Southern Gospel Views from the Back Row (Steve Eaton) and Musicscribe (David Bruce Murray) offer another ‘must buy or not’ feature this week. Highlights and dislikes will be offered along with a definitive yes or no on whether the album is a ‘must buy’.
In this edition of the ‘must buy or not’ feature is the new album by Guy Penrod; Hymns. This 13 song collection hit retail 03/27/12. Guy doesn’t break any new ground musically on Hymns, instead adding his strong country vocal to classic hymns.
Song list: (1) “Leaning On The Everlasting Arms” (2) “Count Your Blessings” (3) “The Old Rugged Cross” (4) “Down At The Cross” (5) “He Hideth My Soul” (6) “We’ll Understand It Better By And By” (7) “Rock Of Ages/I Stand Amazed” (8) “What A Friend We Have In Jesus” (9) “The Solid Rock” (10) “Amazing Grace” (11) “Does Jesus Care” (12) “Nothing But The Blood” (13) “Softly And Tenderly”
SOUTHERN GOSPEL VIEWS FROM THE BACK ROW
- To hear George Beverly Shea still recording is a treat. He is featured with Guy on the classic hymn “Does Jesus Care”.
- There are several songs that Guy Penrod is able to create some special musical moments. They include “Down At The Cross”, “He Hideth My Soul” and the “Rock Of Ages/I Stand Amazed” medley.
- With Guy’s strong vocals, I look forward to his next album of new music, along the lines of his previous effort Breathe Deep.
- “Down At The Cross” is a solid, toe-tapping Country arrangement with several “hot lick” breaks for the instruments. I wish more tracks on this CD had taken a similar energetic route.
- “We’ll Understand It Better By And By” starts softly with an acoustic accompaniment similar to something Chet Aktins might play, then picks up energy as the arrangement progresses. I wish more tracks on this CD developed like this one, rather than starting and ending more or less in the same place.
- Guy Penrod’s voice sounds great in any range, but I really sit up and take notice when he soars up above middle C into tenor territory. “Rock Of Ages” is one track where he proves he still has full command of his upper vocal range. I wish more tracks on this CD featured his voice in that high register.
- While I treasure classic hymns and hope they’re never forgotten, to have an entire album of songs that have been recorded more times than can be counted is too much.
- It may be different if it was recorded by a group where the listener would get vocal variation, but having Guy perform all 13 songs, they start bleeding together by the end of the recording.
- I was expecting something more from this recording.
- Some artists tend to go too far with vocal acrobatics. With Guy Penrod’s Hymns CD, the opposite’s true. I had hoped the experience would be a memorable sonic adventure, but most of these melodies stay close to home.
- A few key changes, more expansive vocal arrangements, and another duet or two would have gone a long way toward making this CD distinctive.
- NO – There are several songs from this Hymns album that deserve a listen but the entire album would not rank as a ‘must buy’.
- NO – Guy Penrod is one of my favorite vocalists in the business and hymns are a proven source of material, but most of these arrangements are bland.