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

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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

Still: Greater Vision

GRADE:  B+

  • Album:  Still
  • Artist:  Greater Vision
  • Label:  Daywind
  • Style:  Traditional
  • Release Date:  08/04/17
  • Digital Download:  No
  • Running Time:  44 Minutes

SYNOPSIS:

Today we take a look at the latest album from Greater Vision, Still.

Greater Vision is coming up on 27 years in Southern Gospel music.  Still marks the 45th recording the group has given listeners in those 27 years.

Still also marks the first Greater Vision recording to not include Gerald Wolfe vocally.  Instead, listeners are treated to newest vocal member Jon Epley.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Chris Allman proves why he was voted favorite tenor vocalist at this year’s Singing News fan awards.  He has all the best features on Still.
  • The stand out track is the up-tempo, “Rolled Back Stone”.  This Lee Black/Dianne Wilkinson co-write is a future hit in the making.  Chris performs it perfectly.
  • I can hear Marcia Henry’s touch on the Rodney Griffin co-write, “Nothing To See”.  Kudos to the arrangers who decided to use a crying steel guitar on this country flavored song. Another Chris feature that I absolutely enjoy!
  • Chris also performs his own composition, “God Doesn’t Care”.  The message contained in this song makes it one of the strongest on the recording.  God doesn’t care where you’ve been or what you’ve done.
  • The album’s first radio single features and was also written by Rodney.  “Still” is a proclamation type song that may very well top the Southern Gospel radio singles chart.
  • Newest member, Jon Epley, takes the second verse on the up-tempo, “All The Above”.  One you will want to add to your musical playlist.
  • Its been 20 years since Greater Vision recorded “Common Garments”.  Listeners are treated to a cover of what I consider to be one of Griffin’s greatest compositions.
  • Strongest songs included in order:  “Rolled Back Stone”, “God Doesn’t Care”, “Nothing To See”, “Still”, “All The Above”, “Common Garments”, “His Grave Wrote The Song” and “I Believe It All”.
CRITIQUE:
  • Greater Vision has decided not to make Still available for digital download; not even from their website.  I still don’t understand the reasoning.  I will venture to say that it will be made available at some point, but the newness of the recording will be long passed by then.
  • Have to admit, I missed not having at least one Gerald feature on a Greater Vision recording.  Will have to get used to that.
  • Weakest songs included in order:  “Forgiven By The Lord” and “Jesus Stood”.

WRAP UP:

Greater Vision has had a consistent trend of top-notch recordings.  For any listener who thinks Greater Vision is past their prime recording years; I would have to argue the opposite.  This decade has provided some of the trio’s strongest albums.

SONG/Featured Vocalist – Songwriter:  1. “There Is Hope”/Chris – Chris Allman, Rodney Griffin  2. “Still“/Rodney – Rodney Griffin  3. “Rolled Back Stone“/Chris – Lee Black, Dianne Wilkinson  4. “I Believe It All”/Ensemble; Chris – Janice Crow  5. “God Doesn’t Care”/Chris – Chris Allman  6. “His Grave Wrote The Song”/Ensemble; Jon – Rodney Griffin  7. “Jesus Stood”/Rodney – Rodney Griffin  8. “Forgiven By The Lord”/Chris – Chris Allman  9. “Common Garments”/Rodney – Rodney Griffin  10. “All The Above”/Ensemble; Jon – Rodney Griffin, Babbie Mason  11. “Nothing To See”/Chris – Rodney Griffin, Marcia Henry  12. “The Gospel”/Rodney – Chris Allman

We Have This Moment: Gaither Vocal Band

GRADE:  B+

  • Album:  We Have This Moment
  • Artist:  Gaither Vocal Band
  • Label:  Spring House Productions
  • Style:  Progressive, Inspirational
  • Release Date:  10/13/17
  • Digital Download:  Yes (Apple Music)
  • Running Time:  50 Minutes

SYNOPSIS:

Today we take a look at the new album from the Gaither Vocal Band, We Have This Moment.

