Take 2 Reviews are a chance for other contributors to MusicScribe to add their own thoughts to an album previously reviewed on the site. With this initial entry, Kyle Boreing will be taking a look at the most recent Inspirations album, previously reviewed by Daniel Mount.
I will admit, I’m one of the first to advocate a more progressive style in SG music (to a point). Whenever a southern gospel artist pushes the boundaries and challenges the status quo stylistically, I usually give them kudos for trying, even if the result isn’t always 100%. That being said, there is just something absolutely enjoyable about listening to an Inspirations album.
Despite quite a bit of turnover in the last few years, the Inspirations have remained one of the most consistent groups in SG music since their inception back in the 1960’s. They found a niche with their “mountain gospel” sound, and they have stuck very close to that style, even as some other artists have evolved over time. The One In The Water, as Daniel stated, is like stepping into a time machine back to 1972, in more ways than one (I’ll let Daniel explain it in his original take review). The return of members Marlin Schubert, Eddie Dietz, and especially Archie Watkins, have returned a bit of a signature sound to the group that has been slightly lacking in recent years, while Matt Dibler fits right in with these veterans.
The song selection is also what you’d expect from the group. Upbeat hand-clappers and mellow ballads abound with classic mountain quartet sounds. There are a couple surprises, however. “Teaching Me To Fly” is a bit of a departure stylistically, and with a little more instrumentation, would be right at home on a Booth Brothers album. This would be a good choice for a second single. The title track is likewise a great choice for a single, as it features Watkins and would serve to re-introduce listeners to the “classic” sound.
I’m not a huge fan of when SG goes political, as it can very easily go cheesy, which is what happens with “We Are Christians.” I’m not discounting the message, but writing such a song is difficult, and it comes across a bit clunky. “Jesus They’re Offended At Your Name” fairs a little better, as it’s a bit more creative (think “Oh Buddha” by the Imperials), but again, slightly rough.
Production wise, Jeff Collins duplicates the Inspirations sound incredibly close by using a simple 3-piece band consisting of piano, acoustic stand-up bass, and acoustic guitar (with some filler instruments as needed). My only complaint (as usual) is the over-use of auto-tune on the vocals. With a group that is known for it’s older-style sound (and with the instrumentation to back it up), one would think that a little less digital editing would be ok in this instance.
Overall, I found this to be quite a pleasant listen. I’ve always been a fan of the Inspirations and their mountain gospel sound, and there’s plenty here to enjoy.
- previously reviewed by Daniel Mount: http://blog.musicscribe.com/2017/06/cd-review-the-one-in-the-water-the-inspirations/
- Daniel stated: http://blog.musicscribe.com/2017/06/cd-review-the-one-in-the-water-the-inspirations/
- I’ll let Daniel explain it in his original take review: http://blog.musicscribe.com/2017/06/cd-review-the-one-in-the-water-the-inspirations/