New Music Reviews: January Releases

New Music Reviews: January Releases

Billy Blackwood’s From The Heart is a collection of slow orchestrated selections. Most of these are familiar classics.

Blackwood’s melodies are sung simply, not over-decorated. The most interesting tracks are the duets: “In The Garden” with Yvonne Lewis-Shelton; “Willing Heart” with Kelly Willard (who introduced the song 1980); “Strange Way To Save The World” with Dave Clark who co-wrote the song with Don Koch and 4Him’s Mark Harris (who introduced it in 1993); and “Love Held Jesus To The Cross” with Gene McDonald (recorded previously on A Blackwood Homecoming Volume One).

LABEL: Daywind Records
SONG TITLES: People Need The Lord; It Is No Secret; In The Garden; Without Him; Willing Heart; I’d Rather Have Jesus; Strange Way To Save The World; Your Grace Still Amazes Me; Love Held Jesus To The Cross; If People; You’re In God’s Hands
RATING: 3 Stars
VERSION REVIEWED: YouTube Music (Click HERE to hear the entire album.)


Solace is the fourth release by Master’s Voice since joining the Sonlite Records label in 2017. They’ve been working harder than most in the studio because it’s also their third release in less than 12 months!

A healthy variety of tempos, good lyrics, and strong performances are featured throughout Solace. My favorite is the Rodney Griffin/Jim Brady collaboration “At Home.” Other highlights include the encouraging “Let Us Not Grow Weary,” the light-hearted “He’s Coming Back,” and the hard-charging “Five Minutes.”

I deducted a half star on my rating for this CD, because the depressing cover photo doesn’t reflect the music inside at all. They all look like they just lost their best friend, how sad, but someone is literally whistling on one song (“Peace Like A River”).

PRODUCER: Jeff Collins
LABEL: Sonlite Records
SONG TITLES: Let Us Not Grow Weary; He’s Coming Back; Things Only God Can Do; Thinking Outside The Grave; Five Minutes; This Same Jesus; Peace Like A River; At Home; Pray Through Me; Because I Said So; Last Of The Last Days; Took It All Away
RATING: 4 Stars
VERSION REVIEWED: CD (Click HERE to hear the entire album.)


The Longer I Serve Him is the latest addition to the Gaither Gospel Series of videos, but it’s been a few years since it was recorded. Based on a spot in the video where Bill Gaither mentions Mosie Lister “passed away last year,” it would appear this footage was captured in 2016. (Lister passed away in February 2015.)

Ordinarily, I would not rate a product based on a preview video, but this particular preview video is nearly 50 minutes long. Click HERE to watch it for yourself. After viewing it, you can check the lists below to see what else is included on the DVD and CD versions.

As usual, video and production quality are excellent. As usual, you’ve probably already heard most of the songs, but there may be a few surprises. As usual, quite a few artists in the room are never featured while others have multiple solos. As usual, there are some spontaneous moments that, with the rare exception of a few of you who have stone-cold hearts, will deeply move you.

RATING: 4 Stars
VERSION REVIEWED: YouTube Preview ( Click HERE .)
DVD SONG TITLES:

Life Is Good featuring The Hoppers
Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone) featuring Melissa Brady, Marshall Hall
What A Lovely Name featuring Kim Hopper, Mark Lowry, Michael English
I Will Fear No Evil featuring Joyce Martin Sanders
That’s Enough featuring Babbie Mason
Elvira featuring The Oak Ridge Boys
Nothing Between Us (But Love Anymore) featuring The Oak Ridge Boys
Be Ye Glad featuring Buddy Greene
What Are They Doing In Heaven featuring Angela Primm
He Knows Just What I Need featuring Jake Hess
Happy featuring The Martin Family Circus
I Know featuring The Martin Family Circus, Duane Allen
I’m Still On My Way featuring Calvin Newton
Jesus Hold My Hand featuring Taranda Beene, Michael English
He Does featuring Greater Vision
Room At The Cross For You featuring Larry Ford
My Lord And I featuring Lynda Randle, Michael Tait, Tony Tait
The Longer I Serve Him featuring Jeanne Johnson, Mark Lowry, Wesley Pritchard
Holy Ground featuring Joy Gardner
Jesus Paid It All
CD SONG TITLES:
Life Is Good featuring The Hoppers
Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone) featuring Melissa Brady, Marshall Hall
What A Lovely Name featuring Kim Hopper, Mark Lowry, Michael English
I Will Fear No Evil featuring Joyce Martin Sanders
That’s Enough featuring Babbie Mason
Nothing Between Us (But Love Anymore) featuring The Oak Ridge Boys
Be Ye Glad featuring Buddy Greene
What Are They Doing In Heaven featuring Angela Primm
He Knows Just What I Need featuring Jake Hess
Happy featuring The Martin Family Circus
I Know featuring The Martin Family Circus, Duane Allen
I’m Still On My Way featuring Calvin Newton
Jesus Hold My Hand featuring Taranda Beene, Michael English
He Does featuring Greater Vision
Room At The Cross For You featuring Larry Ford
My Lord And I featuring Lynda Randle, Michael Tait, Tony Tait
The Longer I Serve Him featuring Jeanne Johnson, Mark Lowry, Wesley Pritchard
Holy Ground featuring Joy Gardner
 

Blackwood
3 out of 5
Master's Voice
4 out of 5
Gaither
4 out of 5
Overall

Average rating of all three January releases

3.67

Average
3.67 out of 5

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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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