REASON FOR RANKING: The Kingsmen went in a different stylistic direction for They Don’t Know, than their previous effort Battle Cry. That was a smart move because there was no way they were gonna top the caliber of Battle Cry. The biggest travesty of They Don’t Know is not the stylistic shift but that it didn’t feature living legend, Ray Dean Reese.
FIVE BEST SONGS FROM THE ALBUM: (1) “Don’t Underestimate God’s Grace”; (2) “Hear The Word Of The Lord”; (3) “God Calls It Grace”; (4) “They Don’t Know (What The Lord Can Do)”; (5) “I’ll Sail Away Yonder”.
REASON FOR RANKING: It has been three years since Akins provided new music to listeners. Eyes On The Road contains one of the best recorded songs of the entire year, “Dying To Be With You”. The album also has some of the best songwriting to date from group members Nick and Eli Akin.
FIVE BEST SONGS FROM THE ALBUM: (1) “Dying To Be With You”; (2) “You’ll Never Break A Promise”; (3) “Eyes On The Road”; (4) “Seek First”; (5) “As For Me And My House”.
This week we take a look at the new album from Akins, Eyes On The Road.
It has been three years since Akins gave listeners new music with their 2014 release, Vintage. Eyes On The Road continues Akins country sound/style that separates them from the pack in Southern Gospel music.
Akins is a family band centering around the lead vocals of Nick Akin (lead/acoustic guitar). Eli Akin (harmony vocals/banjo/fiddle/acoustic/lead guitar) and David Akin (harmony vocals/pianist/bass guitar) round out the group.
Eyes On The Road starts off with some great up-tempo country sounds in the title track. If I’m not mistaken this is also the first radio single from the album. You may just be hitting repeat before continuing to the rest of the album.
Front man, Nick Akin contributed to all ten songs on the album. Hearing him interpret his own composition, “Dying To Be With You” is one of the strongest moments on the album. This is a must listen!
Another of Nick’s own compositions, “You’ll Never Break A Promise” is a modern country medium tempo standard and one you don’t want to overlook.
The family band present another great up-tempo song that is probably the most Southern Gospel friendly on the album; “Seek First”.
Father, David Akin, is featured on the album’s closing track, “As For Me And My House”. Another up-tempo number and one where the listener knows the featured vocalist lived the words he sung.
Nick, Eli and David share the vocals on another stand out track, “Down To Nothing”.
Kudos to the group on contributing to every song on the recording. From the writing, to the vocals, the arranging and the producing.
Strongest songs included in order: “Dying To Be With You”, “Eyes On The Road”, “You’ll Never Break A Promise”, “Seek First”, “As For Me And My House”, “Down To Nothing” and “The Lullaby”.
The country-style that Akins give listeners may not appeal to a swath of the Southern Gospel listener.
I thought a couple of songs tended to fall on the inspirational spectrum instead of sticking to the group’s country sound.
Weakest songs included in order: “I Need Your Love To Love Her” and “God Revive Us”.
Akins has been in my musical playlists since the release of their debut album, Good Tired (2008). They brought a style/sound that has been missing since the exit of the Mid South Boys. Eyes On The Road is another in a list of albums that gives listeners just that; a great country sound/style that should be embraced in Southern Gospel music.
SONG/Featured Vocalist – Songwriter:1. “Eyes On The Road”/Eli; Nick; David – David Akin, Eli Akin, Nick Akin, Whitney Akin 2. “Seek First“/Nick – Eli Akin, Nick Akin3. “I Need Your Love To Love Her“/Nick – David Akin, Eli Akin, Nick Akin, Whitney Akin 4. “You’ll Never Break A Promise”/Nick – Nick Akin 5. “Dying To Be With You”/Nick – Nick Akin 6. “Down To Nothing”/David; Nick; Eli – Nick Akin 7. “The Lullaby”/Eli – Eli Akin; Whitney Akin 8. “God Revive Us”/Nick – Nick Akin 9. “It All Comes Back”/Eli; Nick; David – David Akin, Eli Akin, Nick Akin, Whitney Akin 10. “As For Me And My House”/David – David Akin, Nick Akin
In the case of today’s post, a clone is an artist that duplicates, imitates or closely resembles another artist in appearance, performance or style.
Today’s post is not meant to be a bad thing (as in the myriad of carbon copy artists in the industry), but one that will take a Southern Gospel artist from the past and match them to an artist of today that best resembles/carries on the sound of the great artist of the past. I will continue this feature with several more posts.
