New Music Reviews – Mid-August Releases

New Music Reviews – Mid-August Releases

Lauren Talley’s two new releases contain a total of 14 songs, divided loosely into “hymn” and “worship” categories. Loudest Praise: Hymns Of Mercy, Love & Grace accounts for six songs while the remaining eight can be found on Glorious God: Songs Of Worship & Wonder. The production and musician credits are identical for both releases, so I am reviewing them collectively.

Pros:  It is good to hear a professional solo artist recording of “Glorious God,” written by two young boys, Mac Duren and Miles Lapointe. (Click HERE to view the story of how this song was written.) “When God Dips His Love In My Heart” features a fun, pounding rhythm. “Let The Glory Come Down” matches the energy level of the original version recorded by David Phelps, and Talley does not shy away from the vocal glissando at the end. “His Eye Is On The Sparrow” is a full soulful performance at a moderate tempo for the first 3 1/2 minutes, but be sure to catch that last minute and a half when the rhythm kicks into double time.

Cons: A couple too many mid-tempo songs with similar instrumentation push Glorious God into a category I have labeled “extra medium.” (For fun, ask for an “extra medium” drink or fries the next time you’re in a fast food joint.) Jumping from somewhere in the middle of “Jesus At The Center” to the middle of “Jesus Only Jesus,” for example, sounds like I’m still listening to the same song.

Producer: Lauren Talley
Label: Horizon Records
Song Titles: Loudest Praise: Hymns Of Mercy, Love & Grace: Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing; What A Friend We Have In Jesus; When God Dips His Love In My Heart; When I Survey The Wondrous Cross; Does Jesus Care; His Eye Is On The Sparrow.
Glorious God: Songs Of Worship & Wonder: Glorious God: What A Beautiful Name with Agnus Dei; Mercy Tree; The Heavens Are Telling; Let The Glory Come Down; Jesus At The Center; Jesus Only Jesus; A Wretch Like Me.
Rating:  Loudest Praise: Hymns Of Mercy, Love & Grace: 4 1/2 Stars (scale of 1-5 Stars)
Glorious God: Songs Of Worship & Wonder: 3 1/2 Stars (scale of 1-5 Stars)
Release Date: August 16, 2019
Version Reviewed: CD

Click HERE to listen to the entire album, Loudest Praise, on YouTube Music.
Click HERE to listen to the entire album, Glorious God, on YouTube Music.


In 2018, the Booth Brothers released a studio recording titled Country Road that collected some of their favorite songs considered to be “Inspirational Country.” Eight of those songs are included on Country Roads: Country And Inspirational Favorites. Because this product is a live recording, fans should still consider it even if they already own the previous recording.

A DVD version is also available, and like several Gaither Vocal Band releases in recent years, the setting is Gaither’s familiar studio with an audience present. Just understand that this review is based on the YouTube Music streaming version of the album, which is audio only.

Pros: Traditional family-oriented Country music is often called a first cousin to traditional God-centered Southern Gospel music. This collection is a fine example of that concept. Bill Gaither is tapped to sing a few bass lines. The song arrangements are generally direct covers of the originals, but the corny drum solo from the hit version of “Mountain Music” by Alabama thankfully does not make an appearance here. I was pleasantly surprised by a few of the titles like “I’ll Go To My Grave Loving You” and “High Cotton” and also pleased to note they avoided some of the more obvious choices like “Jesus Take The Wheel” and “Long Black Train.”

Cons: The audio-only version of this collection (at least, the one on YouTube Music), while obviously “live,” doesn’t include any of the introductions to songs that I presume you would be able to see and hear on the DVD. Obviously, a CD has limits on the total time available, but that isn’t the case on a streaming platform.

Label: Gaither Music Group
Song Titles: Mountain Music; Forever and Ever, Amen; Lord, I Hope This Day Is Good; High Cotton; Do You Know You Are My Sunshine; I’ll Go To My Grave Loving You; All The Gold In California; Daydream Believer; Take Me Home, Country Roads; I’ll Still Be Loving You; Three Wooden Crosses; I’d Choose You Again; Back Home Again; I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry; He Saw It All (The Blind Man Song)
Rating: 4 Stars (scale of 1-5 Stars)
Release Date: August 16, 2019
Version Reviewed: YouTube Music

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


Melissa Brady steps into the spotlight with a solo recording, Shine. The physical CD release includes 13 songs, but only 11 of those are being released to streaming outlets. This review is based on the YouTube Music streaming version, so my rating for Shine does not consider those missing songs, “Give Them All” and “All Is Well.”

Pros: One distinctive track on Shine is “Just Beyond The River Jordan,” a plaintive duet with David Phelps. Before husband Jim Brady joined the Booth Brothers (who also recorded this song), he and Melissa wrote and sang this song together with her family group, the Shulers. Other highlights on Shine include the remake of Twila Paris’ classic “The Warrior Is A Child,” the simple “Broken Treasures,” the soulful “His Name Is Jesus,” and a true gem titled “Heaven.” There’s also a jazzy novelty track titled “Low Fat Latte” that is sure to gain some attention from fans.

Cons: The production is too heavy in a few spots. The 90-second epic intro to the opening track “Finest Hour” is one example.

Label: 65South
Song Titles: Finest Hour; The Warrior Is A Child; It’s Your Song Lord; Just Beyond The River Jordan (with David Phelps); Windows Of Heaven; Broken Treasures; Because Of You; You Are; His Name Is Jesus; Low Fat Latte’; Heaven; Give Them All (CD version only); All Is Well (CD version only)
Rating: 4 1/2 Stars (scale of 1-5 Stars)
Release Date: August 9, 2019
Version Reviewed: YouTube Music

Click HERE to listen to 11 songs on YouTube Music.

Lauren Talley Glorious God
3.5 out of 5
Lauren Talley Loudest Praise
4.5 out of 5
Booth Brothers Country Roads
4 out of 5
Melissa Brady Shine
4.5 out of 5
Overall

Average rating for all four titles

4.13

Good
4.13 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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2 Comments

  1. Reply August 22, 23:26 #1 JSR

    Enjoy these multi-project reviews.

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