New Music Reviews: June 2020 Releases

New Music Reviews: June 2020 Releases

Click HERE to listen both of these albums on YouTube Music.

What Love Does features eight songs by The Old Paths. The singers remain unchanged since January 2017 when the group relaunched with Steve Ladd filling the tenor slot.

Any time a CD has less than ten songs, there is more pressure on the songs that are included to be winners. Rather than kicking off this album with brand new material, The Old Paths start with “This Is Amazing Grace,” a tried and true worship song co-written and originally recorded by Phil Wickham about eight years ago. Perhaps they’re playing it safe, or perhaps it’s just a wise choice to go with something people should recognize.

“I Got The Grace, He Gets The Glory” features solos by bass singer Daniel Ashmore over a driving rhythm track. (The chord progression on the chorus might make you recall “Mountain Music” by Alabama.) Tim Wayne Rackley steps into the spotlight for “Look At All I Lost.” The energy ramps up for “Bread” featuring tenor Steve Ladd singing about the feeding of the five thousand. This CD gets its title from a line in the song “You Can’t Get Away From God” which features Doug Roark.

Ashmore steps back into the spotlight for “Pray While You Wait” with some step-out lines on the chorus by Steve Ladd. While I like the energy on this track in terms of the production, it’s overly aggressive for the subject matter of this lyric. “How Great Is Our God” is another familiar worship song, but instead of hearing the words sung, we’re treated to a cool jazz saxophone solo by Daniel Ashmore with a bit of “How Great Thou Art” thrown in for good measure. What Love Does concludes with “Salvation’s Song,” a moving Heaven song featuring Steve Ladd.

What Love Does is all over the place stylistically, but there are some excellent songs here.

Label: Sonlite Records
Song Titles: This Is Amazing Grace; I Got The Grace He Gets The Glory; Look At All I Lost; Bread; You Can’t Get Away From God; Pray While You Wait; How Great Is Our God; Salvation’s Song
Release Date: June 5, 2020
Version Reviewed: YouTube Music
Rating: 4 Stars


Brave is the first album released by The Browns to not include the family matriarch Shelly Brown. The Browns are now a trio consisting of siblings Michaela, Adam, and Andrew. Brave includes seven tracks.

I like the a cappella intro on the title song and the clash of pop and bluegrass elements once the track kicks in. The lyric is repetitive, though. The song might be stronger with one less chorus. “Passing It On” is more lighthearted than the chest-thumping “Brave,” but the blending of fiddles and an occasional banjo lick with an otherwise pop style of production continues. The title “Little Fires Everywhere” was obviously inspired by the HBO TV series, but the subject of the song is letting your light (or, in this case “lights”) shine for the world to see. “Better Off There” acknowledges the loss of a loved one with the title being the payoff hook.

A soulful piano intro sets up the classic Andraé Crouch song “Take Me Back.” It’s pretty good, but it’s begging for a choir, especially on those final choruses. Michaela is showcased on “Not Even For A Moment,” which is this album’s best solo performance.

I would have liked to see the bluegrass/pop combination continue throughout Brave. It’s a unique sound, plus it’s obvious from the album cover image that all three siblings play fiddles/violins. It’s difficult to appreciate their skills as musicians if they’re just blending in with an overly orchestrated track vs. the bluegrass blend where they can stand out and even improvise a bit if they want on the concert stage. Thankfully, this style does return for a final fun track, “Shelter Of The Rock.” There’s a good fiddle solo in there, too.

Producer: Wayne Haun
Label: StowTown Records
Song Titles: Brave; Passing It On; Little Fires Everywhere; Better Off There; Take Me Back; Not Even For A Moment; Shelter Of The Rock
Release Date: June 19, 2020
Version Reviewed: CD
Rating: 4 Stars

Old Paths
4 out of 5
The Browns
4 out of 5
Overall

Average rating of both releases

4

Good
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 SGHistory.com and MusicScribe.com. David plays piano for Southern Sounds Quartet and the Foothills Community Choir.

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