CD Review: Jay Stone Singers – Come Thirsty

by David Bruce Murray | September 14, 2017 2:00 PM

Jay Stone formed the Jay Stone Singers in 1976. Jay and his wife Mary retired from traveling in 2010. Continuing their musical legacy are their daughter Sharona Carter, son-in-law Bobby Carter, and grandchildren Stone and Emma Carter. The group is based in Hope Mills, North Carolina. Their new CD is titled Come Thirsty.

My first thought when I saw the CD title and a song also titled “Come Thirsty” was that the Jay Stone Singers might have recorded a cover version of the title song from the 2006 release by the Perrys. However, “Come Thirsty” in this instance is a new song written by Kenna Turner West and Lee Black that features Emma’s vocal over a generic pop production. I am a bit surprised the label chose “Come Thirsty” as the first single release, since songs in this style have rarely (if ever) seen success on traditional Southern Gospel radio. ¬†Another familiar title is “I Won’t Turn Back,” but it is not the old Speer Family classic. This is a fun new song written by Karen Peck Gooch, Kenna Turner West, and Don Poythress.

The Jay Stone Singers do cover a few previously recorded songs on Come Thirsty. Karen Peck Gooch co-wrote and recorded “I’m Saved” with her group, New River, a few years ago. I prefer the KP&NR original, but the Jay Stone Singers’ version is also very good. This type of song is well matched to Bobby’s unique vocal style. This CD also features a medley combining Lari Goss’ classic “Cornerstone” with Dottie Rambo’s “I Go To The Rock.” I admire the concept, but I wish some attempt had been made to meet in the middle on style as opposed to merely gluing two completely different musical ideas together.

Two titles on Come Thirsty were co-written by group members. Stone Carter and Matthew Lawson combined their writing skills for “Each Time,” a mid-tempo track with a good message that features Stone on vocals. The CD’s final track, “That’s Where Miracles Begin,” is a slower paced tune written by Bobby Carter and John Mathis. The featured vocalist is Bobby, whose general delivery style on this song is essentially a male equivalent of Peg McKamey.

Sharona is the most accomplished vocalist in the group. Her features are also the highlights of Come Thirsty. These include “Your Will Another Way,” “I Won’t Turn Back,” and “That Great Tomorrow.” Sharona has excellent vocal control, and her tone has just the right amount of cut to stand out. That character of Sharona’s vocal tone allows her to avoid the trap of over-singing to be heard.

The songwriting overall is very good on Come Thirsty, as is the production quality. I can’t say every song on Come Thirsty is a home run, but there are several I will enjoy hearing on repeat listens.

Producers: Jeff Collins and Stone Carter
Label: Skyland Records
Song Titles: Just Receive It; Your Will Another Way; I’m Saved; Each Time; I Won’t Turn Back; Come Thirsty; Kept By The Promise Keeper; Cornerstone/I Go To The Rock; That Great Tomorrow; That’s Where Miracles Begin.
Release Date: September 29, 2017
Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

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