CD Mega Review: Gold City (Moment Of Truth)

Composite Rating: 4 stars

Label: New Haven Records
Producers: Michael Sykes & Daniel Riley
Song List:
“Don’t Get Me Started,” “What Children Believe,” “I Cast My Bread Upon The Water,” “For The Sake Of My Heart,” “Walkin’ And Talkin’ With My Lord,” “I Love This Land,” “I’ll Walk On,” “When Jesus Saves,” “By Your Grace, For Your Glory” and “Turn Your Back.”

Website: www.goldcityqt.com

Contributers:

Click “Read the rest of this entry” for the full review.

1. Don’t Get Me Started

Aaron Swain: Right from the get-go, Gold City treats us to both an uptempo, horn-driven song (like Gold City of old did it!), and a feature by their new lead singer Bruce Taliaferro. He does a great job on the first verse, but on the second verse, Steve Ladd shows how much he’s progressed since the days of First Class, when he first joined the group. As someone on another site put it, Steve Ladd has become a power tenor, very much in the style of Danny Funderburk. It is a marked improvement over his early days with Gold City, which turned me off to Gold City for a good while. I’m glad I took a chance on Revival, which was the beginning of his improvement, and he’s only gotten better! I hit the replay button often for this song.

Wes Burke: Uptempo song that really sets the pace for the album. This is also the song that is the most reminiscent of Revival. There’s some really nice harmony on the bridge, and the chorus has some interesting progressions. Bruce Taliaferro gets thrown to the wolves pretty quickly. Steve Ladd has progressed very well at the tenor spot. If you go back and listen to his early work with the Anchormen, like on Anticipation, it sounds like an entirely different person. Steve has improved by leaps and bounds.

David Bruce Murray: This brass punctuated arrangement paints new lead singer Bruce Taliaferro in a context Gold City fans will recognize. Positioning this cut first on the CD is a smart move.

Adam Edwards: WOW! What an introduction to Gold City’s new lead singer. Fun track.

2. What Children Believe

Aaron: Daniel Riley is featured on this country-style song. While not exactly a Gospel message, the song is very well done, and has a thought provoking message about the faith of a child.

Wes: Daniel Riley sings this country anthem. It’s a nice message, and a good performance, just a bit too country for me. That said, it would do well on secular country radio as a crossover song, though it was done once already by Shenandoah, I believe.

Adam: Daniel Riley has become one of my favorite baritones. He has one of the most pleasant voices in any quartet on the road today.

3. I Cast My Bread Upon The Water

DBM: “I Cast My Bread Upon The Water” provides a contrast to “Don’t Get Me Started.” Instead of the brass section, we get a blend of gritty guitars, fiddles, a touch of piano, and a familiar percussion pattern.

Aaron: The group’s current radio single is featured on this cut. This country arrangement works well on this song, and it’s another Daniel Riley feature on the first verse. Bruce Taliaferro takes the first half of the second verse, then Aaron McCune cranks out a bass feature that I think sounds like Richard Sterban’s lines on “You’re The One (In A Million).” Make the comparisons here and here.

Wes: This is a catchy song penned several years ago by Joel Hemphill. The current controversy around Hemphill not withstanding, this is a good song that is performed with a traditional country flavor. This sounds like something from the Free/Parker/Ritchie era of Gold City. This is definitely one of my favorites on the CD, and it really ratchets up after Steve Ladd takes the lead on the last two choruses. This song should shoot up the charts for Gold City. The ending leaves a bit to be desired, I would have like to have heard a nice high, power tag.

Adam: This song was my first exposure to the new Gold City (with Bruce instead of Jonathan leading the group). This was a great radio introduction to the new guy. Good song.

4. For The Sake Of My Heart

Aaron: Steve Ladd is featured on this slow song. Like I stated earlier, he is very much like Danny Funderburk in the fact that he is a power tenor. However, as this song proves, he can sing a slow song like Danny as well. Nice track.

DBM: Gold City explores the inspirational ballad genre with this Steve Ladd feature. This arrangement follows the successful formula that has worked so well for many artists in the past…light orchestration on the first verse followed by a steady build to a huge ending. The song holds few surprises, but the execution is great.

