song on the album and this rollicking cover by the Booth Brothers is fun and will have you singing along.
  • The Booth Brothers continue to prove why they remain one of the most popular groups in Southern Gospel music.
  • Strongest songs included in order:  “He Heals”, “A Moment Of Grace”, “Grace Divine”, “Come And See The Man”, “Stop The Storm”, “That Says It All” and “Facts Are Facts”.
CRITIQUE:
  • “Until The Time Comes To Leave” orchestration sounds like something that should be on some generic Christmas album.  The musical interlude that comes at the end is way too long.
  • As already mentioned, the pacing of the album is slow.  Eight of the ten songs on the album are in the slow to mid-tempo range.
  • Weakest songs included in order:  “It Is No Secret” and “Until The Times Comes To Go”.

WRAP UP:

Why did Gaither shelve this recording?  It is consistent with what listeners have come to expect from the Booth Brothers.  Did the album deserve to win album of the year at the 2017 edition of the Singing News fan awards?  Sure.  It is as good as any of the other albums that were nominated.

SONG/Featured Vocalist – Songwriter:  1. “That Says It All”/Ronnie – Mosie Lister  2. “Between Here And Heaven“/Michael – Gina Boe, Joseph Habedank, Tony Wood  3. “Stop The Storm“/Paul – Rebecca Bowman, Joseph Habedank, Sonya Isaacs Yeary  4. “Come And See The Man”/Ensemble – Mosie Lister  5. “He Heals”/Michael – Jennifer Layne, Don Poythress  6. “A Moment Of Grace”/Paul – Joe Wesley Gordon  7. “Grace Divine”/Michael; Ronnie; Paul – Lee Black, Gina Boe  8. “Facts Are Facts”/Paul – Steven Curtis Chapman  9. “It Is No Secret”/Ronnie – Stuart Hamblen  10. “Until The Time Comes To Leave”/Ronnie; Paul – Woody Wright

Live Again: Susan Whisnant

GRADE:  B-

  • Album:  Live Again
  • Artist:  Susan Whisnant
  • Label:  UIA
  • Style:  Traditional; Progressive
  • Release Date:  08/04/17
  • Digital Download:  Yes
  • Running Time:  49 Minutes

SYNOPSIS:

Today we take a look at the latest solo recording from Susan Whisnant, Live Again.

Live Again becomes Susan’s second solo recording.  It has been a decade since her first solo album, For The Life Of Me.

Susan is the alto/lead vocalist for her family group, the Whisnants.  Live Again is a nice mix of traditional and progressive Southern Gospel sounds.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Susan got the help of several Southern Gospel friends to do background vocals on the album.  It adds an extra touch, than just having one voice record thirteen new songs.
  • The stand out track on Live Again is the country flavored, “Noah”.  Songwriter Monty Lane Allen helps with some background vocals that is also the strongest choice for radio single.
  • Susan consistently provides Whisnant listeners her standard ballad that have become big hits with the Whisnants.  She continues that trend with this solo effort.  “The Father Knew” is the biggest with background vocals provided by Karen Peck and Kim Hopper.
  • The first radio single from Live Again is another strong ballad, “I Prayed Through It”.  Prayer is key in our day-to-day lives and through life’s biggest struggles.
  • Chris Allman is given a feature on the second verse of another must listen, “This Is Why”.  This is another strong choice for radio single possibilities.
  • Up-tempo songs are few and far between on Live Again.  Along with “Noah”, I would give “A Lot Out Of A Little” a listen.
  • Strongest songs included in order:  “Noah”, “The Father Knew”, “This Is Why”, “I Prayed Through It”, “A Lot Out Of A Little”, “You Can Live Again” and “Covering Of Grace”.
CRITIQUE:
  • The baby giggle recorded at the beginning of “Let Them Be Little” is a bit terrifying.  Sounds like something I’ve heard in horror movies.
  • Listener fatigue definitely sets in by the time one gets to the end of the thirteen song recording.  Susan could have cut the three weakest songs from the album.
  • That is where pacing also comes into play.  Ten of the thirteen songs is in the slow to mid-tempo range.
  • Weakest songs included in order:  “Let Them Be Little”, “Faith In Place” and “Treasure”.

WRAP UP:

Susan Whisnant is one of the best female vocalists in Southern Gospel music.  She has been at the forefront of the Whisnants radio successes with her stirring vocals.  There are some strong moments on Live Again that warrant a listen.

SONG/Background Vocalists – Songwriter:  1. “You Can Live Agian”/Chris Allman – Karen Gillespie, Marcia Henry  2. “I Prayed Through It“/Monty Lane Allen – Marcia Henry, Barbara Huffman  3. “A Lot Out Of A Little”/Jim Brady; Paul Lancaster – Karen Gillespie, Helga Kaefer, Rachel McCutcheon  4. “The Father Knew”/Karen Peck Gooch; Kim Hopper – Rachel McCutcheon  5. “Let Them Be Little”/Jeff Whisnant – Billy Dean, Richie McDonald  6. “Noah”/Monty Lane Allen – Monty Lane Allen  7. “Faith In Place”/Chris Allman – Barbara Huffman  8. “Treasure”/Kennedy Hayes; Wendy Hayes – Marcia Henry, Susan Whisnant  9. “This Is Why”/Chris Allman – Rachel McCutcheon, Dixie Phillips  10. “Love Them While They’re Here” – Jeff Bumgardner  11. “Fear Not”/Jim Brady; Paul Lancaster – Wendy Ferguson, Marcia Henry  12. “Covering Of Grace”/Monty Lane Allen – Monty Lane Allen  13. “Every Door You Closed” – Adina Bowman, Kristi Fitzwater, Brian Principe