The Vocal Band has seen their fair share of personnel shifts the last couple of years.  The vocal line-up on We Have This Moment includes Wes Hampton (tenor), Adam Crabb (lead/baritone), Reggie Smith (baritone/lead), Todd Suttles (bass/baritone) and Bill Gaither (baritone/harmony vocals).

We Have This Moment gives current listeners a taste of the Vocal Band style in the mid/late 1980’s.  The group’s progressive Southern Gospel sounds are combined with the inspirational sounds of the mid ’80’s group to create this newest recording.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • The album kicks off on a strong note with the fun, up-tempo, “Hallelujah Band”.  The song was chosen as the first radio single from the album and it is definitely the best choice.
  • Another fun song, “Manna From Heaven”, has a 40’s flair.  Todd Suttles gets to show off a bit on a song that would translate well to the concert stage.
  • Wes goes into falsetto mode on his stand out feature, “Livin’ In The Rhythm Of Grace”.  This inspirational country-style tune is one that could find a home on Southern Gospel radio.
  • Adam is featured on the modern country, praise/worship style song, penned by father Gerald Crabb; “You Amaze Me”.  Adam originally recorded this song with his own group, Crabb Revival.
  • Big production style songs are evident on We Have This Moment.  Songs like “Hymn Of Praise” and “Man Of Sorrows” will please your palate, if you enjoy this style of song.
  • Todd and Adam trade verses on the Bill and Gloria classic, “I’ll Worship Only At The Feet Of Jesus”.
  • Kudos to Gordon Mote for co-producing We Have This Moment with Bill Gaither.  Captured the excitement of a live Gaither Vocal Band experience on a studio recording.
  • Strongest songs included in order:  “Hallelujah Band”, “Manna From Heaven”, “Livin’ In The Rhythm Of Grace”, “Man Of Sorrows”, “You Amaze Me”, “Hymn Of Praise”, “We Are The Sands We Are The Stars” and “I’ll Worship Only At The Feet Of Jesus”.
CRITIQUE:
  • Another version of “Chain Breaker”.  See the Freemans review from earlier in the week.
  • The Gaither Vocal Band go all praise/worship on the Chris Tomlin cover, “Jesus Messiah”.  No thank you.
  • “We Are All God’s Children” also crosses too far on the inspirational spectrum to be enjoyable.
  • Weakest songs included in order:  “Jesus Messiah” and “We Are All God’s Children”.

WRAP UP:

The Gaither Vocal Band has consistently been the highest selling artist in Southern Gospel music, with each album release.  I have no doubt We Have This Moment will also sell a ton of records for the group.

SONG/Featured Vocalist – Songwriter:  1. “Hallelujah Band”/Ensemble – Becca Mizell, Sam Mizell  2. “Man Of Sorrows“/Reggie; Ensemble – Phillip Bliss  3. “Livin’ In The Rhythm Of Grace“/Wes – William J Gaither, Larry Gatlin  4. “I’ll Worship Only At The Feet Of Jesus”/Todd; Adam; Reggie – Gloria Gaither, William J Gaither, JD Miller  5. “Chain Breaker”/Adam – Mia Fieldes, Jonathan Smith, Zach Williams  6. “Manna From Heaven”/Todd; Ensemble – Chip Davis, William J Gaither, Dony McGuire, Reba Rambo McGuire  7. “We Are The Sands, We Are The Stars”/Todd – Gloria Gaither, Dony McGuire, Reba Rambo McGuire  8. “We Are All God’s Children”/Ensemble – Benjy Gaither, Todd Suttles, Sarah Beth Terry  9. “Jesus Messiah”/Wes; Adam – Daniel Carson, Ed Cash, Jesse Reeves, Chris Tomlin  10. “You Amaze Me”/Adam – Gerald Crabb  11. “We Have This Moment Today”/Bill – Gloria Gaither, William J Gaither  12. “Hymn Of Praise”/Wes; Reggie – Gloria Gaither, William J Gaither, Gordon Mote