The Last Big Thing is the second CD by the Kingdom Heirs since baritone Loren Harris joined the group last year. The previous recording (Something Good) featured a collection of well-known cover songs. The Last Big Thing introduces eleven new songs written by some of Southern Gospel’s favorite songwriters.
Crisp, colorful piano introductions are a trademark of the Kingdom Heirs. The Last Big Thing wastes no time kicking off “Plenty Of Singing” in just that way. Bass singer Jeff Chapman is featured on “Victory,” an up-tempo track enhanced with brass instruments. “Telling The Story” sounds like a song the Perrys could have recorded, and for good reason. Loren Harris carries the melody and the song is co-written by longtime go-to Perrys songwriter Kyla Rowland (with Jessica Thomas).
The Rebecca Peck/Dianne Wilkinson title track is also the first single being sent to radio. A bold country track with bold harmonies makes this song memorable. “Heroes Of Faith” is a fun upbeat feature for Jerry Martin, but placing the accent on the second syllable of the word “heroes” feels awkward. “I Wanna Do More” allows Jeff Chapman a few opportunities to land on the same low G that Tim Riley hits on “I Get Down,” and Chapman’s tone is similarly thrilling every time he does.
A pair of slower songs about Heaven are placed back-to-back. “Heaven Was Counting To Three” is a great performance by Arthur Rice. If you like lyrics where the songwriter is giving you a bit of a wink, you should enjoy this one. “Heaven Just Got Sweeter For You” is a more touching lyric. Jeff Chapman’s upper range still sounds huge. “Just Another Mile” and “Live It Up” are quicker paced features for Jerry Martin and Loren Harris respectively.
The final track takes a 90 degree turn to a classic style. The musical setting, particularly the string orchestra intro, is like “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire).” The harmonies are thick with added sixths and seconds. It’s an exquisite track, and the end of the CD is the right spot for it. Transitioning back to another Country-flavored track would have felt awkward in terms of pacing.
The only thing left to observe is the packaging, and I can’t say that I love the minimalist cover art. Including the lyrics is a nice touch. We’re seeing fewer and fewer lyrics in CD booklets these days. The flip-side is that having more words in the package increases the odds for typographical errors. Yes, I realize most fans don’t care, but it is what it is.
If I were forced to describe the overall sound of The Last Big Thing in one word, it would be “exciting.” I’m a fan of faster-paced songs, as you probably know if you’ve read many of my CD reviews. The Last Big Thing does not disappoint in that regard, but even the slower songs are exciting. The compelling combination of vocal tones that Jerry Martin, Arthur Rice, Loren Harris, and Jeff Chapman have produced have that effect.
Label: Sonlite Records
Producers: Arthur Rice and Jeff Collins
Song Titles: Plenty Of Singing; Victory; Telling The Story; The Last Big Thing; Heroes Of Faith; I Wanna Do More; Heaven Was Counting To Three; Heaven Just Got Sweeter For You; Just Another Mile; Live It Up; I’ll Trust You With My Tomorrow
Release Date: September 29, 2017
Rating: 4 1/2 Stars