CD Review: Mercy’s Well (Hymns)

RATING: 5 Stars

Producer: Donna Beauvais

Song Titles: “‘Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus,” “Nothing But The Blood (Still Saves The Lost),” “Jesus Saves,” “Haven Of Rest” (with “How Beautiful Heaven Must Be”), “Holy Manna,” “It Is Well With My Soul,” “A New Name In Glory/Just Over In The Gloryland,” “The Love Of God,” “When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder,” and “Jesus Is All The World To Me” (with “There’s Just Something About That Name”)

Reviewing CDs is so much easier when it’s obvious that attention has been given to getting every detail just right. Hymns, the new CD by Mercy’s Well, includes excellent vocals, arrangements, and production quality. Even the packaging quality is top notch…a pleasant surprise for a project that doesn’t appear to have any major label backing.

Mercy’s Well is a trio based out of Greensboro, NC comprised of Brad Strider, Greg Gainer, and Kyle Hake. Hymns adds a piano to the mix. That’s it. Three voices and a piano.

There’s a free flow to the arrangements. Chords don’t always go where you’d expect, and you’re not locked into a strict tempo from start to finish. After the CD opens with “‘Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus,” an original song by Chris Binion titled “Nothing But The Blood (Still Saves The Lost)” sets the tone for the rest of the recording. The lyric blends phrases from a dozen hymns or so. If you listen closely to the other songs, you’ll also notice the occasional phrase being borrowed. In “Jesus Saves,” there’s an acknowledgement of “Victory In Jesus,” for example. These little details give the arrangements a feeling of spontaneity.

I tend to gravitate to more rhythmic arrangements, so my favorite cuts are the opening number, “A New Name In Glory/Just Over In The Gloryland,” and “When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder.” The latter is a particularly enjoyable romp with an accompaniment that blends the styles of Harry Connick, Jr., Stan Whitmire, and Henry Butler.

Rather than regurgitating familiar songs with little thought, Mercy’s Well and producer Donna Beauvais went the extra mile to deliver something unique and worth hearing over and over. Credit should also go to Jason Webb and David Huntsinger for their work at the piano. Hymns is everything a collection of timeless classics should be.

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Category CD Reviews

David Bruce Murray

David Bruce Murray is a church music director in Ellenboro, NC. He is the author of Murray's Encyclopedia Of Southern Gospel Music and the owner of both and David plays piano for Southern Sounds Quartet and the Foothills Community Choir.

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