CD Review: The Joylanders – Parables

CD Review: The Joylanders – Parables

joylandercov3cLabel: Skyland Records
Producer: Jeff Collins
Artist Website: CLICK HERE
Song Titles: Why Don’t You Try Jesus; Leave It There; Without Grace; There’s No Other God; I’m Checkin’ Out; Heaven’s Ridge; I Know Where Home Is; Come To The Water; Sunday’s Comin’; Down In The Valley; Dry Ground; America, Bless God; The Old Rugged Cross; Now I Have Everything
Rating (scale of 1-5 Stars): 4 Stars

The Joylanders may be a new name to most fans, but this Trenton, Tennessee group has been around since 1971. The current line-up has been singing together since 1995. Group members include founders Perry & Nell Wimberley, their daughter Vanessa Griggs, son-in-law Jason Griggs, and grandchildren Allison and Jay Griggs. Parables is their first release on the Skyland Records label.

This 14-song collection clocks in at just over 44 minutes. Classics like “Leave It There” (Charles A. Tindley), “The Old Rugged Cross” (George Bennard), and “Now I Have Everything” (Charlie Yandell/David Ingles) sound right at home with more recently written fare like “I’m Checking Out” (Dianne Wilkinson), “Heaven’s Ridge” (Regina Walden), and “I Know Where Home Is” (Ricky Atkinson/Dianne Wilkinson). Jay, Jason, and Vanessa Griggs also teamed up to write “Down In The Valley.”

“Sunday’s Comin’ ” is one of my favorite tracks due to the chord choices in the arrangement. This song and the opening “Why Don’t You Try Jesus” feature a light, easy listening setting. I’m less enthused about the arrangement for “I Know Where Home Is” which runs just over two minutes in the same key before shifting up to a higher key  going into a 15-second tag at the end of the song. It just seems rather random.

While I don’t think I’d be able to pick a particular singer out in a blind listening test, I did hear some very capable, effective solo verses on Parables. Their harmony parts are sometimes more than simplistic major and minor triads, so they do have a unique quality that should set them apart from other groups.

The strength of The Joylanders is their flexibility. They know how to perform a variety of styles well. For example, “Leave It There” is in a rollicking Texas swing style while “Without Grace” is a more stereotypical piano ballad. The two CDs released by The Joylanders before they made the move to Skyland Records were an a cappella EP and a Bluegrass collection. I wish this CD introducing The Joymakers to the music industry had pushed in either or both of those directions to display their versatility even more.

That being said, there’s plenty to enjoy on Parables.

4 out of 5


4 out of 5

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

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