CD Review: Dean Newkirk – “Hope Found”

CD Review: Dean Newkirk – “Hope Found”

deannewkirkHope Found
Produced by Kevin Ward, Michael Sykes, Lari Goss, Dean Newkirk
Newkirk Road Music

Format: CD & Digital
Release Date: TBA


SONG TITLES: 1 – Oh What Joy (Jeff Bumgardner/Joel Lindsey); 2 – Livin’ Forgiven (Marty Funderburk/Billy Blackwood); 3 – You Love Me Anyway (Patti Hawkins/Marty Funderburk); 4 – Draw Me Nearer (Dean Newkirk); 5- Happy Camper (Dean Newkirk/Dwight Liles); 6 – Steady Love (featuring Restless Heart) (Sam Mizell/Allan Hall/Todd Smith/Sam Tinnesz); 7- When We Are On Our Knees (Wayne Haun/Rebecca J. Peck); 8 – Plenty Of Room In The Family (William J. Gaither/Gloria Gaither); 9 – Undivided (featuring Katy Peach) (Melodie Tunney); 10 – The Church Has Left The Building (Allie Lapointe/Marty Funderburk/Sue C. Smith); 11 – Whatever It Takes (Lanny Wolfe/Marietta Wolfe); 12 – BONUS CUT: All Good Things Will Be Added Unto You (featuring Voices of Lee) (Shelton Becton)

I got a very nice message from Dean Newkirk asking me to review his debut solo recording, Hope Found (which was funded via Kickstarter). When I received the disc, I was impressed to see Kevin Ward, Michael Sykes, and the late Lari Goss credited as producers on the project along with Newkirk (the album is dedicated to Goss). At the very least, the album should be pleasing from a production standpoint (and it is).

Newkirk himself has a smooth baritone voice that is showcased nicely on the bouncy opening track, “Oh What Joy” and “Happy Camper.” He goes a bit overboard on the self-penned “Draw Me Nearer,” going for a soulful sound (but again, it’s not for a lack of trying). He sounds much more solid on “Plenty Of Room In The Family” with a more reserved (but still soulful) performance.

Dean gets some help from some interesting sources, as well. “Undivided” is a duet with Katy Peach (and their voices blend quite well), while “Steady Love” features backing vocals by country band Restless Heart and a straight-ahead country arrangement in a stand-out track (I don’t know if the band is actually playing on the cut or not, as the copy I received did not have musician credits).

One of the more creative tracks is “The Church Has Left The Building,” a song dealing with what the Church really is – more than just a building with lots of neat imagery. This would make a nice choice for a single in my opinion. A bonus cut of “All Good Things Will Be Added Unto You” is an acapella number backed by Voices of Lee, which I suspect was arranged by Goss, as it bears all of his signatures. It’s an interesting choice to have an acapella number on a soloist’s album, but using Voices of Lee works well here.

The very first thing I noticed when listening to the project was how obvious the production work was. Sykes, Ward, and Goss are not credited on a per-song basis, but anyone who is familiar with the work of these talents will be able to listen to each song and go, “Sykes did those, Ward did those, Goss produced those,” and that’s exactly what I did as I was listening. While that definitely speaks volumes towards the producers, it creates a slightly disjointed album as a whole, as each producer has a unique and identifiable style – it can be slightly jarring going form a modern country arrangement into a heavily-orchestrated production number.

In the end, however, Dean Newkirk gives listeners plenty to enjoy and lots of variety. I always give props to artists who are not afraid to experiment, even if they don’t hit the mark 100%, and in Dean’s case, what flaws there are in the album are not for a lack of trying. It is definitely a labor of love, and it shows.

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Category CD Reviews, Reviews

Kyle Boreing

Kyle has been writing for MusicScribe since 2008. He is a musician, producer, arranger, and occasional quartet singer, who pays way too much attention to recordings. He is an alumni of Stamps-Baxter School of Music and has shared the stage with many different artists. He also really likes movies that are "so bad they're good." Visit his website at, or follow him on Twitter @kyleboreing.

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