Downings match is the Taylors
Florida Boys match is Freedom Quartet
Happy Goodmans match is the Perrys
Hinsons match is the Hinson Family
Mid South Boys match is Akins
Oak Ridge Boys match is Triumphant
So with the artists in today’s grouping, do you agree with my choices or do you feel other artists match closer to the great artists of the past?
Kicking off February as I do each month, providing readers the five most played Southern Gospel radio songs in my musical playlists the preceding month. The Gaither Vocal Band tops the list in February, while the Wisecarvers, Jeff & Sheri Easter, Akins and the Nelons round out the top five. Enjoy!
It is time to begin my annual count down of counting down the best Southern Gospel albums and recorded songs of the year. As mentioned yesterday, there were 44 new albums listened to and/or reviewed by me in 2014. Of those, I chose what I felt to be the twenty best.
To kick off the count down at #20 is Akins; Vintage. Akins left the comforts of a record label (Crossroads) to produce and record Vintage. As the title suggests, Vintage is a 12 song collection of all previously recorded songs. What sets this apart from the run-of-the-mill Southern Gospel table project is the arrangements Akins gives to these classic songs, making them sound original.
Akins not only recorded the vocals, but laid down all the musical tracks as well to produce one of the best “vintage” albums I have heard. The way they took the classic “Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee” and made it sound Akins (country), makes the song sound brand new.
Personal favorites from this recording include: “Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee”; “Revive Us Again”; “In The Sweet By And By”; “There Is Power In The Blood”, “He Looked Beyond My Fault”; “Nothing But The Blood”.
After listening to all 44 albums, I ranked every song on every album to come up with what I felt to be the best recorded songs in Southern Gospel music in the year 2014.
When the dust settled, the song to kick off the count down is a Dianne Wilkinson, quartet standard. The Mark Trammell Quartet also left the comforts of a major record label (Daywind) to release the best quartet album of their career in 2014; Your Walk Talks.
The one song that stood out to me is “When The King Comes To Claim His Throne”. From the first note you can hear Dianne all over it. It is reminiscent of a song she would have penned for the Cathedrals. This up tempo quartet standard even has the obligatory reprise that has you singing along before the song ends. I am glad Dianne is still pitching these style quartet songs.
Here is a YouTube clip (published by Nathan Shaw) of Mark Trammell Quartet performing the song ranked 20th among the best recorded in 2014. Enjoy!
Happy Monday! Today you get to vote on two more categories for the 1st annual Southern Gospel Views from the Back Row honors. That will leave us with four remaining categories that will wrap up this week. What is the best duo/trio and performing artist of 2014?
Duo/Trio of the year is any artist with no more than three vocalists. Performing artist (or touring artist) are those artists who are still selling out concert venues for 2014. While they may have not had new albums or hit singles this year, these five nominees were still among the most sought after in terms of purchasing concert tickets. There will be YouTube clips provided showcasing the five nominees in each category.
Today you get to decide the best radio single and song cover of 2014. Eligibility for radio single was any song that was a Southern Gospel chart hit between January 2014 and present. Song cover for 2014 had to be a previously recorded song covered by an artist on a 2014 album release. A musical mash up of each category highlights the nominees.
“I’ll Know I’m Home” – Jeff Crews/Dianne Wilkinson; recorded by the Kingdom Heirs (Redeeming The Time)
“Lead Me Home” – Randy Houser/Craig Monday; recorded by the Freemans (Voice In The Desert)
“Long Live The King” – Chris Binion/Dianne Wilkinson; recorded by Old Paths (These Truths)
“That’s Why” – Ernie Haase/Wayne Haun/Joel Lindsey; recorded by Ernie Haase & Signature Sound (Glorious Day)
“Whenever I Hear His Name” – Joseph Habedank/Marty Funderburk; recorded by the Hoskins Family (A Gathering)
“I Want To Be Like My Lord” – Down East Boys (Beyond The Blue); Jimmy Jones
“Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee” – Akins (Vintage); Henry Van Dyke
“Mercy Built A Bridge” – Dunaways (Church In The Kitchen); Ronny Hinson
“The Saving Kind” – Master’s Voice (Rescued From Religion); Linda Bolton
“When He Calls, I’ll Fly Away” – Talleys (The Test Of Time); Vep Ellis