CD Review: McKameys – Something Worth Saving

CD Review: McKameys – Something Worth Saving

mckameys something worth savingLabel: Horizon Records
Producers: Jeff Collins & Roger Fortner
Song Titles: “Christ Is Able,” “I’ve Been In The Book,” “Bring You Glory,” “I Believe,” “That’s Why There’s A Cross,” “A Few Things,” “Back To Bethel,” “Days Gone By,” “Something Worth Saving,” “Come To My Rescue”
Rating: 3 1/2 Stars (scale of 1-5 Stars)

The McKamey Sisters were organized in 1954 as a trio (Dora, Peg and Carol McKamey). Ruben Bean became their guitar player in 1957 and married Peg in 1959. The modern group consists of Ruben and Peg, their daughters Connie Fortner and Sheryl Farris, their son-in-law Roger Fortner, and their grandson Eli Fortner. Aside from the brief departure and return of Roger last fall, this has been the consistent format of the McKameys since 2009. Something Worth Saving is the group’s 52nd recording in their 62-year history.

Familiarity comes from consistency, a trait that is rare among most full-time Southern Gospel groups. The McKameys are known for recording songs with clear and direct lyrics. They usually include a few written by Sheryl. They’re also known for Peg’s and Connie’s stout, piercing vocals delivered in their distinct dialect. Mostly acoustic accompaniments, non-complicated arrangements, Sheryl’s blending tones, and Ruben softly singing bass complete the unique McKameys’ sound. In these respects, Something Worth Saving offers more of the same.

I won’t describe the more typical songs in detail. Just rest assured they are there. For this review, I’ll highlight those songs that feature some element you might not expect to find on a McKameys CD. Not everything is predictable.

While most of these songs come from songwriters you’d expect to see, the very first song, “Christ Is Able,” was co-written by worship leader Tommy Walker and LifeWay Worship head Mike Harland. This is a modern worship song, yet it translates perfectly to the traditional style of the McKameys. (Click HERE to view Tommy Walker’s version for comparison.)

“I Believe” is quite a stylistic departure featuring Eli over a catchy acoustic guitar-driven rhythm. (It’s not anything as extreme as THIS.) There are no harmony vocals on “I Believe.” Eli’s voice is a breathy contrast to the other singers in the family, so that was probably a wise choice. The mix on the introduction of this track is also worth noting. The song kicks off with an acoustic guitar just in the left channel before the rest of the instruments enter and add a fuller sound across the stereo spectrum. It will grab your attention. The producers must have liked it, because the same approach is also used to kick off the title track, “Something Worth Saving.”

Another unique track in terms of style is “A Few Things.” The McKameys are country in a general sense, but there are subsets of country music where they don’t usually venture. A slow wailing steel guitar introduces a (dare I say it?) honky-tonk type of ballad. Roger steps out to the microphone for this one. You may recall that the last time I reviewed a McKameys CD, I mentioned that Roger should record a solo CD. After hearing this track, it feels like a solo CD by Roger is way past due.

Something Worth Saving is a mixed bag. “Christ Is Able” and “A Few Things” are my personal favorites, and Peg’s feature on the upbeat “I’ve Been In The Book” is another highlight. On down the list are some well-written songs, but the delivery is not always so great. Die-hard McKameys fans will love it, though, and I guess that’s all that really matters!

Overall Rating
3.5 out of 5

3.5

Average
3.5 out of 5
Category CD Reviews, 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.

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