New Music Reviews – Early August 2019

New Music Reviews – Early August 2019


Ivan Parker’s latest release on the Difference Media label is a collection of well-known standards. Feels Like Home specifically draws a good bit of material from 30-40 years ago, so it shouldn’t be thought of as a classic hymns or old quartet standards collection.

Pros: Ivan Parker’s approach vocally here is more crooner than the power-lead you have heard in the past. Producer Garry Jones effectively creates a nostalgic setting, and in particular, the orchestrations performed by the Nashville String Machine are outstanding. “I’m The Lamb (The Shepherd Left The Flock For)” is not quite as well-known as the other songs on Feels Like Home, but that’s a good thing to have in the midst of a group of very popular songs. I’d have actually preferred to hear a few more nearly forgotten gems like this one as opposed to so many well-known lyrics.

Cons: Parker stretches a phrase here and alters a note there, but doesn’t really do much more to make his versions of these standards stand out from previous recordings by other singers. The most unique element on Feels Like Home is an unexpected key change going into each chorus of “Why Me,” but this is more of a practical move to keep the melody in a comfortable vocal range for Parker.

Producer: Garry Jones
Label: Difference Media
Song Titles: Feeling At Home In The Presence Of Jesus; Why Me; I’ll Have A New Song; I Just Came To Talk With You Lord; Dig A Little Deeper In God’s Love; His Hand In Mine; I’m The Lamb (The Shepherd Left The Flock For); The Holy Hills Of Heaven Call Me; You And Me Jesus; I Can’t Even Walk (Without You Holding My Hand); Through It All
Rating: 3 1/2 Stars (scale of 1-5 Stars)
Release Date: August 2, 2019
Version Reviewed: YouTube Music

Click HERE to listen to the entire album on YouTube Music.


Last year, Michael Booth announced that as the Booth Brothers reduce the number of appearances they make as a group, he would be adding some solo appearances. Along with this move, Booth has released a new solo recording titled Dear Yesterday.

Pros: Michael Booth showcases his lower vocal register right away from the opening notes on the first song, “What Only God Can Do.” Booth Brothers fans are used to Michael filling the tenor role, so it’s good to work counter to that stereotype just a bit from the outset. (Of course, he hits some high notes later.)

I did not mind at all that three of the eight songs are covers of previously recorded songs. Many who hear Booth sing “Starts All Over Again” (Three Bridges), “We Trust In The Name” (Steve Green), and “Glorious Unfolding” (Steven Curtis Chapman) will be hearing those songs for the first time.

Cons: Daywind is in the process of transitioning to a model where new albums will feature just eight songs rather than the industry standard of ten or more. Even so, I was surprised see that policy enforced for this initial release by Michael Booth. An emerging soloist needs more material initially, not less.

Label: Daywind Records
Song Titles: What Only God Can Do; Dear Yesterday; He Never Gives Up On Me; Starts All Over Again; We Trust In The Name; This Side Of Heaven; Glorious Unfolding; Thy Will Be Done
Rating: 4 Stars (scale of 1-5 Stars)
Release Date: August 9, 2019
Version Reviewed: Streaming (private link supplied by record label)

Aside: Over the years, Daywind has generally been haphazard about providing CD versions of albums for review to MusicScribe. Occasionally, a CD comes in the mail. More recently, review “copies” have been provided in the form of email links to streaming versions of the songs. (Other times, Daywind doesn’t communicate at all, and I’m left to look for recordings if/when they appear on a streaming service like YouTube Music.)

In this particular case, I was sent a link via email to a page where I could stream the songs. Included in that email was a promise from Daywind that if I wrote a review of the recording and sent them a link to it, they would then mail out a copy of the CD for free. I assume other reviewers in the industry received the same email.

Now…
I can certainly base a review on a CD copy when it’s provided up front. It’s what I still prefer, in fact, because with digital links like those I received for this Michael Booth album, they generally fail to include information like who produced the recording, who wrote the songs, and who played the instruments. All that information would typically be included in a CD’s packaging.

However…
When my only option is to write the review based on digital files, any gift of a CD after the fact could be considered payment. I can’t and should never accept the CD as a gift after the fact. It has always been my desire to convey to my readers (and the FTC, by the way) that my reviews are completely honest and nothing in the form of payment is being provided for my opinions either before or after the review is written.

Perhaps that’s more transparency about the process than you care about as a reader, but I just want to reassure everyone that I take this seriously.
– David Bruce Murray

Parker
3.5 out of 5
Booth
4 out of 5
Overall

Average rating for both albums

3.75

Good
3.75 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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1 Comment

  1. Reply August 13, 09:33 #1 Kenny Payne

    Since I got out of the music business I’ve been driving a truck 20+ yrs now. I keep up with all genres by way of Sirius. I’m noticing that not only in the rock world, but also the gospel world that alot of newer music is being downloaded for review instead of by CD format. Is this being done for the sake of cutting expense or is the music world just getting away from physical product? Kinda sad that if I want newer music I have to download it.

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