Wes: Big ballad featuring Steve Ladd on the verses. Steve does a great job, then the song turns up the intensity at the bridge when Bruce takes the lead and Steve jumps to a harmony part above him. The tag is nice with a wonderful staggered entrace on the word “heart” before the last line is repeated. The ending is one of the highest I’ve heard from GC in quite a while. I don’t think this is quite as strong a ballad as “Preach The Word”, but it doesn’t miss it by much. This is the pick of the CD to me.

5. Walkin’ And Talkin’ With My Lord

Aaron: Aaron McCune is featured on this slow song that sounds similar to a nightclub tune. McCune shows a nice range on this song, and shows that he’s worthy of the Gold City bass mantle.

Wes: Aaron does a nice job on the classic from the pen of JD Sumner. The track features a nice soft-shoe jazz or swing feel.

DBM: I remember hearing the Stamps sing this song at a number of events when Sumner was still living. McCune’s rich tones are perfectly matched to the track. I do miss the distinctive edge Ed Enoch used to add to the background vocals, though.

Adam: Would’ve loved to hear Tim Riley sing this song, but Aaron McCune more than does justice to this track. He has really come into his own as a power bass singer. This is one of my favorite tracks from the CD.

6. I Love This Land

Aaron: I’m a hard sell on patriotic tunes for some reason, but this is a nice song.

Wes: Patriotic song that is Bruce Taliaferro’s first full feature. He gives a good performance. As I said in our Prophets review, I’m not a fan of patriotic songs, but this one, like “Because They Gave” on the aforementioned Prophets CD, is pretty good as far as patriotic songs go. You get a feel for how different Bruce is from Jonathan Wilburn on this song. Bruce has a more powerful, pop sounding voice. He’s more Ivan Parker than Jonathan Wilburn. I’m anxious for the first projects with songs that play to his strengths, as we have to remember this project was started before Wilburn left.

DBM: Unlike Wes and Aaron, I love patriotic songs. This lyric isn’t particularly original, however. It’s essentially a series of familiar catch phrases strung together. The vocals and arrangement are the elements that really sell this song.

Adam: I’m with DBM…I like patriotic songs. This will be an outstanding concert number.

7. I’ll Walk On

Aaron: Daniel Riley is featured on this country-style track. Steve Ladd leads the chorus. Sounds like something out of Brooks & Dunn’s songbook.

Wes: This is a mid-tempo, country-flavored song. The lyrics are very reassuring, this song has a really good message. Solid song, not one of my favorites, but still a pretty decent song. Still just a little bit more country than what I like, but the country flavor is more subdued on this disc from the hard, driving country sounds of Revival.

Adam: This is very encouraging song. The message of song the overrides the country flavor and makes it a good track.

8. When Jesus Saves

Aaron: In probably the most discussed track on the album, Steve Ladd delivers a powerful tenor feature. The arrangement is very progressive, with some heavy guitars and horns. (Think the Jay Parrack, Jonathan Wilburn, Mark Trammell, and Tim Riley days of Gold City on steroids.) Though the chorus is a bit repetitive, it doesn’t really take away from the song’s ambitiousness. I can see the guys sending this to radio as the next single.

Wes: This may be the farthest Gold City has ever strayed from traditional Southern Gospel. This song features some great tenor singing from Steve Ladd. This song has the pop/country fusion that you would expect to hear from Carrie Underwood. It’s not fully country, not fully pop/rock. I love the bridge of the hymn “Jesus Saves”. This song will be very polarizing to SG fans. Some will love it, others will hate it. Count me in the love it group. It’s a major chance that GC took in doing this song with this arrangement. This time, it works like a charm. While this probably won’t be a big radio hit, this will most likely become a popular concert staple for years to come.

DBM: I have a feeling the wave pattern for “When Jesus Saves” would look like a ruler. If the volume varies more than half a decibel from beginning to end, I’d be surprised. I love the energy of this song, though. Gold City has brought back the brass section, but the setting is closer to Southern Rock than Southern Gospel. I just wish it wasn’t a four minute wall of sound. Give our ears a few spots to take a breath, please!

Adam: I’m still on the fence over this song. Kudos to GC for trying something new, but this song would not fly at a concert in my neck of the woods. Although I have eclectic taste in music, this track was about too rockin’ for my tastes…at least for Gospel music.

9. By Your Grace, For Your Glory

Aaron: Piano and strings open up this slow song. Very worshipful all the way through.

