CD Review: Gold City (Revival)

RATING: 4 1/2 Stars

Label: New Haven Records
Producers: Michael Sykes, Michael English, Daniel Riley, Ken Harding, and Dave Lehman
Website: www.goldcityqt.com

Song Titles: “Ain’t That What It’s All About,” “Preach The Word,” “God’s Still God,” “Look Who Just Checked In,” “Truth Is Marching On,” “That’s What I’m Talking About,” “Teach Me Lord To Wait,” “Not Anymore,” “Mercy Came Running,” and “I’m Rich”

Six tracks on Gold City‘s Revival feature a power blend of vocals with Country influenced tracks of a compatible flair. “Ain’t That What It’s All About,” “God’s Still God,” “Look Who Just Checked In,” “That’s What I’m Talking About,” “Not Anymore,” and “I’m Rich” are all excellent, giving group members individual opportunities to be featured while maintaining a consistent musical focus. If you consider the Oak Ridge Boys’ sound from the last five years and imagine the pitch shifted up half an octave, you’ll get a pretty good idea of the prevailing Gold City Revival sound. Of these, the standouts are the remakes “Ain’t That What It’s All About,” originally recorded by the Hinsons, and “I’m Rich,” which has been re-interpreted over the years by a number of artists ranging from the Nelons to Jessy Dixon. “Look Who Just Checked In” also deserves a mention. It’s a modern Christmas song written by Stephen Hill and Daryl Williams that seems tailor made for a male quartet (unlike many Christmas arrangements adapted for male quartets). Gold City has helped introduce Christmas songs of this type before…you may recall “That Little Baby.”

The other Revival tracks go in contrasting musical directions. A pop/inspo production approach complimented by one of Steve Mauldin’s string orchestrations provides the backdrop for “Preach The Word,” a big ballad for tenor Steve Ladd. “Truth Is Marching On” is the second power ballad on Revival, featuring Daniel Riley. This song starts meekly with a light acoustic guitar intro, adds keys/strings followed by a lightly sung first verse, a strong chorus, a bigger verse/chorus, and ending with a huge bridge/chorus. “Teach Me Lord To Wait” steps back in time with a traditional string orchestra feel and features Aaron McCune. Finally, the Revival arrangment of “Mercy Came Running” is pretty much the same as the original version by Phillips, Craig, and Dean. Gold City’s version is set apart by the addition of a bass singer in the mix.

Songs like “Preach The Word” and “Truth Is Marching On” are as solid as you’ll hear anywhere, even though the musical approach differs from the majority of songs on Revival. “Teach Me Lord To Wait” is the only selection that feels somewhat out of place. As a standalone track, it’s very good, but I think it would have been better suited for McCune if it appeared on a Palmetto State recording. It’s in the style of a “White Christmas” type soundtrack from a Bing Crosby Christmas special and McCune’s choppy vocal interpretation runs counter to the smooth flowing accompaniment.

When I saw Daniel Riley a few weeks ago, he told me he wanted Revival to introduce a new direction for Gold City, but not abandon the expectations of existing fans in the process. I believe he’s accomplished that goal. Gold City fans will like Revival if they possess a reasonable tolerance for change, variety, and more specifically if this “Gold City goes Country” approach suits their personal tastes. It’s worth noting that while Revival may contrast recordings like Walk The Talk and First Class, it’s really not so different from Heaven.

Category CD Reviews

David Bruce Murray

<p>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 SGHistory.com and MusicScribe.com. David plays piano for Southern Sounds Quartet and the Foothills Community Choir.</p>

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6 Comments

  1. ChrisUnthank
    Reply October 02, 17:51 #1 ChrisUnthank

    I absolutely can’t get enough of “Preach the Word” or “Truth Is Marching On.”

    This is a very very very good recording.




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  2. Southern Gospel Perspective
    Reply October 03, 15:52 #2 Southern Gospel Perspective

    It’s funny to me that the tracks you think are contrasting are my three favorite on the CD.

    I tend to prefer variety on a CD rather than having a “theme” approach anyway. Themes seem to be too limiting of song selection. Different strokes though.

    This is one great CD. The best I’ve bought this year.




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  3. David Bruce Murray
    Reply October 03, 16:43 #3 David Bruce Murray

    I agree with Chris that “Preach The Word” and “Truth Is Marching On” are two great tracks.

    “Mercy Came Running” is very good as well, Sure, it interrupts the stylistic flow of the CD a bit, but I don’t dislike the track at all.

    The CD lost half a star mainly due to “Teach Me Lord To Wait.” While it isn’t a bad cut, it just doesn’t quite measure up to the rest of the CD.




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  4. Anonymous
    Reply October 04, 17:39 #4 Anonymous

    Choppy? Good thing that reviews are in the eye of the writer, because that is one smooth song…




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  5. David Bruce Murray
    Reply October 05, 00:30 #5 David Bruce Murray

    I also said the song was smooth…only the vocal is choppy.

    “Teach me Lord” break “to wait” etc.

    Reading comprehension goes a looooong way towards understanding these reviews.




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  6. J. Johnson
    Reply October 30, 21:02 #6 J. Johnson

    This is one of my favorite new CDs. I enjoy most of the tracks, except for “Teach Me Lord to Wait.” Until I re-read this review (which was the reason for me purchasing the CD in the first place!), I couldn’t figure out why that song didn’t sit well with me. It is because I kept wanting the notes to be held a tad longer – it is almost like a spoken word song.

    That said, it is a wonderful CD – I actually copied all the songs to my mp3 player, which I don’t normally do!




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