Wes: Talk about juxtaposition. After the screaming horns and guitars of “When Jesus Saves”, we get treated to this midtempo, smooth traditional SG song. It actually is a nice contrast to place this song here. Great lyrics, and some really smooth singing from the group. Daniel Riley does a nice job on the second verse. This is another solid song. Again, not fantastic, but a nice song. This is the most “Gold City-esque” song that harkens back to the sounds of Free/Parker/Lacey or Parrack/Wilburn/Trammell. Stylistically this is a good sound for the current group as well.

DBM: Here’s another Inspo track that starts small and builds to a big finish. Good stuff.

Adam: Absolutely loved this song. My favorite from the album.

10. Turn Your Back

Aaron: The album closes out with Aaron McCune covering the old Cathedrals tune that was recently done by Triumphant Quartet on their Intermission album. I prefer this version over TQ’s. It’s different tempo and piano-driven style strike a chord with me better than the other one.

DBM: I love the cut in Aaron McCune’s vocal. This will very likely turn out to be my favorite McCune feature of all time. I hope Gold City wrote down what microphone and EQ settings were used, so the same setup can be employed for future studio sessions.

Wes: Pretty straight ahead version of the classic Cathedrals cut from 1982. McCune really shines on this song. I was a bit disappointed in this, I was hoping Gold City would put a few twists on the arrangement. It’s still really good, but the ending really leaves me cold. I wish they had used the same high ending that the Cathedrals used, or come up with something a bit more interesting. I also wish that they had changed up the rhythm slightly on the last chorus. Oh well, it’s still a solid cut.

Adam: To me, this track doesn’t hold a candle to the Cats’ version, but it’s still a good song.

Summary

Aaron: The latest lineup of Gold City turns in a great album that is a worthy addition to the group’s discography. Like Revival before it, it has a distinct Progressive sound, while still remaining true to the Gold City style that fans know and love.

One thing I do appreciate about this album is the fact that when Bruce Taliaferro is featured, it doesn’t sound as if they just went back and re-recorded Jonathan Wilburn’s parts, which very well could have happened since I’m sure he had recorded some before he left. Rather, Bruce takes the parts and makes them his own. He’s a very good lead singer that I am anxious to hear for myself in a live setting other than videos, and he does a great job blending with the guys on this album.

The harmony with Steve, Bruce, Daniel, and Aaron is right on par with those of the Gold City lineups of old, and Josh Simpson on piano makes for one stellar quartet! If this lineup sticks together, this could very well be another “Golden Era” for Gold City.

DBM: As Aaron has mentioned, Bruce Taliaferro’s vocals fit this project well. No one will get him and Jonathan Wilburn confused, but he does bring the same level of energy to the table. He doesn’t venture into Wilburn’s highest register…Wilburn didn’t mind going an octave over middle C from time to time (“Look Who Just Checked In”)…but Taliaferro matches Wilburn’s intensity. In terms of blend, he suits the group well with his bright and soulful tones.

With the addition of Taliaferro, Gold City has effectively skipped the rebuilding phase you might expect when a group member with distinctive as Wilburn is replaced. Moment Of Truth is a solid 4 Star project.

Wes: “Moment of Truth” is a very solid album from Gold City. While the country influence is still present, it is more traditional country style instead of the hard driving country sounds of Revival. I agree with what other reviewers have said that there does not seem to be the one really strong single on the album. That being said, there are a lot of good songs on this album, and a lot to like in general. Bruce Taliaferro is a different style lead singer than Jonathan Wilburn, so comparing the two is really apples to oranges, just as Wilburn couldn’t be accurately compared to Ivan Parker. I liked this album much better than I did Revival, as I’m not a fan of the hard country sound. As solid as this album is, it still bears mentioning that the songs were picked before Wilburn left the group, so the next album from Gold City will likely give us a truer picture of where the group’s sound will be heading with Taliaferro at the lead spot. Again, all things considered, this is a very enjoyable CD, and definitely a credit to Gold City.

Adam: Gold City certainly doesn’t disappoint with Moment Of Truth. Bruce seems to be a natural fit in the lead spot and GC should continue their rise back to one of the dominant quartets in SG. Solid debut project for the new lead and as expected, Gold City cranks out another solid project.

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

MusicScribe Comments

We love comments

2 Comments

  1. Canuk
    Reply September 24, 17:07 #1 Canuk

    Moment To Live For? Moment of Truth?

    I’m going to go with the CD cover.

  2. admin
    Reply September 24, 17:11 #2 admin

    I am going to hire you to proofread my next book…thanks!

Tell us what you think!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.